Jeremyville interview for Acclaim magazine.
Before becoming one of the most recognized Australian artists, the man behind Jeremyville spent a wonderful childhood growing up in Wonderland Avenue, near Bondi in Sydney. The beach boy used to spend a lot of time playing with Lego, Smurfs, sea monkeys, toy soldiers, and reading heaps of Tin Tin, Richard Scary, and Mr Men books. This led him naturally to think that making a career out of drawing stuff would be a pretty fun option. So, a couple of sketch-books later, he studied architecture at Sydney Uni, began drawing at the Sydney Morning Herald, and simply became one of today’s freshest illustrators. Well, who said life wasn’t easy?
WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND YOUR NAME JEREMYVILLE?
Jeremyville is a project-based concept; it’s a place where projects and collaborations happen. Like Vinyl Will Kill, the first book in the world on designer toys, that I wrote, or a sketchel bag for Beck, or a collab’ comic with Geoff McFetridge, or a shoe design for Converse. It can be anything interesting and exciting to me, I don’t limit myself to just one medium, like just apparel. I feel comfortable doing lots of things, sometimes at once! I also like trying new things, new mediums, this keeps me excited. For example right now I’m doing some animation with a company in Argentina, a snowboard design for Rossignol in Utah, a toy with Super Rad toys in LA, preparing for a solo art show in Paris, an animation for a UK company, a group art show in Rome, t-shirt designs for Graniph in Japan, a comic book for a French publishing company. I like mixing it up.
WHAT ABOUT THIS WORK YOU HAD AS A CARTOONIST FOR THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD?
It was a great learning experience, as I had to come up with ideas for the paper on a daily basis, and quickly. You have no time to wait for the angel of inspiration to come down and gently whisper into your ear. You have to grab the angel by the neck and squeeze an idea out. I like working fast, and thinking fast. I don’t like to over-think a project, usually my first instinct for a solution is the best.
YOU DEVELOP YOUR WORK ON VARIOUS MEDIUMS FROM FINE ART, TO PUBLISHING, TO APPAREL, ETC. WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND YOUR APPROACH TO A NEW PROJECT?
Each medium is different, and requires a new set of principles to work with. But I keep a general aesthetic running through my work, this makes everything I do very recognizable as Jeremyville, from a t-shirt, to a book, to an animation. Whatever you do, you need to do it very well, as if that is all you do. Because there are people out there who only do one thing, so I never just dabble in something, I try and become expert at it, to do it the best I can, and add something to the medium.
HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO BLEND YOUR ARTISTIC INTEGRITY WITH COMMERCIAL SUCCESS?
I’m a very harsh critic of my work, so only when I feel something is really good, does it leave my studio. Also, for commercial work I generally choose images I have already drawn for personal reasons in my sketchbook, so there is an authenticity to my commercial work also, I’m not like a gun for hire. Clients come to me for what I do, and I generally choose something appropriate for them. Like for Rossignol snowboards, they just asked me to draw whatever I thought would work, and to just write Rossignol on there somewhere, it was a very open brief. Clients seem to trust me, and let me do my own thing.
DO YOU RECKON THAT THE RECOGNITION OVERSEAS OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU OR NATHAN JUREVICIUS IS OPENING SOME DOORS FOR A NEXT GENERATION OF AUSSIES ARTISTS?
I hope it is helping open some doors for Aussies, I don’t generally push the obvious Australian angle in my work, simply because I’m influenced by lots of things globally, and I’m probably mentally more at my studio in New York than my Sydney studio. Also, my work is more from a place called Jeremyville than any other city on earth. The colours of Australia I’m sure have influenced my work, and I grew up in a beach side suburb in Sydney, and that has to have had an influence, but I can’t isolate it, or put it into words, It’s just a part of me.