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Jon Turner's House of Curiosities

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Open every day 8am-midnight at 130 Park Lane, Macclesfield

October 1st - November 20th 2022

Jon Turner is a Manchester-based illustrator using traditional pen and ink techniques to create strange and melancholy artwork. He'll be turning The Doll's House Art Gallery into a haunted house, with a specially created spooky exhibition for the Halloween season.

We were keen to have Jon's artwork in the gallery because we have admired its aesthetic and humour for many years, and his tiny frames and set design work seemed perfect for such a structure. We figured October was a nice fit, so be prepared to get spooky and immersive!

The gallery will be lit from sunset-00:00 except Halloween weekend whern it will be lit overnight each night from Oct 28th-Nov 1st.

What other related things do you do?:

All of my artwork is created using pen and ink and I love to work at miniature size, so this exhibition is perfect for me. My work is focused around creating strange, spooky, melancholy worlds, hinting at stories but leaving a lot to the imagination of the viewer, so that's exactly what I'm creating for The Doll's House Art Gallery.

What do you like about miniature?:

I've always been drawn to tiny things, I absolutely love seeing objects that have been perfectly recreated in miniature form, and the surrealism that comes from things appearing at different scales. I had a doll's house as a kid and I loved all the tiny elements, miniature bowls of fruit and bottles of wine and picture frames; I think I probably eventually ended up suppressing the joy it gave me because boys in the 90s weren't meant to play with doll's houses, but now, thankfully, I don't care about what I'm meant to be doing. If you ever visit my studio in Manchester I have a tiny gallery outside the door, at ankle height, full of doll's house picture frames with tiny artworks inside.

Why are you drawn to the strange and melancholic?:

That's probably a question for a therapist to answer, but I do think art has the power to take

you somewhere beyond reality, to strange and surreal places, and I enjoy harnessing that power. I enjoy solitude and contemplation and I think there's a kind of Autumnal cosiness to melancholy which I enjoy, especially when it's balanced with humour and oddity. I like to create melancholic art but I don't think there's too much darkness to it, I think it's quite wholesome really- I don't really enjoy when things get too nihilistic, and I'm actually quite cheerful most of the time.

Do the characters you draw have narrative backgrounds?

I always like to hint at narratives and mysteries, even if they aren't explicit in the artwork. I made a book of narrative poems and illustrations during lockdown, called Fragments, which focuses on a strange, melancholic fantasy world and just gives little glimpses of stories from that world and its odd inhabitants. The ghosts and spirits and animals who you see in that book all have their own stories and adventures, but what those are are mostly left to the reader. I do love storytelling and creating narratives though, and it's definitely where I most want to focus my work in the future.

Why did you want to do this exhibition?:

A tiny exhibition of tiny things really appeals to my sensibilities but is also a lot less overwhelming than doing something in a big gallery space, plus it gives me the chance to just create something strange; I hope people will enjoy examining all the tiny details, because that's exactly what I've always loved doing. And doing it during October means I can really lean into the spooky side of things too (not that I need an excuse for that).

The exhibition is open from 08:00-00:00 October 1st - November 20th, and 24 hours a day from 08:00 October 29th - 00:00 November 2nd.

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