LOTTE Inch Gallery, in Bootham, York, is going online only “for
the time being”.
“While the Covid-19 situation poses a threat to us all, we
want to ensure that everyone stays well and healthy and, as such, have closed the
doors at Fourteen Bootham until we are advised by the Government that we can
re-open,” says Lotte.
“However, just because the doors are closed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still look at some of the beautiful work that features in our current exhibition, York artist Mick Leach’s Urban Abstraction. All Mick’s paintings are now on our online shop at lotteinch.co.uk, along with Katie Timson’s beautifully delicate ceramics and Evie Leach’s refined silver and semi-precious stone jewellery.”
Running until April 11, Leach’s debut solo show of sophisticated abstract work endeavours to recreate the textures, colours, layers and shapes of York’s decaying urban landscape.
with acrylics mixed with French chalk powder, Leach applies paint with palette
knives to gain his textured, layered effect. Various colours and media are then
added to enhance the layers and textures to evoke the memory and feeling of the
places that most inspire him.
“As a self-taught artist and full-time worker, Mick’s ‘side-career’ (sic) in painting has been steadily and successfully taking shape since early 2016,” says Lotte. “This new exhibition highlights his striking talent and his sympathetic and considered manipulation of materials.
“His work is never subjective, but
produced instead from memory, in an attempt to recreate the feel of a location
while simultaneously allowing his work to find its own course.”
behind this series, being shown in York for the first time, is drawn from
the many large cities that Leach has visited or lived in, in particular from
the city of York; the place he calls home.
new body of paintings, Mick attempts to recreate the colours and feel of the
ancient stonework, the dark alleyways, sunken windows, and the contrast of the
modern world against this ancient city, a place rich with contradictions,” says
next will be Lotte Inch Gallery’s first online-only exhibition, Tom Wood’s The
Abstract Crow, running from 10am on April 17 to May 16.
eye out for more details coming soon and follow Lotte Inch Gallery on Instagram
for sneak previews of the new works that Tom will be including in his show,”
“This will be a solo show of new paintings by this internationally recognised and technically brilliant Yorkshire artist. Known for his imaginative and allusive abstract approach to painting, Tom will pay homage to his love for the natural world in The Abstract Crow.”
Since graduating from Sheffield School of Art in 1978, Wood
has exhibited his work worldwide. For example, his celebrated portraits of
Professor Lord Robert Winston and Leeds playwright Alan Bennett, both
commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London, have been on display at
the Australian National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.
Wood has held solo shows at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA,
and Schloss Cappenberg, Kreiss Unna, Germany. Among his commissions are
portraits for the National Trust, Warwick University and the Harewood Trust, for
whom his large double portrait of the late 7th Earl and Countess of
Harewood is on permanent display at Harewood House, near Leeds.
“We look forward to re-opening soon, but in the meantime, we
encourage you to browse online,” says Lotte. “Do note that if you live in the
York area, we are pleased to be able to offer a free and safe delivery service.
Just select ‘Collect In Store’ and we’ll be in touch to arrange delivery of
“Take care of yourselves and your loved ones,” she signs off.
Hannah’s Songs For Darktown Lovers is the Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields
Forever of exhibitions.
music-inspired Double A-sides show is split between two independent York
businesses: Lotte Inch Gallery, at 14 Bootham, and gallery curator Lotte’s
friends Dan Kentley and Dom White’s FortyFive Vinyl Café in Micklegate.
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
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.”
Scottish artist, designer, illustrator, lecturer and all-round creative spark
Hannah has exhibited previously at Lotte’s gallery, and she contacted him last
spring with a view to him doing a show for FortyFive.
told me about this vinyl café because I like to go to charity shops and buy old
vinyl albums that I know will be awful but have striking covers, and then I
create my own newly reinterpreted vinyl sleeves from that,” says
culture-vulture Jonny, who attended the exhibition openings at FortyFive, where
he span vintage discs and played an acoustic guitar set with fellow artist Jonathan Gibbs, and at Lotte’s gallery amid the
aroma of morning-after coffee the next day.
been nice with this show is having the chance to do the more informal works for
the café and the formal pieces, such as hand-painted wooden cut-outs, for the
led to the Darktown Lovers theme. “Originally, I was going to do the show
before Christmas but time ran out, and then I thought Valentine’s Day would be
a good setting,” says Jonny.
work is inspired by love songs and songs I love – as they’re not all love
songs. Country rock; a bit of classical; some French chanson; rockabilly. The
café exhibition has become this imagined playlist of vinyl that never will be,
but I’ve made it as the perfect playlist in my head.”
up in Dunfermline, before studying at Cowdenbeath College of Knowledge, Liverpool School of Art and the
Royal College of Art in London, Jonny recalls how he would pick out album
covers such as Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell.
“Everyone had that album in Dunfermline! Then, as I became older, and I
like to think more sophisticated, I was drawn to those wonderful Blue Note jazz
covers. I loved the 12-inch format; going to the record shop on Saturdays with
your pocket money was so exciting,” he says.
“Then it became CDs, and now downloads, but it’s great that vinyl has
made a comeback. My sons play music, but I’ve no idea what, because it’s all on
headphones. In fact, they complain I play my music too loud, which is surely
the wrong way round! But music should be a social thing, bringing you together
to see a band or enjoy a DJ set.
