In a national lockdown, you can either climb the walls or you can paint them. Jesse Grylls—the 18-year-old artist whose first exhibition makes a brief but punchy cameo at London’s Battersea Power Station this month—decided to get out the brushes. (And the spray paint, and the acrylics, and the sackcloth, and the oils.)

Over a fervid two years, the young painter—holed up at home, unable to go to school—worked on hundreds, possibly thousands, of canvases, daubing them with endlessly repeating letters and shapes, and mad flecks of automatic writing, and half-remembered poems. (Eton, his recent alma mater, had to ship him batches of supplies just to keep things moving.) “I was by myself, every day, painting hundreds of pictures,” Jesse says. “And I kind of gained confidence to be able to paint whatever I wanted.”