"Brave and unpretentious": The Liverpool artist who made the artwork for Jake Bugg's new album On my One

By Ben Miller | 21 June 2016

What's it like when a star musician picks your artwork for their new album? Nathan Pendlebury says Jake Bugg's call has been "a kick up the arse"

A photo of an abstract colourful painting made for the cover of Jake Bugg's On my One record
© Nathan Pendlebury
Four years on from his debut, 22-year-old Jake Bugg has declared his third album, the newly-released On my One, a “make or break” record in his career. So perhaps it’s as well that one of the singer-songwriter’s most appreciative first listeners has been Nathan Pendlebury, an amiable northerner whose abstract art (he can be seen splattered in numerous bright shades of paint) caught Bugg’s eye and was duly used to illustrate the album cover and inlay.

“It felt raw and from the heart,” says Pendlebury. “When I was commissioned I bought his first two albums and watched a lot of his performances online.

“I was also allowed to hear a few tracks from the album and, at the time, On my One was a standout song. I do like it when people play with English.

“Jake told me that he had tried new things with this album. I feel like he has been brave and his work continues to be unpretentious. I admire that, and I hope that I too am being brave and unpretentious with my painting.”

Based in Liverpool, Pendlebury wants his paintings to be “confident, positive and vibrant”, and says his aim is to make people feel as charged when looking at them as he does while listening to music.

“This commission has given me a creative kick up the arse,” he confides, calling his reinvigoration “something every artist needs once or twice in their career.” “I would love to do another album cover.

“I always painted square paintings as a homage to the music scene. Being such a lover of music, it was a way of me putting something I love into my work.

“I always dreamt of having my work on an album cover. This has been my best and most enjoyable commission to date. I’d love to work with other musicians in the future.”

A photo of an abstract colourful painting made for the cover of Jake Bugg's On my One record
© Nathan Pendlebury
A series of videos show him swapping creative asides with Bugg in the studio, but his next collaboration will be a more familiar one to Pendlebury: his father Anthony is also an artist, and the pair will be returning to their familiar territory of Manchester’s Buy Art Fair this September, along with thousands of art fans.

“I will be showcasing the Jake Bugg limited edition prints and lots of new large paintings this year,” he says. “My dad will also be selling lots of new work too, which I always enjoy viewing.” His newfound patrons will be following in the footsteps of Bugg, who bought the artwork which sparked the partnership, Fields of Green 2, for his personal collection.


What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Three places in the north to see abstract art


Influenced at an early stage in her career by approaches to abstract art, Austrian artist Maria Lassnig (1919-2014) developed a singular body of work, making bold, brightly-coloured oil paintings. See some of them in the current exhibition on the docks. Until September 18 2016.

, Manchester
Celebrating the recent major gift by The Karpidas Foundation of 90 contemporary works of art to the Whitworth, the current New Acquisitions exhibition features abstract photography by Eileen Quinlan, Liz Deschenes and Josh Brand.

, Sheffield
Catch Bridget Riley: A Moment of Change before it closes on Saturday (June 25 2016).
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