• Jw-lead

    Jay Wright: Anorak Magazine (detail)

Illustration

Introducing: Fantastically fun illustration from new Berliner Jay Wright

Posted by James Cartwright,

Jay Wright is an adventuring illustrator, a travelling image-maker who’s prepared to embrace the open road in search of the perfect creative environment. While studying he spent time in Austria and Germany on both artists’ residencies and on exchange programmes, but following graduation grounded himself in Bristol to slavishly pursue his freelance illustration dreams, gaingin work from a phenomenal number of editorial clients. But he’s recently upped-sticks and left for Berlin, trading the West Country for the old East in a move designed to give his career, and his bank balance, a kick up the backside.

Jay’s work is frivolous and fun, an exciting collection of joyful (if slightly shifty-looking) characters, engaged in all manner of strange activities. But it’s not all fun and games, Jay’s more than capable of turning his hand to serious editorial work when the brief demands it. Here’s what he has to say for himself…

  • Jw-8

    Jay Wright’s Studio

  • Jw-4

    Jay Wright’s Studio

Where do you work?

Well, for the past two years since graduating I have had a studio above a central heating shop in Bristol. Unfortunately it came to an end last week as I moved to Berlin. I moved here with two friends of mine, and we decided to save money and work from home.

Ask anyone living here and they’ll tell you how difficult it is finding a place to live and work in Berlin. After just a short two days we ended up finding a flat with a huge living room that is perfect for a studio. It’s unfurnished so I don’t even have a real desk yet. I feel so lucky to be back here actually working freelance, as I studied for one semester at the Üniversität Der Kunste Berlin three years ago.

This year I also spent two months working in an amazing studio on the top floor of a refurbished 16th Century salt storage building. It was a studio I was given while doing an artist residency in Linz, Austria. It was cool to be out of my usual space but have the facilities and comfort to make some larger sculptural work.

How does your working day start?

My day always starts later than I intend, which is something I’m working on now I’m here. But I usually burn to the studio on my bike and stop by the bakery and get three pastries. They do a sweet three-for-two-pounds deal! I try not to drink too much tea in the morning as it makes me pee abnormal amounts. I hate the fact that I’m allergic to coffee because it smells so nice and it’s a huge part of most people’s mornings.

I get into the studio around 10am. Most days I actually just sit, eat, check my emails and go on the internet. In a strange way, sitting on the internet and eating is a morning treat. After that, and if I manage to resist the mounting number of procrastination opportunities (the biggest being food) I get some work done.

How do you work and how has that changed?

I think when I graduated I thought and worked like an illustrator who enjoyed narrative. But I have been slowly feeling strange calling myself an illustrator. Like a lot of other illustrators working now, they don’t just do editorials and illustrate children’s books. So many people like myself are painting, working with wood and other 3D materials, tackling design, sculpture and even fashion. I’m not sure if it even matters but there seems to be a gap in the creative job titles list for artists that approach things from an illustration perspective.

Like a lot of people I get bored doing the same thing. It’s great to be able to make work for different contexts, out of different materials and approaches. I was a carpenter for three years with my dad before going to art school, so I want to make tons more 3D work out of wood. Why just make drawings when there are loads of other exciting mediums to display your ideas?

  • Jw-10

    Jay Wright: Work in progress

  • Jw-11

    Jay Wright: Work in progress

  • Jw-12

    Jay Wright: Work in progress

Where would we find you when you’re not at work?

Going for a skate with my homie Jamie Jones or playing ping-pong. I have been working really hard for the past two years but also travelling quite a lot. Last summer I went to NY, Canada and also went on an amazing cycling trip from Bristol to Berlin with five friends. I love working in my studio but it’s so important to your practice to get the hell out every once in a while.

Although I have a pretty good work ethic when I’m not there I get paranoid I’m not working hard enough. I’m obsessed with the idea that I’m on a sort of creative treadmill and if I step off it’s just left spinning there all on its own. Unlike most of the illustrators I know, I don’t have an iPhone. It’s cool not being connected to my emails 24 hours a day. But after recently missing a few jobs including two New York Times editorials, it might be a good idea join the iPhone crew.

Would you intern for yourself?

Probably yes. If I interned for myself I would buy me a ton of tasty snacks and drinks. Plus you could just chill out, do some drawing, play ping-pong or go skating. I don’t know, I suppose interns help with some of the boring jobs. But I don’t really have any, apart from waiting for the scanner.

