Jersey is known for its beaches, harbours and varied coastline as well as its great walking paths. We chose a colourful illustration of the popular St Aubin’s Harbour, located on the south coast of Jersey for the cover of the 2020/21 Jersey Directory.
The cover illustration was created by Ron Mills who is a talented artist, specialising in graphic design, illustration and art. Having spent most of his life in Jersey, he brings a unique perspective to his illustrations of the island and has found recent success with his series of Jersey travel posters.
We sat down with Ron to ask him a few questions about his work.
Why did you choose to illustrate St Aubin’s?
I began illustrating a series of Jersey scenes in November of last year in a style I call retro/modern. It involves layering lots of simple geometric shapes like circles, squares and triangles on top of each other to give a sort of minimal art deco impression of a scene.
I wanted to illustrate St Aubin’s in this style right from the start as it suited this technique.
Does St Aubin’s have any special significance to you personally or as an artist?
On a personal level, I am fond of St Aubin’s because of all the great memories I have socialising there with family and friends. It’s a great place to eat drink and be merry. I get quite a few visitors to come and stay, especially during the summer, and there’s nothing like a lunch or dinner in St Aubin’s. It has a great atmosphere and there are some great bars and eateries. My favourite restaurant is The Salty Dog and I love everything about it, followed by drinks at Old Court House or The Boat House.
Artistically, it’s simply beautiful. St Aubin’s is a jumble of buildings in different architectural styles, densely packed around a harbour. You’d think it would look chaotic but it doesn’t. Everything seems to fit together perfectly. It’s rare to see a mish-mash of old and new look so picturesque but St Aubin’s pulls it off beautifully.
Why do you think St Aubin’s fits on the cover of the Jersey Directory?
I designed the cover to be bright, eyecatching and colourful and to tie in with the brand style of Yabsta, who produce the directory. In particular, I wanted it to have lots of detail as the directory would be around for a year so I didn't want the public to get bored with it.
Additionally, I liked the idea of featuring a place that everyone in the Island identifies with. I have seen it as a safe bet, no matter which parish you live in everyone loves St Aubin’s.
Tell us a bit about your work as an artist in Jersey.
My day job is as a graphic designer for my company Focus Advertising. I develop brands, design logos, posters and packaging, that sort of thing.
I also have a small business that produces digital portraits called Prezzy.art. People send me snapshots, which are special to them but are usually not good enough quality to print. I repaint them digitally and transform them into a work of art that they can proudly frame and hang on their wall.
I love producing portraits of people’s loved ones or pets, it’s so rewarding creatively. Knowing that your work is personal to someone and will be treasured by them is a thrill. Often people can get quite emotional when they see the finished thing. For me, it’s the ultimate artistic compliment when someone sheds a tear of joy at seeing something I’ve produced for them. People rarely cry when you design a logo for them, no matter how good it is.
My series of Jersey travel posters is something I have been doing only recently. I started producing them in November 2019 and have already sold quite a few. Even though I have illustrated professionally for most of my life, selling my artwork as art is something that I have always dreamed of doing. The beauty of selling them as prints is that they are accessible and affordable to everyone.
I am also working on a series of original oil paintings and watercolours with a view to having a solo exhibition in November. I enjoy the speed and cleanliness of painting digitally but I have always known that traditional drawing and painting are my strongest skillsets. Ironically, this is the thing I’m known least for and that’s why I am planning to produce an exhibition to show what I can really do.
What do you love about Jersey?
- The people. When I first came to Jersey, many moons ago, the first thing that struck me was how friendly everyone was plus the community spirit on our island is unrivaled in my opinion.
- The jaw-dropping beauty of Jersey has always blown me away.
When I sit at Beauport beach on a sunny day, I always think there’s nowhere else in the world I would rather be. My partner and I enjoy walking and the phrase ‘we’re so lucky to live here' is used by us often.
- Even though we are a small island, there’s always plenty to do and see. The island has everything from art, culture and entertainment to great sporting activities. Personally, my two favourite things to do are painting and surfing. Jersey is a great place for both.
What do you think is unique about Jersey from an artist/illustrators standpoint?
In terms of subject matter, I prefer nature and wildlife and we are spoilt for choice in Jersey. For me, the most inspirational part of Jersey is the area near my house by Les Ormes. I can walk out of my door then go straight into the woods at Creepy Valley, stop off at the hidden pond at the bottom of the valley, then head onto the dunes and down towards St Ouens bay.
What I find unique about this area is the diversity of natural landscapes in such a relatively small area. Also, thanks to our ever-changing weather, Jersey's iconic beauty spots rarely look the same way twice. I could paint Corbiere Lighthouse every day for a year and no two would be exactly alike.
Can you please highlight a few additional illustrations/artworks you’ve created that you think are great representations of Jersey?
With my travel poster series, I like to use the most iconic and easily recognised places in Jersey, then attempt to reinterpret them in a way that makes them look fresh and new. I try to make all of my images representative of the essence of the island and I usually make them bright and sunny as I like the idea of them brightening up a room. So far I have produced about eight of them and I am continuously working on new ones. Ultimately I hope to have at least two posters for each parish.
All my travel posters are sent to Captured Dreams in St Helier to be printed.
Purchase prints and discover more wonderful Jersey inspired Artwork by Ron Mills, read about all the new features in the 2020/21 Jersey Directory or let us know what you think of Ron's work in the comments below.