Approved: 16.08.2006

Jonathan Polkest

Artist, Technician, Lecturer / academic, Community worker

Approved: 16.08.2006
  • Location: Penzance, South West
  • Activities: Higher education, Workshops, Community arts, Public art, Technical installation
  • Categories: Drawing, Installation, Painting, Performance, Textiles



I make and design installations, two-dimensional artworks and objects. I paint, construct, fabricate and formulate finishes, work is often gallery based, sometimes community based in the public realm or part of a performance/ritual. 

I have accepted commissions to create artworks and produce scenographic objects and scenic art. I have worked in many theatrical and display workshops as well as upholding a frequent schedule of exhibiting. This can call for experiment with different media, with applications and approaches both digital and analogue.

I maintain a studio practice.

My artwork and practice evolved from a fascination with painting, drawing comics, renderings, illustrations and technical drawing influenced also by the art emerging from St. Ives at that time and from an inherent desire to transform objects through the process of ornament and decoration. 

Initially attending art school in Cornwall and later M.A. fine art University of London, working in Design and particularly construction/ making for Theatre and Performance and any collaborative crafts that arise in such situations. Scenic sculpting, moulding. 

I devised and ran several painting/ designing courses at RADA and Goldsmiths College. Drawing continues to form the instigatory element of my practice embracing diverse ranges of process acquired through related developments, these can include photographic techniques, painting, textiles, paper-cutting and sculptural projects, design for performance. 


Theatre Set Design:

The Draw Me/ Tedna Ve portraiture installation: This installation for portraiture is a feature of my work that I continue to exhibit and operate in community art based situations, in schools, galleries and art centers. 

A large part of my practice is connected with teaching, research, residency and support in educational or work-shop situations, I appreciate the stimulus of dialogue that creative exchange generates. Drawing is often presented as a primary activity because of its lack of technical parameters, in its most advanced form drawing can be anything and as a tool or an attitude it is most effective.

 Collections Jack Larson Collection, New York, USA Bolitho Estate Collection, Cornwall, UK 

CV & Education

Public realm


2014 – Mr Hornimans Curious Tea Party – Trinity Laban Horniman Museum and Gardens, London. Silhouette portraits.

2014 – Passport To Pimlico – The Chelsea Collective created by Lana Locke, Churchill Gardens Estate. Drawing Pimlico Passport Portraits.

2013 – Tate Britain – Urban Encounters: Urban Materialities, Platform 7 with Tedna Ve / Draw Me camera obscura interaction, Tate Britain Clore Gallery, London.

2013 – InTransit RBKC –Draw Me in Dovehouse Green, Kings Road London

2011 - Portrait of a Community - The Big Draw- Kestle Barton Gallery & Rural Centre, Manaccan, Helston, Cornwall TR12 6HU

2010 - ART 75, sponsored by feast/Cornwall Council, Jubilee Pool, Battery Rocks Penzance Harbour, Cornwall

2009 - Draw Me/Tedna Ve at Arnold Circus, Arnold Circus Shoreditch London E2,


Qualifications and training

2001 - MA, Fine Art, University of East London

1973 - Foundation Art, DipAD, Society of Industrial Designers, Redruth School of Art, Cornwall.

CIEH Health & Safety in the workplace Level 2

BECTU Creative Industries Safety Passport.

Millinery & Hat making

Costume for Performance

DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certification.

ABTT – Mask Making, Props & Lighting



Solo exhibitions

2012 - Finnisterre an exhibition of works by Jonathan Polkest, Morvah Schoolhouse Gallery, Morvah, Penzance Cornwall TR20 8YT

2011 - Matter, Moonbowjakes Margate, 18 Cliff Terrace, Margate

2011 - Non Fiction, Ripley Art Centre - Bromley Arts Council, 24 Sundridge Avenue Bromley London BR1 2PX

2011- Votive Drawings by Jonathan Polkest, Ripley Art Centre, Bromley

2010 - Draw Me Paris:London:Frome with David Partner photographer, Rook Lane Arts, Rook Lane Chapel, Bath Street, Frome, Somerset, Frome

2008 - PUB ROCK DISCO – with Draw Me at The Thatched House, Hammersmith

2008 - PUB ROCK JAZZ, The Thatched House Hammersmith, Hammersmith  

2007 - Cornish Guilt by Jonathan Polkest, Moonbow Jakes Gallery, Brockley

2005 - Hevelepter Pymp (5), The Sliced White Gallery, Bread Street, Penzance, Cornwall 2004 - Jonathan Polkest String Paintings, Moonbow Jakes Gallery, 285 Brockley Road, Brockley, South London, UK

