By JMJ - biography

JMJ lives in an ex-mining village on the border between South and West Yorkshire, "...where the light is particularly good for painting." Not only is JMJ the proud winner of a Blue Peter badge (won in 1984 for a letter he wrote giving suggestions about what might happen to the Liverpool International Garden Festival site after the 6 month-long event ended; thus allowing for a second, and 'free', visit to the festival), in 2015 JMJ was bestowed with the noble title of Lord of the Principality of Sealand; in appreciation for services to charity.

Aged 14, JMJ's art teacher said JMJ had no talent for art. Some 20 years later, in 2006, JMJ decided to take up painting as a hobby. JMJ has never looked back. Developing a unique style, over recent years, JMJ has created little signatures that almost always appear in the paintings. Things to look out for are: unconventional buildings (not the colour they are in real life) 'moving' water, stylised clouds and intentional errors. An intentional error might be where one would expect there to be shade, JMJ reverses this by making the area brighter. Alternatively, JMJ might alter the shape of something or remove details like windows or street furniture to better fit the landscape. Look out, also, for JMJ's 'Little Green Boat' paintings. These occasional paintings, where JMJ is often painting 'made up' scenes, feature a small green rowing boat; a visual signature like that of the 'mouse man' carvings. Finally, JMJ only paints in vibrant acrylics on canvas and, because JMJ wraps each scene around the edges of the canvas, there is no need to display JMJ's paintings in frames.

Potternewton Heights, Leeds - JMJ was so impressed by the unusual tiles at the entrance, and in the foyer, that JMJ chose to paint them several times and use them as the ByJMJ© motif. In Leeds, many of the 1960s tower blocks take the H-plan foot print and all of the H-plan blocks* have unique tile designs at their entrance and in the public ground floor areas. Of them all, JMJ likes the Potternewton Heights designs the most. Not only are there tile panels, Potternewton Heights is unique in that it has a panel of 3D concrete tiles by Fray. Sadly, JMJ has been unable to find out any information about Fray or who designed the tile panels. The tile designs are evident in JMJ's paintings - The Potter Tiles, The Grand Entrance, True Colours 3 (a triptych showing all the actual colours used, following a visit there by JMJ), What lies behind? (based on a tile panel that is partially covered by a notice board), Panel Beaten (4 miniature canvases) and, on a the large canvas Other Colours, JMJ took part of one panel and re-imagined the design in orange, red, blue and pink. In all cases, JMJ combines the patterns or breaks them up. For the future, JMJ plans to re-create other H-plan foyer tile designs in one painting. JMJ suggests you take a trip up to the 1969 H-plan tower block, Potternewton Heights, if ever you are in Leeds. (*the Whinsmoor block was demolished in the 1980s). If you have photos of the H-plan foyer tiles from any of the tower blocks around Leeds, please contact:

By JMJ - Filmettes, Flickr & Facebook

Discover more about JMJ, JMJ's paintings and passion for all things Festival Gardens, Liverpool, at the Facebook group - Festival Gardens, Liverpool (Stoke, Glasgow, Gateshead and Ebbw Vale) - which JMJ co-created with Karl Greenwood. 

JMJ's paintings can also be found on by searching for John Martin, ByJMJ (paintings) or ByJMJ2 (photographs).

Visit JMJ's Youtube channel - - it is an eclectic mad mix of photographs, short films and ideas from JMJ's imagination.

Visit JMJ's Flickr gallery -