Jack Clayton is an illustrator / printmaker from London who specialises in woodcut printmaking. He prints his by hand and often uses the reduction method to add multiple layers of colour from a single block of wood.
Jack moved to Ho Chi Minh City in 2012 and he used his art to gain a better understanding of the city which shows through his immensely complex and thoughtful illustrations.
His recent series draws inspiration from the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Popular sights such as street sellers, children’s games, cafes, drinking culture expressions and sayings all play apart with an aesthetic inspired by traditionally hand painted shop signs and geometric floor tiles.
‘I see myself predominantly as a woodcut printmaker who focuses on experimentation to create unique and eye-catching work. I enjoy mixing the inks to create my own blends of colour and utilising different carving methods in order to move away from the traditional aesthetic. My work is usually character based and I enjoy breaking these figures down whilst finding forms and natural patterns to manipulate and create illusions that trick the eye.’
The Hoi An Illustration
69 x 49cm
Archival giclee print on Cotton paper
The streets of this old town make the shape of a big fish or whale and Jack sees a boat in there as well. The boats in this region have eyes on the front - supposed to guide the fishermen home or maybe to scare off monsters from the deep.
The anchor represents the blue and white ceramics that came from China and you can see one of those sea monsters wrapped around it. Just above the anchor you can see 16th century sailing ships coming in form Japan, Europe and China who were coming to trade at Hoi An, the largest port on the Vietnam coast.
Just above the ships is a swift flying away from its nest. The swift gatherers of Hoi An have been trading in the nutritious nests for centuries, They are used in soup and helath drinks.
To the bottom left, there is a reference to the Japanese whose merchants also settled this town to trade silver and copper for silk with the Chinese. This trade had been banned by their two emperors so they moved their businesses down to Annam (as it was then).
At the top you see the vegetable gardens north of the town which supply fresh veggies to the market every day. There is a woman at a silk spinning wheel, a ruined temple from the Cham people of India who occupied this region for hundreds of years.
In the middle area is the map of the old town, an Unesco Wolrd Heritage Town since 1995. Jack has detailed significant buildings including March Gallery!! You can see it has paintings on easels on the pavement in front of the gallery. Other buidlings include the famous Japanese Bridge, some of the Chinese assembly Halls, the old cinema, the sports stadium, the central Market, the streets of old French, colonial buildings and many more.
The island of An Hoi is famous for its night market and the dome of Lune Theatre. Jack shows the island as a banana leaf floating in the Thu Bon river.
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