2004 - Tedna Ve (Draw Me) the big draw, SLG South London Gallery, Peckham Road, Camberwell, South London, UK

2003 - Among the Stones, The Mineral Gallery CSM, School of Mines, Exeter University, Redruth, Cornwall

2001 - Votive Drawings, Gallery 73, Brighton


Group exhibitions  

·       {C}2014 – The Walking Encyclopedia – Gothvos - AirSpace Gallery, (object theatre walking) Stoke on Trent, ST1 4HL (The Gothvos Project continues as a Blog).

·       {C}2012 – Brocade & Beyond, The Beetroot Tree Gallery South Street Draycott, DE72 Derby

·       {C}Sketch 2011, Rabley Drawing Centre,, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2LW

·       {C}2011 - The Sketchbook Project (things that changed other things), Brooklyn Art House Co-Op touring statewide. New York - then touring.

2010 - Bawning The Thorn on St.Peters Day in the Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Art and Design, Millbank, London.

2010 - Inspired by Morris Exhibition.The William Morris Gallery, London.

2010 - Lines & Strata Drawing, Denbigh Library Gallery, Denbigh

2010 - TEFAF on Paper - Maastricht Arts 2010, Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre, 6229 GV Maastricht

2010 - The Origin of Colour - A Fabric of the Land initiative. University of Aberdeen School of Geosciences, Aberdeen

2009 - Canterbury Art Fair 09, The University for the Creative Arts. Canterbury

2009 - Endings and Beginnings Exhibition, Projeto Gallery Silsden, Keighley

2009 - SOFA CHICAGO 2009 innovation and tradition in textile art, SOFA Festival Halls, Navy Pier, Chicago IL. USA

2008 - Black Swan Open Arts Exhibition, The Black Swan Arts Guild, Frome

2008 - New Cross Art Prize, Lewisham Art House Gallery, 140 Lewisham Way, London 2007 - Anonyme Zeichner No.5, Blutenweiss - Raum fer Kunst, Prenzlauer Allee 224, (Ecke Knaackstrasse), Berlin

2007 - Canterbury Festival Art Fair, University College for the Creative Arts, Canterbury 2007 - MTD Gothvos, University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor. USA.

2007 - Signals 5 Club Chaos Arts Festival, Westow House, 79 Westow Hill,, Crystal Palace 2007 - The 2007 ING Discerning Eye, The Mall Galleries, Westminster

2007 - The Opposite of Winter, Candid Arts Trust, Angel Islington

2007 - The Thelma Hulbert Exhibition, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton

2007 - What Haunts You by Helen Marshall, The Photographers Gallery, London

2007 - Wunderkammer at Bluecoat Gallery, Blue Coat Display Centre, Bluecoat Chambers, College Lane, Liverpool, Liverpool

2006 - Music on the Mount, St.Michaels Mount, Marazion, Cornwall

2006 - Shoreline Threads, Artists Harbour Gallery, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth

2006 - The Islington Contemporary Art Fair 2006, Candid Galleries, 3 Torrens Street, Islington, London, UK

2005 - Bird 2005, Beijing Jialuan Art House, Changqing Art Fund, Beijing Natural Culture Centre, Beijing, P.R.China

2005 - Hevelepter Pymp (5), Sliced White Gallery, Bread Street, Penzance, Cornwall

2005 - The Dead Inventive, Locations within the Bath Fringe Festival, Bristol and Bath, UK 2005 - The Discerning Eye, The Mall Galleries, The Mall, London

2004 - Aqua di Colori, The Landscape of Jack Clemo, Infra City Galleri Kunst, Infracity, Upplands Vaseby, Stockholm, Sweden

2002 - A6 Show, Lewisham Art House Gallery, London

2002 - Be Mine - A Photographic Exhibition , C-Venues + 2 Adam House. , Chambers St. Edinburgh, Scotland

2002 - Draw -Me (Tedna-Vi), Blackswan Arts Trust, Frome, Somerset

2002 - The Big Draw - installation, Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall

2001 - Hevelepter 2001, Mariners Gallery, St. Ives, Cornwall

2001 - In Progress, Greengate Gallery, Plaistow, East London

2000 - Blush, 40 Underwood Street, Hoxton, London

2000 - Hevelepter 2000, Chapel Street, Penzance, Cornwall

1998 - Four at the Steam Pottery, Steam Pottery Gallery, The Steam Pottery, Pendeen, Cornwall

