Born in Banbury in Oxfordshire, England in 1957. Educated at Victoria College, Jersey. Art Foundation at Bristol College of Art. Fine Art Degree at Coventry College of Art. Post Graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings at Gateshead Technical College.

selected solo exhibitions

2019 Last Stop Morocco. Exhibition of work inspired by travels in Morocco at The Pitt Stream Gallery, Jersey.
2016 Drift. A series of paintings on driftwood panels. Drawn on location in the Jersey landscape using intuitive drawing technique and painted in the studio in oil or acrylic. La Caumine à Marie Best, St Ouen’s Bay, Jersey. A booklet titled drift – Jersey through the eyes of Ian Rolls was produced to coincide with this exhibition, which features all the paintings.

2012 Trust. Watercolours on torn paper and oil paintings on driftwood of National Trust for Jersey properties, exhibited in the elegant surroundings of the newly restored Georgian townhouse 16 New Street, St Helier, Jersey.

2010 Coast. Sequential watercolours charting the coastline of Jersey, painted on location between August 2009 and June 2010. In association with The National Trust for Jersey and in support of their Coastline Campaign. La Caumine a Marie Best, St Ouen’s Bay, Jersey. Images were projected onto the building after dark.

2009 wrong hand, right feeling. Recent paintings of south west England. Birdwood House Gallery, Totnes, Devon. Also shown at The Cider Press Centre, Dartington.

2008 Outside Looking In. Recent paintings reflecting artist’s move from Jersey to Devon, U.K. The Gallery, Framing Workshop, Jersey.

2006 A Year in Sri Lanka. Recent watercolours painted in Sri Lanka. Galle Fort Gallery, Sri Lanka and Jersey Arts Centre.

2004 Sixty White Churches. Recent watercolours from travels in the Greek Islands. Framing Workshop, Jersey.

2004 West. Recent work focused on Jersey’s western outreaches. La Caumine a Marie Best, St Ouen’s Bay. (in collaboration with the National Trust for Jersey)

2003 Full circle (from above). Thick impasto oil paintings of Jersey coast from the air. Jersey Arts Centre.

2002 Auf Abenteuer mit Aquarellfarben (Adventures with Watercolour). German landscape, still-life & Indian themes. Graphic Kabinett, Blaubeuren, Germany.

2002 small spaces between thoughts. Indian themed series exploring the influence of meditation on recent work. Gallerie 88, Calcutta, India.

2000 Return to India. Recent work done in or inspired by India. Jersey Arts Centre.

1996 Trust Properties. Watercolours featured in the 1997 National Trust for Jersey Calendar. Barracks, Greve de Lecq, Jersey.

1995 Local Colour. Recent work, part of Jersey’s first International Arts Festival. Jersey Arts Centre.

selected group exhibitions, projects & events

2020 Ian Rolls – creation of a painting. A short film (below) commissioned by ArtHouseJersey which documents the creative process as Ian paints a watercolour on the coastline at Corbière in Jersey. The music for the film is provided by Ian’s son Tom Rolls and the film is made by Little River Pictures.

2020 Jersey’s climate warming stripes. Ian paints a large mural 20 metres long by 2.7 metres high depicting 126 coloured stripes which relate to air temperatures in Jersey from 1894 until 2019. The stripes were developed by UK climate scientist Ed Hawkins. Sponsored by The Government of Jersey.

2019 Skipton Mural project. Ian worked with the children at St Peter’s Primary School, Jersey to design large letters spelling “THE WILD” which were covered with hundreds of plastic wild animals to create a sign for the schools’ wild area. Project coordinated by ArtHouse Jersey.
2018 The Pitt Stream Gallery. Ian opens a gallery in St Helier to showcase his work and the ceramics of Ruth Baier-Rolls. Click on the image below to see a short film about the setting up of the gallery.
2017 Last Stop India. Second in the “Last Stop” series of travel celebrations by Rolls & son. Watercolours by Ian & film by Tom document a trip to north India. Liberty Wharf, Jersey. (View Tom’s film below).

2017 Made with Love. Ian co-curated this exhibition to coincide with Jersey’s first Refugee Week at the Jersey Arts Centre. Ian & two other artists travelled to a refugee camp in northern Greece to lead creative workshops with the residents. The resultant work was exhibited alongside work done by local artists and residents from Jersey.

2016 Jersey’s new Household Recycling Centre project. Ian designed and made a number of unusual creative features at the Recycling Centre, which were fixed onsite with the help of Jonny Swift. A variety of repurposed objects were used including children’s toys, mobile phones, used paint brushes, coloured bottle tops, old tyres and lots of recycled timber. The time-lapse film (below) records the fixing of large object-clad letters.

