Jonathan Yeo is a British artist, born in London in 1970. His work typically portrays famous figures which allows an instant familiarity with his work. He is now considered a pioneer of figurative painting in Britain.
His work explores various themes including consumerism of imagery, social media’s impact on society, actors in character, pornography’s exposure to society, and cosmetic surgery. Yeo selects his subjects meticulously, considering their physiognomy (their facial features and expression) in order to create a narrative.
His work has been highly regarded for his skilled use of collage and exploration of unorthodox subjects. Yeo has work that has created controversy; such as a triptych he painted as the official portrait painter of the 2001 British General Election. This piece was considered controversial as he painted the candidates in different sizes according to their popularity. A more considerably risqué piece is his piece of US former President George W Bush, a piece he created after a commission was cancelled. Provoked by the cancellation, Yeo created a collage portrait with clippings from hardcore pornography magazines.
Many of Yeo’s paintings feature a background grid which give an unfinished feeling to his work. This is juxtaposed with the skilled and highly detailed parts of his paintings. This aspect makes his work untraditional and sets him apart as a contemporary artist.