1997 - Animal Spirits, The Artists Gallery, 37a Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill, Sydney, Australia

1997 - Curious Objects and Animals, CSM Mineral Collection Exeter University, Trevanson House, Cornwall College Campus, Poole, Redruth, Cornwall

1994 - Drawings in Silverpoint, Coffs Harbour Civic Centre, Coffs Harbour, Rigby House, New South Wales, Australia

 Curated projects

2008 - Anonyme Zeichner No9, Eroffnung der Kunstaktion, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Krutzberg, Berlin

2007 - Spectrum Art Auction for Autism, Headland Hotel, Newquay Live/Performance

2011 - Tedna Ve/ Draw Me in Margate, Moonbow Jakes at 18 The Cliff, Margate

2010 - Draw Me/Tedna Ve at Arnold Circus Sharing Picnic 100:Artists Fair, Arnold Circus Artists Fair:100, Tower Hamlets

2009 - Sick of Love. Goldsmiths College Student Performance Production. The Rosemary Branch Theatre, London N1, ISLINGTON, London (scenographic design & make).

2007 - Draw Me/ Tedna Ve in London, Moonbowjakes Gallery Bar, Brockley

2007 - Moving Parts;Laal Shaari performed by Amina Khayyam, MAC,Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH & The Arts Depot, 5 Nether Str,London N12 OGA, Birmingham and London


2011 - Portraits of a Community - The Big Draw, Kestle Barton: Rural Centre for Contemporary Arts, Manaccan, Helston

2011 – Co-Devise and construct Thanatoscope with Mischa Twitchin  

2009 - Draw Me/ Tedna Ve in Hay on Wye, The Hay Literary Festival - Hay Cinema Bookshop, Castle St., Hay on Wye

2005 - Museums Arts Day - Tedna Ve Costumed Portraits, Penlee Gallery and House, Morrab Road, Penzance, Cornwall

2002 – Finisterre site specific Installation – pinhole photography and action – St.Levan Chapel Cove, Cornwall



2014- Paper Cutting Techniques – Workshop – Bluecoat Art Gallery, Liverpool

2011 – Papercutting Workshop – Kestlebarton Gallery and Rural Centre.

2008 – Pinhole Camera and Camera Obscura Workshop – Hitchen Girls School, Hertfordshire -

2007 - The Theatre of Pinhole Photography, Buile Hill High School, Salford

2004 - Royal Cornwall Museum Truro Big Draw, The Royal Cornwall Museum, River Street, Truro,Cornwall

2006 – Figure Drawing for Costume Design – Goldsmiths College. PACE, London

1994 – Project Manager : Craft Studio design Paddington Sydney Australia

Private commissions

1997 - Drawings of MacBeth in Rehearsal, Bristol Old Vic and Coopers Gallery, King Street, Bristol. & On Tour Nationally

 Educational experience & awards

2013 Jerwood Drawing Prize – Casper N – Bankside London and national U.K. tour.

2001 Awarded Northbrook College Drawing Award BAW, Mall Galleries, London

Tertiary 2000 - Visiting Tutor, Camberwell School of Art, London

1994 - TAFE – Drawing Skills & Techniques, Northern Sydney Institute, Australia

1992 - Director of Course, Set Design, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

1987 - Head of Scenic Design, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

1986 - Visiting Tutor, Theatre Arts, Performance Design, Scenography Department, Goldsmiths College

 Educational experience.

2010 - Tedna Ve / Draw Me at Greenside Arts Festival, (SLD, SEN & PMLD) Greenside School, Shephall Green, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG2 9XS


2010 – Thanatoscope – with Mischa Twitchin – devise construct -

2007 - Art 07 Kendal, (Arts Council N.E.) Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, Kendal

2007 - Draw Me (Tedna Ve) SFX Festival portrait making installation. Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. U.K.

2004 – Production Design – Vladeck – White Bear Theatre, London.                                    

1996 Sydney Theatre Company – Scenic Artist/Design Assistant – STC Sydney Australia

1988 – ICA Theatre – Set Design and Construction – The Lords and Ladies of Little Egypt.

1986 Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – Head of Scenic Design, Director of Technical Summer-school in Set and Costume Design – 2004.

1982 – Scenic Artist and Sculptor – Welsh National Opera, Cardiff Wales.

Project manage/ Scenics:  Opera North, English National Opera at Coliseum, National Theatre.