Michael Jackson Hangs from a goal post next to a primary school.  

Photographs by Gemma Shaw

Stephen Sheehan talks with Jay Chesterman 

Documenting a culture...

Chesterman’s paintings are based on second-hand imagery that is found through online investigations. The use of such imagery conceptually corresponds to Chesterman’s interest in the ephemeral experience and how society exercises that right in abundance through capturing and sharing.

Chesterman has previously discussed that our ‘digital age’ culture, that is driven by an abundance of imagery, consumed through screens, ultimately creates a simulated reality. Chesterman alludes to the idea that such a bombardment of imagery, acts as the subconscious mind of society that reveals prominent obsessions, fashions and cross cultural interests. As an artist, Chesterman sees his role as depicter of history and a social commentator.


Particularly for this project, Mon Ananas are intrigued by such concepts surrounding the temporary existence of an image, yet also the permanence of that image once it leaves the rapid, fickle and methodical viewing gallery of social media, finding itself in an expanding and abandoned digital prison for images that once meant something for a split second.

If Chesterman alludes to online activity to be portraying obsessions, fashions and interests as a collective, it may equally allude to the idea of how we as a society think. If so, then we are fickle ego maniacs with a lust for nostalgia and a paranoid obsession that we will never be as beautiful as some, as successful as others or we will be forgotten if we do not show we existed on a particular day. While not everyone may be obsessed with posting, the other half are engulfed with observing the guise of the simulated reality we have created.


Mon Ananas enjoy the work output of Chesterman as he continues to battle and comment upon the continuous vat of online and popular imagery that society produces. While Rembrandt created self-portraits, depicting a young man to an old man, Mon Ananas believe Chesterman is painting the evolving portraits of society, with respect to his own timeline. Rather that depicting wrinkles or sagging skin of his own flesh, Chesterman is noting the continuous momentum against his momentum, and one day it will be his last, thus completing his existence and the body of his work as a final comment and narrative.