Photo: Jonathan Polkest in Penzance, South West

Jonathan Polkest

Artist, Technician, Lecturer / academic, Community worker


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 

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Location Penzance, South West
Activities Higher education, Workshops, Community arts, Public art, Technical installation
Artforms / type of project Drawing, Installation, Painting, Performance, Textiles

News & Events

  • Drawing Conversations Conference and Exhibition

    04/12/2015 – 06/12/2015
    Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) Coventry University Technology Park Puma Way Coventry CV1 2NE

    Drawing Conversations: reflecting upon collective and collaborative drawing practices,a one-day symposium intended to consider the specifics and value of collective and collaborative drawing practices

    Find out more

  • Draw Me on the Rooftop

    22/10/2015 – 23/10/2015
    Mary Ward Centre Rooftop Garden, 42 Queens Square, London WC1N 3AQ

    The Rooftop Garden is the location for the Portraiture Drawing Installation "Tedna Ve - Draw Me". Drawing via the camera obscura which delights and informs, creating an instant portrait exhibition.

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  • The Big Draw in the Museum of the Mind : Jonathan Polkest

    30/10/2015 – 31/10/2015
    Bethlem Museum of the Mind Bethlem Royal Hospital Monks Orchard Road Beckenham Kent BR3 3BX - 020 3228 4227

    Drawing portraits with the aid of a camera obscura : In the age of the Selfie when portraits and cameras are common practice come to the museum and draw a portrait and exhibit. Every portrait counts!

    Find out more

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