“Music that matters to you is as important as buying clothes or a pair
of shoes or the first time you saw a film like Kes. You remember the mood you
were in when you first heard it.”
graduating in 1998, Jonny has worked both as a commercial designer and an
illustrator and printmaker. He lives by the sea in Southampton, where he
lectures in illustration at Southampton Solent University.
He 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.
You may recall his Darktown Turbo
Taxi solo exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, in 2018,
and Darktown lies at the heart of his latest works too, but what is Darktown,
“It started off as my idea that it
was on the edge of any city that had a collection of odd characters, that had
places they frequented, maybe shops too,” he says.
“The inspiration came from Fats
Waller, the jazz singer, singing Darktown Strutter’s Ball, and C W Stoneking
replying Don’t Go Dancin’ Down The Darktown Strutter’s Ball. So, Fats is saying
‘go’; Stoneking is saying ‘don’t go’, and you think, ‘oh god, what should I
“I decided I should go down there and
it’s become my alternative reality to my reality, as opposed to one of my great
hates: Star Wars fantasy.”
Defining that alternative reality,
Jonny says: “It has to be urban, ever since I left home in Dunfermline; it has
to have a lot of concrete, like there is in Southampton, my home now.
“You’re cherry picking from what you
do and don’t want to experience, including shops, characters, streets.”
One street, in particular: Shirley
High Street, where Jonny lives in Southampton. “I take some of the characters
from there and mix them in my head with historical characters,” he says. “But
it all has to have that dollop of reality; if you go too far off on fantastical
bent, it isn’t Darktown.”
How did Jonny develop his distinctive
style? “You have to be patient, to make things work, for your style to appear.
I’d start from other artists and do my own versions, and after a decade, maybe
a couple of decades, I’ve found my own style with life’s experience feeding
into it: who you are, where you live. Whereas if you force it, that’s when it
“The more you do it, the more those
things inside you, what’s internal, becomes external and is expressed in your
art. That’s when you overtake your influences and your voice becomes the
significant voice, not the ones that inspired you.”
Jonny Hannah’s pricing policy is
admirable. “The idea of my work being available potentially to almost anyone is
exciting, so I’ve sold it for as little as £5. I price it for what I think it’s
worth; even if people say I undervalue it, I don’t think I do,” he says.
“I love the idea that my art is
distributed rather than being stuck in my lock-up, so the possibility of it
being someone’s home, office, or place of work, is important to me.
“I also like to think of myself as
being like a medium holding a séance, where my art is telling you about Fats
Waller and Jacques Brel, if you don’t know who Jacques Brel is; I’m contacting
their spirit, so I’m doing my job as a conveyor of popular culture that you can
Jonny acknowledges the significance
of art that provokes and can change opinions in the world, “but I don’t need to
be one of those people”, he says. “I like the idea that art is entertaining.
I’ve always opted for entertainment, for enjoyment, for making people happy
with what I create. I have fun making them, and that notion of enjoyment is so
important to me.”
Jonny’s palette of colours exudes that element of enjoyment and fun too. “I don’t say that it’s specifically down to my colour blindness – I’m colour blind for green and blue – but I did start by using primary colours, then varying their brightness,” he says.
“You can try out endless variations and for me now it’s always blue, red, yellow, black and white and variations on that,” he says. “I’ve tried to be subtle with colour but it just doesn’t work for me!”
His Darktown Turbo Taxi, first exhibited
in his Yorkshire Sculpture Park show, and now acquired by Southampton Solent
University for permanent display there, is a case in point. “It was my agent’s
idea that I should buy this Saab 9-3 Turbo off Gumtree and paint it. Afterwards,
someone said ‘you can’t miss it in a car park’, and he was right! That notion
of not being able to miss it is part of my painting philosophy.”
That said, Jonny reveals: “I don’t
think too much. I say to my students thinking can be a bad thing. If you face a
blank canvas, then start creating, you come up with something better. Drawing
is a form of thinking in itself; you start drawing, you are thinking.
“You find that certain things keep
coming back in your work, and what I know I can be guilty of is laziness, when
I need to find new inspiration or find new ways of expressing things. It’s
always that thing of challenging yourself creatively. There’s nothing worse
After releasing his latest book, A
Confederacy Of Dunces, for The Folio Society, Jonny is now working on a commission
for Museums Northumberland on Northumberland folklore that will run from May to
September at Woodhorn Museum, Ashington, Hexham Old Gaol, Morpeth Chantry
Bagpipe Museum and Berwick Museum and Art Gallery.
He is also creating a set of woodcuts
for The Skids’ frontman Richard Jobson’s book of short stories set in an
imaginary bar in Berlin called The Alabama Song. “Richard lives in Berlin for
half the year now, and the woodcuts will go on show in an exhibition at events where
he’ll sing and I’ll play guitar,” says Jonny.
Also bubbling up is a book on the history
of pop culture, as his prodigious productivity continues unabated, with a
mischievous spirit at play. “When you’re young, you get told to tidy up, but as
you get older, mess is a creative thing,” reckons Jonny.
“If you’re creative, there’s an
immaturity to you that never goes away. You don’t have to tidy up until it really
does become too much!”
Jonny Hannah’s Songs For Darktown Lovers runs until March 7. 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.
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,”
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
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
“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.
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.