Published: 16 August, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
THE artwork of Mick Jones, who has died aged 68, graces so many public spaces that his talents are admired on a daily basis by tens of thousands of people.
Mick, who lived in Swains Lane, Highgate, until two years ago, was the son of the legendary trade union leader and International Brigade veteran Jack Jones.
Born in 1944, Mick grew up in Coventry and moved with his family to Birmingham as a child.
He went to the Birmingham College of Art and Design at 16 to study 3-D design and gained a National Diploma. He moved on after three years to the Royal College of Art (RCA).
He was at the RCA from 1964-67, during which time he met and married his wife Eileen. They had one daughter, Hannah.
Mick, who had a studio above the former Labour Party Highgate ward committee rooms in Swains Lane, was a private person, dedicated to his art and politics.
While he trained early on as a student in industrial design, his talents and interests were such that they took him into many different spheres. He taught art, and created murals, sculpture, and political banners.
At one point in the 1960s he worked at BBC Television centre in Wood Lane, White City, designing and building sets for TV series. In the late 1960s, after leaving the BBC, he worked in Croydon for an industrial design company, helping produce consumer goods.
Mick was interested in art and design from all cultures, and in the early 1970s he travelled to India, Mexico and Canada. Mick also won bursaries from the British Council to study in Yugoslavia in 1967 and again in the early 1980s to look at the sculpture of Czechoslovakia.
Bringing art to the public – and the realism of socialist artwork of the 20th century – was always an inspiration.
Mick became known for creating community murals, from producing breathtaking trade union banners for such important workers’ organisations as The Durham Miners Gala and the National Union of Mineworkers.
In 1978, he organised the Camden Mural Project, in conjunction with the council. It employed and trained young people as painters to create art on housing estates and streets: his work still graces a wall in Tottenham Court Road, which he did with the Fitzrovia Community Association. The former Kentish Town Health Centre, in Bartholomew Road, was another building that enjoyed one of his pieces.
Mick moved to Camberwell to look after his father, who passed away last year.
Mick was suffering from cancer but still attended the annual International Brigade Memorial Trust’s annual service on the South Bank at the start of July, where he saw a plaque he had designed in memory of the volunteers – including his father – re-dedicated.
His funeral is today (Thursday) at 1.45pm at Honor Oak Crematorium, Brockley Way, London SE4, at 1.45pm.