RC Talks To Jeremyville
In our interview with Jeremyville we talk about early inspirations from skate cartoons to moving to New York City.
This week we caught up with the world renowned artist, Jeremyville. Having just collaborated with colette, Paris as well as designing the artwork for the adidas consortium tour earlier in the year, the New York based artist is known for his own, vibrant, unique cartoon art. You can check out jeremyville.myshopify.com for everything from tees, his RAW Newspaper, prints, stickers, skateboards, books, inflatables and much more.
How did you get into art? Was it something you were always passionate about as a child?
So my story, I grew up at Bondi Beach in Sydney Australia, in Wonderland Avenue Tamarama, which back then was a very working class and rough neighbourhood. It’s now really gentrified and full of glamorous homes and yuppies, but back then I was involved in street fights and just trying to survive as a weird kid into my own scene in my own head. I grew up on a diet of skate, surf, cartoons, underground comics, mainly R Crumb and American Splendor, the Young Ones on TV, Ren and Stimpy, Pavement, the Ramones, early Smiths, brands like early Stüssy, FUCT, vintage Carhartt, classic Adidas zip tracksuit tops, vintage t-shirts, lots of thrift store clothing that I’d customise with this old Singer sewing machine I found on the street.
It was a very DIY time for me, growing up. I was always creating in some form or the other, from building Airfix model aeroplanes, to dioramas for the imaginary worlds I created, Lego, drawing flip book animation, papier mache characters, DIY fashion. super 8 film. Cutting my own hair. Just anything to express myself. I saw no delineation between everything, it was just me being me. I didn’t know much about the art world or art history growing up.
Then I decided to get semi serious, and graduated from Architecture at Sydney University, and while there I edited the student newspaper ‘Honi Soit’. It’s there that I began drawing cartoons to fill in the gaps in the articles I had written for the paper. I then took my ‘Honi Soit’ issues to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s leading newspaper, and they offered me a freelance job drawing editorial illustrations, while I was still finishing my degree. I was around 19. So I had a career already started while I was at university, and when I graduated I simply increased my work and attention in the various fields of art, from commercial to fine art and street art, and film. I saw no delineation between all the forms of expression, as long as it was coming from a place of truth and discovery, and as long as I was being me. I opened my first studio when I was around 19 or 20, and have always just had that as my way to make a living. I’ve never had an office job or worked for the boss. Frankly I’d be terrible at it, I don’t have a great tolerance for authority.
When would you say you started to really get noticed and how it all came about to pursue a career as Jeremyville one of the worlds leading cartoon artists?
I won this national award in Australia when I was about 21, a poster design for the anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, and about 1,000 of Australia’s leading artists had entered. the prize was $10,000 and national press recognition, and that was a big deal for me at the time, as I put it all back into my newly set up studio, and publishing screenprints, art supplies, employing some staff etc. so at an early age I new I had to have a studio of sorts, with people working in it, to help make my art a reality.
Coming from Sydney, Australia what have been your inspirations in your art from everyday life out there to the art scene in the City?
Even though New York is my home now, I still have a studio at Bondi Beach in Sydney, and right out my door is the sands of Bondi and an awesome skate park right on Bondi Beach. There’s the surf, the intense color, the optimism of outdoor life, great street art, my mate Anthony Lister does a lot in Bondi. the street fashion, the waves, this all gets absorbed in to my work. I head back there each year when it gets too cold in the winter months here in Brooklyn.
We covered your consortium tour artwork you did for Adidas earlier in the year, how did all that come about and had you been in touch with them prior to the collaboration?
That was a rad project, 12 cities around the world that released limited edition kicks. I went to the SF store Nice Kicks for a release, and painted live there for them. The Adidas team are awesome to work with, especially Aline who flew in from Germany for the event. It’s always great dealing with the actual client, it gets so much more done quicker. I had done some earlier projects with Adidas, I had painted a few blank sneakers, but nothing like this project that involved poster design, animation, live art and flying to cities for special releases. I have to be a fan of the brand I work with, otherwise I definitely don’t take the project on. and we hear from a lot of brands about projects, we take on about 10% of the offers.
I’m first and foremost a sneaker head and fan of fashion and design, as I’ve lived with these brands growing up, so there’s a real connection based on my own history. It all comes full circle that I’m now working with brands like Adidas, as they helped define my style growing up.
I believe you have also just collaborated with colette in Paris, tell us more about that and what new products you have available from it?
