Jon Edgley illustration of a greedy landlord
03/12/20 - 03/01/21
It’s a difficult time for many but we still have culture to see us through and while people can’t come to OUTPUT, we’ve been thinking of ways to get the art to you. So, we’re going postal. Here marks the beginning of our postal exhibition format - shows in posters you can keep. We are starting this new experimental series with Liverpool-based artist Jon Edgley (b. 1996, Wirral) who graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2018. The first postal exhibition is a postal print produced at Granby Press.

For his exhibition, Edgley is looking at the figure of the landlord as one who exploits a tenant’s labour to inflate their own wealth. Taking inspiration from cartoons for children as well as political comic strips in newspapers, he has produced drawings that star the landlord as a villain caught up in scenes of comical gags and physical violence. These are made with pen and paper before being scanned in and digitally composited. Further, to situate the polemics of his work in this show, Edgley will be installing a host of his own illustrated To Let signs on the front of the gallery while the building is closed due to pandemic restrictions. This aims to highlight the fact that the problem of landlordism is a shared concern across domestic, cultural and commercial spaces too.

Listen to the OUTPUT Gallery Podcast interview with Jon using the player below or read a transcript here.

Jon Edgley print, front and back
Print back design with Q & A
If you were in charge of the world, how would housing work?

I once saw a post that something along the lines of “housing should be like food, no one gets seconds until everyone has had firsts.” The way I see it, housing and property is hoarded by the rich as a commodity and rent is a tax they put on the working class and small business owners. Housing should be a human right and every government should be responsible for providing all its citizens with it.

How has it felt to be an artist during the pandemic?

Being an artist hasn’t been too bad for me, I got furloughed in the first lockdown so had 3 weeks to draw and grow veg for the first time. But the headspace that making art provides has always been a lifeline and helped me get through all this mentally. It is working in retail which has been the true hell, and makes art feel like a relief.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I look at all kinds of stuff from medieval art, the renaissance, comic strips, animated series such as Adventure Time or old Simpsons episodes, a bit of contemporary art, memes, shitposting, artists I follow online, reading books and anime. It’s all material I take in and consume. If something relates to me or I enjoy it or makes me feel a big mood then it gets a screenshot on my phone and saved for the next time I’m sketching.
Jon Edgley installation on OUTPUT exterior
Jon Edgley installation on OUTPUT exterior
Jon Edgley installation on OUTPUT exterior
Jon Edgley installation on OUTPUT exterior