Meet East Anglia’s rising art star

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 August 2020

Suffolk artist Jelly Green. Picture: Nick Ilott

Suffolk artist Jelly Green. Picture: Nick Ilott


Contemporary painter Jelly Green shares her East Anglian Heaven and Hell with Gina Long.

Much of Jelly's work is inspired by nature. Picture: Nick IlottMuch of Jelly's work is inspired by nature. Picture: Nick Ilott

Jelly Green is a British contemporary painter. She has been mentored by Maggi Hambling CBE, since she was 16 years old. Her paintings – whether it’s the Brazilian rainforest where she lived for several months, or the bucolic English garden of her childhood – explore the passion and wonder of the natural world. For the last five years, her work has been focused on raising awareness of the deforestation that is occurring through the Earth, primarily in tropical rainforests.

What’s the impact of Covid-19 and how are you adapting?

When lockdown was first announced in March I was unable to go into my studio for two months, I didn’t use my oil paints for this whole time which I think will be the longest I have ever not painted for. I also suffer from fairly bad asthma so felt pretty useless not being able to volunteer or help out in any way during such a horrible time. I spent a lot of time walking with my sketchbook, going down new footpaths near 
my house.

What advice can you give to our readers?

Now’s a really good time to explore your surroundings and appreciate the natural world around you.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

My mum is from Suffolk and I was born in Ipswich and spent the majority of my childhood growing up here.

What is your East Anglian Heaven?

Too much to mention. I love the pace of it. The big skies. Swimming in the sea (especially first thing in the morning or the evening). Cycling home at night when the stars are out. Going into the pub and someone’s playing the accordion or a violin. Aspalls Cyder. The yellow fields in the spring.

What is your East Anglian Hell?

It’s really far away from the National Gallery and there aren’t any hills to climb.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

The Orwell Bridge. You’re always on your way somewhere exciting when going over it or it’s the first sign of being nearly home.

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Folk East Festival. It’s by far the funniest/maddest weekend in Suffolk. Always such a fantastic line-up, music that you can’t not dance to, £3 for a pint and just filled with the loveliest people being merry. I’ve been every year and am so gutted it had to be cancelled this month.

What your specialist Mastermind subject?

Movie trivia. We didn’t have a TV licence growing up, so we used to get a lot of DVDs/VHS tapes from charity shops and watched a lot of films.

What is always in your fridge?


What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Be kind.

What’s your favourite film?

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

What was your first job?

Working on the tea stall at Easton Farm Park when I was 11.

What is your most treasured possession?

Sketchbooks from my travels.

Who do you admire most?

There are so many people I admire, but Maggi Hambling CBE has to be pretty up there.

What is your biggest indulgence?

Sea salt chocolate.

What do you like about yourself most?

I’m loyal.

What’s your worst character trait?

My car is very messy. And I 
can’t cook.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Nepal has to be one of them. I love going on long treks, anywhere with adventure and not too busy is perfect for me. I went there for the first time when I was 18 and it’s still one of the most magical places I have ever been to.

Best day of your life?

There are so many! Finishing long treks are always pretty amazing. I saw an orangutan in the wild a couple of years ago, that was a special day. Last year I also had my first solo show in London, the exhibition was raising money for a charity in Brazil who are protecting the Atlantic Rainforest and finding out that the money raised was used to buy 62 acres of Virgin rainforest to prevent it being logged was a very good day.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

I love breakfast! Best meal of the day, all breakfast is good breakfast as long as there’s lots of it. Toast with beans and spinach. Porridge with lots of toppings. Lots of black coffee.

What’s your favourite tipple?

Whisky or cider. Favourite fancy drink would be a Caipirinha.

What’s your hidden talent?

I’m pretty good at handstands.

What’s your earliest memory?

Getting stung by jellyfish 
in Tonga.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

My real name is Angelica.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

Ooo, I can’t remember.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?

I lived in London and Brighton for a few years and the city just wasn’t for me, I think mainly I spend most of my time either walking or painting in nature so it just makes sense to be here. I also absolutely love my studio in Suffolk. It’s at a place called Old Jet on Bentwaters airbase and its filled with the most wonderful creative lovely people, it’s a very nice place to spend each day.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

In this time of humanitarian crisis, it is easy to forget about the devastation we are wreaking on the natural world. This year alone over 13 million hectares of the world’s forests have been either cut or burnt down. We all need to take responsibility for what we’re doing to this planet.

Jelly currently has work available at: Snape Maltings Gallery and The Rowley Gallery, Kensington, London. For for more information do visit:

If you would like to be considered to be featured please email or follow Gina @geewizzgee1

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