CULTURE vulture artist Jonny Hannah is teaming up with Lotte Inch Gallery and FortyFive Vinyl Café to bring “a unique Valentine” bond of music and love to York.
Songs For Darktown Lovers, his exhibition of Double A-sides, will be split between the two independent York businesses, on show from February 8 to March 7.
Having exhibited with Lotte Inch Gallery, in Bootham, over the years, one-of-a-kind Scottish artist, designer, illustrator and all-round creative spark Hannah is returning to York for his music-inspired collaboration with gallery curator Lotte Inch and her friends Dan Kentley and Dom White at FortyFive Vinyl Café in Micklegate.
“Songs For Darktown Lovers roots itself in all things music, and of course, love,” says Lotte. “With Sinatra’s Songs For Swinging Lovers playing in the background, this exhibition is an alternative Valentine for the creatively minded.
“It’s also a love letter to ‘Darktown’, a fictional place that Jonny refers to when modern life becomes too much, a place with countless retreats, all revealed in his book Greetings From Darktown, published by Merrell Publishers in 2014.”
The exhibition in two places will combine newly reinterpreted vinyl sleeves on display at FortyFive Vinyl Café with prints and hand-painted wooden cut-outs at both venues.
“This will be a rich double-exhibition of work by a highly respected and totally unique artist,” says Lotte, curator of both displays. “It will definitely not be your usual Valentine’s cliché,” she promises.
BAFTA award-winning Jonny Hannah was born and raised in Dunfermline, Scotland, and studied at the Cowdenbeath College of Knowledge, Liverpool Art School and then the Royal College of Art in London.
Since graduation in 1998, he has worked both as a commercial designer and an illustrator and printmaker. He lives by the sea in Southampton, where he is a senior lecturer in illustration at Southampton Solent University.
Hannah boasts an impressive list of exhibitions, advertising projects and clients, such as Royal Mail, the New York Times, the Guardian and Conde Nast, and he has published a series of “undeniably Hannah-esque” books with Merrell Publishers, Mainstone Press and Design For Today.
“Many local visitors to next month’s York shows will recall Jonny’s Darktown Turbo Taxi solo exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, in 2018,” says Lotte.
“For those curious to find out more, we recommend looking out for the Darktown Turbo Taxi – a must see, even if only in retrospect, through the website for his London and New York illustration agency, Heart Agency.”
A preview evening to launch Songs For Darktown Lovers will be held from 6pm to 9pm on February 7 at FortyFive Vinyl Café. “You can join Jonny, who will perform an acoustic set with friend, artist and illustrator Jonathan Gibbs before taking to the decks to celebrate our exciting collaboration,” says Lotte.
“It’s a chance to get lost in a world filled with art, music and just plain lovely people, with tickets available at jonnyhannahpreview.eventbrite.com.”
The exhibition’s Double A-side opens on February 8 at Lotte Inch Gallery, now moved to the first floor at 14 Bootham. “With coffee for those with sore heads, and art to further soothe the soul, the gallery will be offering up a selection of new and recently produced work from Jonny’s abounding studio in Southampton,” says Lotte.
“Coffee by FortyFive will be available that morning from 10am at the gallery for those needing some solace from the previous night’s escapades! Jonny Hannah will be in residence for the morning too, so be sure to drop by.”
Lotte Inch Gallery is open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment on 01904 848660. FortyFive Vinyl Café’s opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm; Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 10am to 5pm.