Featured Artist: Jefferton James

FK talks to Jefferton James, a Sydney based illustrator who was one of our Art Competition finalists

How would you describe your style and how has this evolved over time?
Thats a tough one, but I suppose its a cross between pop art and surrealism but the kind your Nanna would like (Nanna and Pop Art)! I think my target market is for that kind of person who thinks collecting spoons is still cool. I think its evolved over the last year as I have become more confident with photo montaging. In the beginning it was purely hand drawn; if I couldn’t do it by hand then I wouldn’t even attempt it.

How long have you been creating art and what is your background?
I was drawing before I could talk, if you count drawing charlie brown over and over again as drawing! I only started ‘knuckling down’ about three and a half years ago. Before that I was a big film nerd, which helps in my art as I try to tell a little story in each picture.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Pretty much entirely in the past, namely old photos and posters and children’s books. I used to have this weird thing where I couldn’t even contemplate an idea without going for a lunch time stroll and listening to “Road to Nowhere” by The Talking Heads. I don’t do that so much anymore!

What are your favourite types of artwork to create and what materials do you favour the most?
I would say a gig poster is my favourite thing to create as most of the time its a free license to go and be as experimental as you like. I’m lucky that most of the bands I work with are more than happy to let me loose on something. My main tools are free Ikea pencils, my 0.2 pen and my two dollar sketch pads. I also use Photoshop for colouring and lighting the images.

Where do you create and what are your surroundings like?
Oddly I seem to work best on public transport but that’s a little unsteady sometimes, so I come home and polish it up in my messy room or I borrow my very kind housemates snazzy computer.

How has the journey been in setting yourself up as a professional artist and what is the biggest thing you have learnt?
Its been a rather nice journey starting out, I was helped a lot by word of mouth within the inner west music scene. I also got a small business grant and they helped train me to figure out all that tricky business stuff. I would say the biggest thing I have learnt is how to manage my time. I wish I could learn how to manage my money though!

What are you working on at the moment and what are you looking forward to in 2010?
I’m working on a few things at the moment. A rather epic cd cover that has a navy and an airforce made out of musical instruments that are traveling on a powdered wig. A few video clip concepts for Sydney band ‘Boy and Bear’ and one for singer/songwriter Jack Carty. I’m also working on some t-shirt and bag designs.

What does being a finalist of our Finders Keepers Art Competition mean for you?
What I do is fairly solitary work and being a finalist for Finders Keepers actually makes me feel apart
of the art community. It’s also like having your work put upon the best fridge you can imagine.


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