Jacob started painting 30 years ago originally drawing portraits in London and Parisian cafes. He then moved onto painting, having given up his job of photojournalism for Time magazine and the French photo agency Gamma. In 1995 Jacob started a long term project of life on Welsh farms, painting sheep, dairy cows, geese and chickens.
Jacob paints with acute observation and if humanity can be regarded as another species of animal this would best explain the human expressions and movements encapsulated in his farm animals. There is an innocence about these paintings yet they are also humorous, lively, colourful, inquisitive and sometimes sad. He is equally fascinated by the sky and the challenge it presents of the ever-moving clouds. This is evident in his paintings where he cleverly manages to capture the subtle changes in colour, light and atmosphere of the persistently inclement weather.
In 2001 he went to live in Afghanistan and for three and a half years he spent his time making a portfolio of charcoal drawings depicting everyday life in war-torn Kabul as well as drawing portraits of some of the poorest Afghan people living in remote villages and towns across the country. Whilst in Afghanistan he was also a film maker for UN, BBC and APTN. On returning to the UK his Afghanistan portraits were published in a book for the British Museum Afghan Exhibition.
Between 2006 -2007 he was Official Artist to 10 Downing Street. In 2009 he was The Sunday Times Artist in Residence at the Oxford Literary Festival and for The Guardian at the Hay on Wye Literary Festival. Jacob continues to travel and draw portraits. Last year he spent five months in Lebanon drawing portraits around the country. He has undertaken Portrait Master Classes in Switzerland, Russia and the UK during the last three years. Hillary Clinton has one of his Afghan charcoal portraits.
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