Jay Fortune – Artist and ‘jolly good egg’*

(In true biography fashion, we’re going into third person tense… hold on, it’s gonna get weird…)

Jay Fortune was destined to become an artist. His first artistic efforts were unappreciated and seen as an act of graffiti at the young age of three when he began doodling on the staircase wall with a biro. Not content with his first efforts, he shifted down to the next stair and continued. At stair five he was rumbled by his mother. This early wall art eclipsed Banksy by some 30 years. Jay says he may have been the inspiration for Banksy, but this is widely refuted. It’s also not true.

At school Jay was awarded his first solo exhibition featuring portraits of historical figures. He also won a national school’s competition to illustrate a poster to save the rainforests. Selected as the national winner, Jay’s poster was reproduced and printed in several acres of forest which had been selected for protection for the campaign. Jay is still chasing legal rights to own the acreage.

College and university beckoned and Jay graduated with a BA Hons in Art. For the purists who may wish to write his biography, it’s actually an HND equivalent to BA Hons.

A period of retirement from art followed as Jay pursued his other love of magic. This led to a successful career as a magician and you can read about that here>>.

Retiring (again!) from magic in 2019, Jay picked his paintbrushes back up (they had been on the floor the whole time). The paint on them hand long since dried to a nasty crust with new lifeforms swarming on them. Disposing of those, he purchased a new set and has quickly established himself as one of the UK’s most ‘exciting young artists’. The trade refers to him as ‘young’ despite being 40 when he started his art career. Given Van Gogh is now 167 years old (at the time of writing), Jay can certainly be considered ‘young’.

Jay has been commissioned by CEOs, business leaders and entrepreneurs in New York, Las Vegas, Milan, Paris and London, including a limited-edition commission from a Las Vegas premier convention. Collectors around the globe are snapping up Jay’s work now before he, in the words of one collector, ‘blows up’ (assuming this refers to his market value increasing and not spontaneously combusting). More and more people are discovering Jay’s talents and commissioning him for private portraits as well as beginning their collection of his original artwork.

He works in collaboration with celebrities and VIPs, painting their portraits which are often counter-signed and auctioned.

He has worked with the BBC as a consultant on magic programmes, hosted his own breakfast and drive-time radio shows across London for 4 years, published 2 books and been blessed by ‘Del-Boy’ on the set of TV’s Only Fools & Horses! 

Jay created the Riviera Fine Art Exhibition in 2014 to showcase work from himself and other artists, and has received national press and TV coverage. Jay also created Magic Moments, his charitable initiative which has raised over £75,000 for good causes to date. 

Jay lives in the funky sea-side town of Blackpool with his long-term partner Jen (herself an accomplished artist www.artbyjen.co.uk) He spends his time as a professional artist and writer and on rare occasions is slightly comical. But only on rare occasions. This isn’t one of them.

Before he was a professional artist, Jay ran away with the circus and cut people in half, lived with lions and had a pet meerkat… Click to read all about it!

*Jay was referred to as a ‘jolly good egg’ by his show director during their first run of West-End shows.