  • Jw-1

    Jay Wright: Editorial illustration

  • Jw-3

    Jay Wright: Editorial illustration

  • Jw-5

    Jay Wright: Editorial illustration

  • Jw-6

    Jay Wright: Editorial illustration

  • Jw-7

    Jay Wright: Editorial illustration

  • Jw-9

    Jay Wright: Editorial illustration

  • Jw-2

    Jay Wright: Anorak Magazine

Jc

Posted by James Cartwright

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. Stationary

    Hotel branding can so often be a dowdy affair, as if the design nods to the temporary nature of the building’s inhabitants – something to move on from, rather than to dwell on. So it’s wonderful to see a brave, opulent new identity for the Connaught in London’s Mayfair, designed by The Partners around a stunning new artwork by Kristjana S Williams which now hangs in the hotel.

  2. List

    June 2013: We introduce you to illustrator and recent Berlin resident Jay Wright. We love his work, you enjoy it massively too, and thereafter he takes on a whole heap of freelance work. Fast forward 16 months and Jay’s new portfolio website shows he’s been one heck of a busy guy, not only commercially but personally too. Alongside magazine covers for The Loop and Das Magazine there’s a glut of witty spot illustrations, brand new zines and some lovely personal work that explores the theme of superstition. It’s definitely worth having a proper rummage around on his site, and when you do be sure to have a look at the ladder. You won’t regret it.

  3. List

    Michael Parkin’s portfolio is a wonderful mix of commissioned work interspersed with personal projects, which is exactly what you want when looking through a creative’s website. His style is simple but well observed and whether he’s creating a poster for Little White Lies or a series of prints relating to a trip to Denmark, Michael’s work is wonderful at telling a story.

  4. List

    I love that moment when big brands start to recognise the immense talents of illustrators who had previously been making work primarily for themselves, and duly commission them to do exactly what they do best. Linda Linko is a prime example; since being signed to Agent Pekka the Finnish illustrator has been gathering speed as well as commissions, creating her characteristically bold artwork for a number of huge posters and magazine covers.

  5. List

    Lawrence Zeegen has never been one to mince his words. The illustrator, writer and dean of design at London College of Communication has recently launched his new book Fifty Years Of Illustration which he co-wrote with Grafik editor Caroline Roberts. It’s an impressively ambitious undertaking with the duo condensing five decades into 1,000 images by 240 illustrators from 30 countries. Lawrence admits it’s a “pretty personal selection” but one that aims to “represent the movers and shakers across each decade according to the work I believe was instrumental in shaping the discipline.”

  6. List

    Growing up in a family of doctors, Swedish illustrator and paper-cut artist Petra Börner secured her first commission (illustrating medical journals) through her surgeon mother, which might go some way to explaining why her work is so reminiscent of botanical diagrams in biology textbooks. Petra’s principle subject is the flora and fauna of the natural world, which she creates using paper cut techniques so intricate and painstakingly-detailed that they scarcely look like they could be real.

  7. List

    Alright, we admit it – Peter Judson has made a lot of work we’ve been really into this year, and he’s had the props on the site to prove it. But why should we be made to contain ourselves when he keeps producing illustration of this calibre? Why, we ask you?

  8. List

    If, like me, you spent many an hour in your teenage years gazing absentmindedly at Larry Carlson’s experimental website Medijate, you’ll no doubt be similarly transfixed by The Landfill from the very talented Santtu Mustonen. Stitching together a “collection of unused sketches, leftover drawings and rejected ideas from forgotten projects” to a mesmerising soundtrack by Tuomas Alatalo, Santtu created a hypnotic animation that’s a work of art in its own right.

  9. List

    As the man who gave form to the twisted genius of Hunter S. Thompson, British illustrator’s Ralph Steadman’s latest project seems like a perfect fit. Ralph has worked with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan to illustrate some limited-edition Blu-Ray covers for a special boxset of the series due out early next year.

  10. List

    Having just re-read Sammy Harkham’s 2012 anthology of short stories Everything Together I was stupidly excited to find out he’s just got himself on Tumblr and uploaded a small but growing archive of work both old and new. Included in among old covers of Kramers Ergot, book jackets for Kafka anthologies, Bonnie Prince Billy album covers and bits and pieces of rejected work are original drawings from his ongoing graphic novel (and surely future masterpiece) Blood of the Virgin, which he’s also selling to fund further work on the project. I for one cannot wait to see this project massive volume finally realised. Keep at it Sammy!

  11. List

    This top image by New York-based illustrator Karan Singh caught my eye on purely aesthetic grounds; it was only when I delved a little deeper that I discovered the interesting story behind the work. Karan was one of several artists commissioned by Ogilvy New York to work on the IBM US Open Sessions, whereby LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy created a series of tracks based on data gathered at the tennis tournament.

  12. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  13. List

    If you’re feeling a bit bleary eyed this morning, grab a cup of coffee and take a look at Goncalo Viana’s beautiful illustrations to wake yourself up. Rich with colour and charming detail his work has a wonderful texture to it, as though you could reach out and actually feel the deep pigments he’s used.