Art & Politics – chap 1

Helen Jones

Ever since I started having an interest in art and creating I seemed to use art to express my feelings on how I felt in the UK. I had a bumpy start in life, as my mother left me when I was four and I was brought up with an alcoholic father and my step mum. Born in one of the poorest areas in the UK and in Europe. Liverpool was a highly charged place with social unrest. I remember from a young age being told the police were called the ‘pigs’ and seeing the riots unfold in Toxteth in the 80s. I must have had a strong feeling that I needed to understand and I guess wanted to make myself feel secure by educating myself.

Art to me was a way of expressing myself and here are some of my earliest pieces showing that sensitivity.




As you can see my style and the way I created art to me came after the thought of expressing ‘a feeling’ I had in my head. I’m still like that now and experiment with many mediums. Here’s the list of mediums I’ve used over the years: photography, sculpture, mosaics, textiles, printmaking, graphic design, computer-generated, fine art, montages, murals, installations and 3D.

I did sometimes create art that was solely to do with art, but to me, it was always deeper. Many artists have talked about this, you may have heard the sentence ‘art for art sake’.

So what artists have influenced me and why?

This was mainly found when I started my Fine Art Degree at Liverpool John Moores University in 1998.

I found myself drawn to art that stood out and was different and loved the pop art culture in New York and admired Andy Warhol &  Keith Haring, who rejected the current views on what art was. I understood this as being from a poor background I found the wealthy ‘to do’ telling me what art was. Which meant doing the same style of work, all the time and though out your life and to practise and refine this style only, until your dead – really?? Why??

So they could put you in a box and use you as a commodity,  that could be bargained and sold for a higher price but also told that they are either rated ‘good’ or ‘bad. I think this was where my interest in politics began.

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