John Atherton

A found yearbook is the seemingly arbitrary starting point for my work,  a quite unpredictable and fortuitous beginning. The yearbook symbolises a rite of passage, a point of departure, it captures a moment of infinite possibility, the imminent journey to an unknown destination.

My work is screen printed onto different papers and collaged together but I think of myself as a painter, the piles of paper, my colour palette. These layers of materials and imagery embody a vast hinterland of narratives and creative ideas that echo back to the yearbook. The creative journey and the personal narratives are encoded in the stratification of materials with only the most recent layer fully visible.

John Atherton (b.1977) is originally from Scotland where he studied Graphic Design at The Glasgow School of Art. He lived and worked in London as a screen printer, designer, curator and assistant to international artists before attending The Royal College of Art from 2017 till 2019. After graduating he was selected for both the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize, and Travers Smith, CSR Art Programme. He now lives and works in Sweden producing Solo exhibitions in both 2020 and 2021.


Demons In The Undergrowth

I know there are no demons in the undergrowth
At least I think so
Forming faces in clouds and all manner of things
I see the angry face of a malevolent spirit
a flaming giraffe
a tea clipper in full sail
I transform my perception
I decide to build castles in the air
Invent my own faces in the sky
Literal recognisable objects incongruously appear


The abstract experience