South east London-based artist and illustrator Jack Pearce’s work is easy recognisable thanks to his friendly cast of long-limbed skaters sleekly executed in clean black lines. “They are a tribe of fictional characters loosely based on myself,” Jack explains. “The antics they get up to are often ones I wish I could spend more time doing. In each series of characters lies a figure of authority, highlighted by how many extra details his hat has. Some of them don’t have a clue what’s going on, due to excess alcohol consumption.”
Jack first found his way into illustration through the skateboard graphics which fascinated him as a child. Skate culture continues to have an impact on his work to this day. “My style carries a native feel combined with elements of popular culture, including hats, beards, capes and skateboards,” he says. “The style of my work is inspired by skate culture and all that it entails, from having a beer with your pals, to its DIY mentality. Other big influences on my style are artists Ed Templeton and Chris Johanson.”
Jack describes his illustrative process as “pretty organic usually”, whether he’s making murals, skateboard illustrations or paintings for exhibitions, like his first solo show Bromance. “I’ll start with just the one character and build the others around him,” he explains. “The structured part is my obsession with making the characters sit symmetrically with one-another. It can be a slow process, going over and over the line waver to make it straight, but the end result is usually a satisfying one.”
As for his tools, Jack favours simplicity. “I like to keep things simple when drawing smaller illustrations, by using a Sharpie and fineliner. Mainly because I can make smaller works anywhere. For bigger Bromance style paintings, I’m pretty into using Indian ink and a paintbrush. If I had to choose though I’d go with the latter, as it’s more fun to create bigger characters.”
Next up is another solo exhibition. Following closely in the tracks of his skate-themed portfolio, Jack’s upcoming show is titled Ramp Tramps. “A ‘Ramp Tramp’ is a slang term, meaning an individual that spends too much time hanging around at a skatepark,” Jack says. “It’s not necessarily a negative term, but it can be seen as one. My first solo show Bromance at Atomica Gallery, consisted of a series of paintings, depicting the ‘Bromance’ tribe bro-ing out. The Ramp Tramps are a more advanced tribe now fashioning cape and skirt combinations, alongside the ability to give a good thumbs up.”
Ramp Tramps opens this Thursday 28 September, in conjunction with Sandqvist at its flagship store on Berwick Street, Soho.