Play Video
2015 Jersey Dazzle Ship Project. Ian designed an original Dazzle Design for the 1950’s ex-US Army tugboat Elektra. Ian led a team of artists to repaint the tugboat in the new eye-catching design which was inspired by the Dazzle Ships of the First World War. The project was supported by the WW1 Centenary Fund administered by the Jersey Arts Trust.
2015 Creative workshops in Cyprus. Ian led a series of workshops at primary and secondary school on British Military bases in Cyprus. 2014 last stop CUBA. Watercolours by Ian Rolls & photographs by Tom Rolls from a trip to Cuba in August 2014. Exhibition at Liberty Wharf, St Helier, Jersey with vintage lighting from The Foundry (see short film below).

2014 Cultural exchange with French artists.  A week long collaborative project involving 6 Jersey artists and 4 artists based in St Malo organised by the Jersey Arts Trust. Hamptonne, Jersey.

2014 “12”.  A series of  art in the environment projects spanning the entire year, one for each month and one in each Jersey Parish. A collaboration with fellow artist Kerry-Jane Warner. All were photographically documented by the Jersey Evening Post.

2013 The Lock-in. A week long international artist’s residency at Elizabeth Castle, Jersey. Organised by the Jersey Arts Trust and facilitated by Sue Hill of “Wildworks”.

2010 Red Dot present Hamptonne. 19 contemporary artists together with musicians and poets stage a showcase event in a wonderful setting. Ian’s collection of work was titled Precious Rubbish, which included constructions made from found beach plastic and bottle tops, a series of oil paintings on burnt wood panels and decorated doors

2009 Red Dot. Formation of artist collective together with Jason Butler, Nick Romeril, Theresa Robinson, Karen Le Roy Harris and Rod Bryans. Red Dot Sale. Inaugural event at the Grand Hotel.

2009 Ian and his family return to live in Jersey.

2008 Devon Open Studios. Part of county wide initiative to open up artists working environments to the public. Recent together with retrospective work, archive material and sketch books on display.

2007 Ian and his family move to Devon, in the south west of England, keeping a studio base in Jersey.

2005/2006 Ian and his family spend a year living in Sri Lanka. Apart from exhibiting his own paintings, Ian organises various community art classes and events, and stages a selling exhibition of Sri Lankan work at the Arts Centre in Jersey to raise funds for various projects in Sri Lanka.

2004 Flag of Flags. Community land art project. Giant image (53×44 mtr.) of tower & flag logo for the 1204-2004 Jersey Revels composed of 3208 small flags set in a sloping field overlooking Gorey Harbour in Jersey. Concieved and organized by Ian Rolls, undertaken with the help of volunteers.

2003, 2004, 2008, 2012 & 2016 Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours. Work selected for annual exhibition. Mall Galleries, London.

2001 Watercolour Challenge. Appeared on Channel 4 television series.

2001 Exhibition of Watercolour Challenge paintings. Mall Gallery, London.

2001 Full Circle. Coastal paintings by Ian Rolls & jewellery by German designer Sibylle Hell. Garrik Gallery, Jersey.

1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2003 Singer & Friedlander / Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Work selected for exhibition at the Mall Gallery, London; travelled to Manchester, Leeds & Birmingham.

2000 Mix. Recent work by 8 contemporary artists living in Jersey, curated by Ian Rolls. Jersey Arts Centre.

selected commissions

2012 Electrotrash Robot. Giant robot made from waste electricals. Commissioned by States of Jersey department responsible for recycling. Toured to different locations in Jersey (image left).

2009 Kensington Gate car park. Design of decorative stainless steel window grills. Percent for Art project commissioned by Regal Construction, Jersey.

2000 Jersey Mobile Library. States Library commissioned designs to feature on the new vehicle.

2000 Jersey 2000. Illustration of poem by Jeremy Reed to celebrate the new millennium. Commission and funding for limited edition of prints by Jersey Arts Trust.

1998 Martello Towers. Four paintings of towers featured on Jersey Telecoms phone cards.

1994 Central Market. Watercolour commissioned by the Jersey Arts Trust to feature on the cover of the Jersey Telecoms telephone directory.

1993 Opera House. Watercolour chosen by Jersey Philatelic Bureau to feature on 23p stamp in Europa ’93 Contemporary Art Stamp Issue.

selected commissions

2012 Galle Fort Diary. Diary features illustrations by Ian Rolls of Galle Fort in Sri Lanka

2004 March edition of Artists & Illustrators Magazine. Article titled ‘Create expression and energy with impasto techniques’.

2003 September edition of Artists & Illustrators Magazine.Article titled ‘Portraits of an Island’ profiles the work of Ian Rolls.


2017 Art element of the Household Reuse & Recycling Centre, La Collette, Jersey. Highly Commended at the 2017 Jersey Architectral Commission Awards.

1992 Still life with blue bottle. First Prize J.J. Fox International, Channel Islands Painting Competition

1990 Geraniums. Second Prize J.J. Fox International, Channel Islands Painting Competition.