Establish: Emerge features work by former Leeds College of Art students Anthony Connolly and Jake Mullins. The former studied there from 1947 – 1952 and became a lecturer there in 1954, and the latter graduated this year, studying from 2014-2017.
Anthony Connolly is an abstract artist living in North Wales. Tony has an impressive CV of works spanning over 60 years, including many corporate commissions and exhibitions up and down the UK. From 1947 - 1952, he studied at the Leeds College of Art and Design and in 1954, became a member of staff there, rising to a senior position and assisting in the development of new systems of national art and design education. Tony was central to the College being incorporated as the Faculty of Art and Design within the new Leeds Polytechnic and in the setting up of a new "Leeds Basic Design Course" which encouraged a more "open ended" and flexible approach to art education throughout the UK. In 1973, Tony was appointed to a senior position within the Manchester Polytechnic and developed advanced studies in a new department he named "Communication Arts and Design". Tony retired in 1984 and established his own art and design studio. From 1978 to 1989 he worked with the UK Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) and chaired the Council's Graphic Design Committee in its reviews of standards throughout the UK and occasionally overseas.
Throughout 1982 - 1995, Tony was appointed as External Assessor to 12 key UK graduate / post-graduate art and design awarding institutions. He is a life member of the National Society for Education in Art and Design and enjoys a Fellowship of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers. Throughout his full career, Tony has valued being able to actively maintain his own creative work in key areas of graphic design and, in particular, his ongoing printmaking.
Jake Mullins studied fine art from 2014 -2017 and was the winner of our annual Ones to Watch Exhibition People’s Choice Award. As a painter Jake Mullins is interested in depicting abstracted compositions and still life pieces commenting on the idea of ‘good taste’ and modern design. Growing up in a small home in rural Yorkshire, Mullins is fascinated with the idea of the ‘perfect home’ being represented through department store set-ups such as John Lewis and glossy home-oriented magazines similar to that of holiday brochures. In contrast to the home he is also intrigued by how public spaces such as hotel receptions, office spaces and beauty salons seem to follow a similar formula in their construction. They all appear to contain minimal decor; a potted plant sat alone in the corner surrounded by empty space and light wood surfaces.
His work uses motifs such as potted plants, designer sofas, puffy cushions and minimalist shelving to suggest wealth and sophistication, providing the ultimate example of the contemporary home containing no visible clutter that is usually found in the domestic space. Developing a technique of using masking tape as a stenciling tool, Mullins attempts to capture bold colours and superimposed shapes which is a key element to his work. He uses clean lines and simple forms to play with notions of the artificiality of what we see and read about in television and advertising.