Yeah, colette in Paris recently presented my exhibition and installation, featuring new screenprints, works on paper, sculptures, inflatables, exclusive brand collaborations, live art, interior design of the colette Water Bar, and a mural. These projects are now featured in this 160 page hard cover book ‘Jeremyville at colette’, published by Broadway & Eternity. With an interview with Sarah from colette, and essays on my work. I’ve always loved the colette concept and how they mix up art, fashion, street culture and design. They’ve been early supporters of artists like KAWS, Geoff McFetridge, Mike Mills, Jose Parla, and exhibit artists based on the personal taste of Sarah, the founder of colette. I was recently in Paris again, and Sarah heard that and asked me to create another mural for her infamous Garage Door, so that was great to do 2 of those. Others to do the garage door include Kenny Scharf, Steven Harrington, Mr Andre, Kevin Lyons.
“I grew up on a diet of skate, surf, cartoons, and underground comics.”
You are clearly a busy a guy with the sheer volumes of art, publications, prints, toys, t-shirts, accessories and even skate boards available on the Jeremyville site, which ones are you the most happy with?
They all add up to create a total Jeremyville experience. Artefacts gathered from the streets on a trip to Jeremyville. When I found that old sewing machine on the street in Bondi, it altered my world slightly, and I hope some of our objects bring a slight change in perception and intrigue, into other people’s worlds.
You have done some pretty sick murals all over the world, are there any you have done outside for the public that are still visible our readers should know about?
Yeah the colette one in Paris is still up, go check it out, Rue Juillet on the corner of Rue St Honoré. I also have a giant one at Rubber Tracks in Williamsburg Brooklyn, which is a Converse run recording studio. I also have some giant public sculptures currently out in the streets in Bangkok, Shanghai and Chengdu in China. Also my free street newspaper Jeremyville RAW on the streets of New York.
What artists inspired you to take up a career in art and what has been your proudest achievement to date?
Warhol, because he worked in so many genres of art, and became a cultural phenomenon. Art when created a certain way, can do that. I definitely never aspired to just be a fine art gallery artist. I couldn’t think of anything more boring that just showing your work on gallery walls all your life.
In terms of achievement, I think it’s the freedom that I have to create what I want, and to do the projects I think of in my sketchbook late at night. That’s my greatest achievement I think. creating my own freedom, and the engine of Studio Jeremyville to make the ideas a reality. Neil, Megan and I are the team from Studio Jeremyville that make things happen.
Aside from art, where other interests do you have? Do you have a favourite type of music etc?
Outdoor stuff, I grew up at the beach so I have to get back to the outdoors every day. Running, cycling, even just drawing outdoors is better than sitting at a desk. I don’t actually like the concept of an office or studio desk, I’d rather prefer being fluid and taking my studio in my backpack. I recently traveled by train from Paris to Barcelona, and all I took with me was a backpack and sketchpad and pens. It was superb, just traveling and drawing all day. It’s for my new project #AQuestUnlimited which you can see on Instagram.
Music: everything! as long as it’s real and true. I go for the less produced and raw. More substance over style. I saw Evan Dando play live in an inmate setting of 30 people the other night in NYC, just him and his guitar. So flawed, so gritty, distorted feedback, substance enhanced, wrong notes, forgetting lyrics, and absolutely, totally spot on. Great night. I also saw Springsteen 3 rows from the front in New Jersey with 60,000 other people. That was equally as true and real, as he’s been on his own righteous journey his whole life since age 15. He’s a real artist. So is Evan Dando. 2 completely different levels of end result, but still as equally creative to me.
That’s all I look for in the art and music I dig: Truth. If it’s coming from a genuine place of struggle and questioning to produce something akin to a resolution, and expressed beautifully or messed up, then I respect and love that. If it’s not polished, that’s fine as long as it’s real. I’d rather messy and flawed but real, than polished and soulless. There’s a lot of polish and lack of soul in our world. It’s all style over substance. I go for the opposite of that.
What else does Jeremyville have up his sleeve for the remainder of 2016?
More painting, publishing, animation, drawing, travel, and to only take on projects that challenge our studio, excite us, and grow us as people. To keep connected with my audience and to invite them on my journey of personal growth and discovery through art. I love the adventure that I’m on. It could all end tomorrow, but that’s the energy I love to exist in, and once it gets too easy and formulaic, it’s all over. I need to stay challenged to keep evolving.