Quietly tucked away inside Hornsey town hall on Sunday 24th of March was a little gem of an art fair. The Grade II listed building that hosted it, famous for its art deco architecture and interiors, is well regarded as a local creative hub and often houses art events like this.

The art on sale was from multiple artists, including the work of one Royal Academy graduate; however the majority of the work was from Jon Astrop.

80s music fans may recognise his name from post-punk band Gang of Four; however, Astrop’s creative pursuits have been centred on visual art since the 90s. A highly prolific painter, he graduated from Hornsey School of Art with a BA in fine art before embarking on his musical career. Now he has returned to painting and can often be found selling his work at local London pop up events like this one.

I particularly struck by his eclectic mixture of art styles. From gestural, expressive nudes and pop art style collages to graphically drawn heads that reminded me somewhat of Basquiat, Astrop’s artistic range is remarkable. However, the bold use of contrast and lurid colours was consistent across all the work, tying them together with a sense of energy and spontaneity.

Particular favourites of mine were his seascapes. The use of texture was enchanting – his thick, impasto sweeps of paint captured the salty, frothy spray of the ocean. This, combined with the silky smooth gradients of the blue skies and water, seemed to perfectly replicate the refreshing tranquillity of the coast.

After taking in his work, I spoke to the artist about his career path, influences, and the commercial side of the art world.

Ruby Snell: What led you to your career in fine art?

Jon Astrop: I kind of didn’t have a choice because both my parents were artists. My father was a commercial artist and my mother used to be a fashion illustrator, so I grew up with paints and paper and lots of art around me. So I was influenced by them and by the time is was 8 or 9 I’d already decided I wanted to go to art college when I leave school.

RS: What are your main artistic influences?

JA: I studied the history of art and I was most impressed by people like Picasso and Matisse - they were who invented what I call modern art. I love wild, expressive art and very bold marking making, and those two artists were just genius at that.

RS: What are the benefits of buying directly from artists at sales like this, as opposed to from galleries?

JA: I (being of a rebellious nature) don’t like galleries because they’re run by businessmen who inflate the price of art. I don’t think art should be that expensive – everyone should be able to afford it. Galleries are in it for the money. It’s a great pleasure for me [to sell directly] because I feel like I’m being honest in charging what I do, and I think people take delight in the idea that they’re buying straight from the source. Artists are quite pathetic creatures in that they rely on galleries for sales and events, but I realised that I’m just going to starve to death if I have to rely on the occasional gallery show. I just decided to do it myself by hiring spaces and take it to the people.

You can find out more about Astrop and his work on his website at https://www.jonastrop.com/