Hi Jack, could you give us a bit of your background? When did you start making art, and how much of a link to skateboarding is there within that?
Hey Paul, I was born in London and now live just outside of London in Essex. I have always drawn since I can remember and I got into skateboarding when I was about 12 so skating came a lot later. Once I really got into skating it definitely had an huge influence on me and my work, I mean if I didn’t skate I would probably be a completely different person.
Your work reminds me of a particularly extreme Beano, what would you say your main influences are? Have you ever tried your hand at drawing / writing comics?
Rad! Yeah a few people have said to me that before. I used to get the Beano every week, I still have them and the Annual issues but I think they influenced me more back then than they do now, The Beano is great though! Im influenced by so much stuff, Growing up and playing the Ratchet and Clank games on Playstation was a huge influence, I still play them games now. I love board graphics, particularly boards from the 80’s like Jim Philips’s work with the Santa Cruz stuff, theres good graphics from every era of skateboarding though. The work of other artists and illustrators influences me aswell like Robert Crumb, when I first found his work I had never really seen that exaggerated, weirdo, comic style before so thats another huge influence. The narratives in his work are interesting aswell, he’s definitely one of my favourites. Yeah comics is definitely something I want to do more of, I mean I usually like to do a single piece and only have that to tell the story so it would be rad to have more than one panel and be able to really push the story or whatever it is I’m trying to communicate.
How often do you mix up your practice to include painting, sculpture or other art genres? I noticed there were a couple of different pieces like this on your blog.
I enjoy doing linework the most so I use pen and ink a lot, I like to colour with Pencils and Watercolours aswell. Sometimes I colour in on the computer too but I prefer more traditional methods. Its more rewarding for me to work on paper and also then have a physical, tangible piece at the end instead of just a digital file. I studied Graphic Design in college and experimented quite a lot with other mediums like I made a 3D clay animation which was really fun! I am working on a little animation with an animator at the moment too. I like screen printing aswell.
It seems to me as though your drawings are either really detailed, with a lot of different elements creeping in, for example Quick! You Idiot! or Canteen Scene, or focused on one particular idea, such as Mechanical Head on Two Legs or Head with arms and Legs. Is this a conscious decision?
Yeah some pieces are just of a single character that I might have come up with in the sketchbook and yeah some other pieces have more going on, I like to explore different Themes and situations with characters.
Overflowing Toilet Scum
Do you always draw with a view to colouring later or keep some specifically black and white?
I usually like to colour things in and really enjoy that part of the process but it depends on what it is I’m doing, so if I’m making work for a zine I will leave it black and white or add in shading with a pencil.
Could you give us a run down on how you come up with an idea for a new piece of work?
Yeah I draw every day and I use my sketchbook a lot and usually always take one out with me so most ideas come from just messing about and doodling in there. Ideas come from all sorts of places though and can hit you at any time. I feel I am never stuck for ideas and what I want to do but its just time, there is never enough time to do all of the things I want to do. Sometimes for a piece of work I will only have a particular character, scene or scenario in mind and I will build up the rest of the concept around that one thing instead of having the whole idea fully formed beforehand.
You’ve just finished another board for Death, a pro board for Benson, how’d this come about and how did you begin designing for Death? Love the modified Death logo!
Thanks man! Yeah I had worked with Zac Leeks before on stuff for Caught in the Crossfire and on the night of the Video Nasty premier he introduced me to Nick and he had seen my stuff online aswell and I met Nick again at Mile End one day and he asked if I wanted to work on a board. Im really stoked because I used to watch Escape from Boredom all the time on DVD and I think thats another influence too because I remember that video stood out from the other skate videos I had. I’m currently working on another board for Death too!
Benson's Death Board by Jack
What other companies either within skateboarding or out of it have you worked for?
Within skateboarding I have worked with Enjoi, Death, Kill City and Caught in the Crossfire and have done quite a few Tee shirts, Flyer’s and Album covers for band’s and small companies.
You’ve got an exhibition coming up at Parlour Skatestore opening on October the 20th, is it your first solo exhibition? How have you been preparing for it and what can people expect?
Yeah I’ve never had work in a show before so I’m stoked! I’ve been working on a load of new pieces for that and going to premier a video I’ve been filming for and theres going to be free beer too, I wanna thank Bryce at Parlour aswell for making the show happen!
Here's a couple of photos from the exhibition!
Here's Jack's Sludge Brain 6 edit released at the Parlour exhibition! Featuring Seb Tabe, Philippe Da Rosa, Jack Hamilton, Zach Riley, Adam Delarue, Zach Delarue, Cam Barr and more!