is just a random selection of interviews, there are more I'll post later,
and more to be found in my book Jeremyville
Infront interviewed me (July 2005) , Interview by Damien Aistrope,
for the interview page. Thanks very much to Justin Fox
and Damien from AiF.
6 page article on Jeremyville in UK based Clutter
Magazine. Buy the magazine at
the online store now! ...Nathan Jurevicius is on the cover, with interviews
also with Frank Kozik, Seen from NYC, D*Face, and Nichole the Toy Baroness
from Kidrobot. (infamous for her work on the Kidrobot newsboards)
UK Student Matt Campbell sent in a great pdf doc of some questions, here
are my answers.
November 26th, 2005.
first of all i just want to say im loving your stuff jeremy,your website
is top of the game mate! i have been reading through your interview section
and there is sum really informative stuff there, looks like you get a
lot of people asking you questions! oh what it is to be popular ay! any
way my name is matt and im another student based in the uk who is
in fascinated by your work, and i was just wondering if you would spare
me 5 minutes just to answer sum questions i have put together in the PDF
attached. Nothing to boring i promise i have tried to keep out the usual
questions you usually get,like "How did it all begin?" and put
a few in there that might make you think! So if you could answer one or
two of these for me, it would be appreciated so much. Thank you for taking
the time out to read this . i really appreciate it.
You seem to have your
fingers in quite a few pies Jeremy! What do you see your self as, a designer?
a cartoonist? an illustrator? or fashion designer! or even all four!
Yes it is difficult to answer people at a party when they ask 'what do
you do?' as it all depends on what project I was working on that day.
My work output and creative interests are very varied, but there is a
general thread to it all. Even those 4 titles you mentioned don't, for
example, cover the work I did to produce the book Vinyl Will Kill, it
was much more than a designer, it was the producer of it. Now I'm confused...
I guess I should have a better answer for you! ...I drew
28 cartoons today, so today I'm a cartoonist.
I see the designer toy phenomenon has infiltrated
down under as well! How did you get into designer toys?
I actually made my first toy which was an inflatable PVC figure in silver,
called a Space Puppy, in about 1996, and that sold very well. Then I started
noticing James Jarvis' great Martin figure for Silas around 1997, and
his 'Tattoo Me Keith' shortly after that, which really was revolutionary
for me, and I really got what they were doing, as I had been doing
the Space Puppy as a part of my label, but stores down in Oz didn't see
how a 3D mascot could work with a streetwear brand! It
really was difficult trying to convince buyers to also order an inflatable
figure alongside a line of apparel and accessories. But some eventually
came around. I remember most buyers were just baffled by it.
Then later ofcourse I really noticed Michael Lau's work. But I first noticed
a designer toy of sorts in Tokyo in about 1994 when I visited the Tin
Tin store in Aoyoyama, a cool district in Tokyo, and
they had these big figures of Tin Tin and Snowy etc. That really sparked
my interest in such figures, and how a character could move from 2D to
3D. The Astro Boy store around 1994 also had big Astro Boy figures, so
I've always had the possibility of doing 3D stuff. Being in Australia,
we're really quite cut off from such movements though, and I feel quite
alone in my interest of toys here! Also, to produce them for a market
here is so small, we have about 20 million people, and the audience for
toys is really in the minority, so it wasn't really a viable
product to add to our range in 1996 when I first thought of a 3D figure.
Which is why in 1996 we produced the inflatable Space Puppy, as that was
a much more economical way of creating a figure in 3D, and it still looked
cool and sold really well. Only in about 2002 did I really take
time to get more into the rotocast toy scene, as I had a bit more free
time for such pursuits, and the appreciation and acceptance was opening
up. I decided to write the book Vinyl Will Kill to find out more about
the main players, and to interview the people I respected in the movement.
It was like my thesis report, it took about as long too!
maybe I have a doctorate in toys now. Dr Jeremyville. Maybe not.
How much does the "element of unexpected"
affect you and your work? By this I mean how things that happen by accident
or unintentionally are a part of your work?
Nice question, A lot, lot more these days. I draw in bed late at night,
and most of those figures from that half-sleep state, born of a
flickering bedside light, end up as the main characters in my
work, as I scan them in and use them. I like not thinking when I draw
at those times, in a cafe, on the train, walking, in a park. I sort of
block off my conscious inhibitions and just draw what feels right, and
those happy accidents are sometimes the best work. Last night I drew what
I think will be a very memorable figure, well 2 figures, just hugging
each other. I love the mood it creates, the comfort. The memory.
Do you prefer the unexpected or do you have
a very set idea when you begin a piece of work , what the end result is
going to be?
depends on if it's for a client with a brief, or for myself, or whoever.
though more and more, clients just come to me to ' do my thing' and don't
dictate what I draw, or the concepts I need to include, like MTV in Latin
America who I recently did a big series of animation and characters for,
they just let me invent all these bizarre characters, which are
now on heavy rotation on MTV, and coming to a country near you. I also
did unrelated work recently for MTV Australia, and Adio
Shoes in the US, and both clients just came to me for what I do. Which
is really liberating, and I really really appreciate the trust in what
Do you have any projects that you are currently
working on or recently finished that you particularly enjoyed?
so many, everything I do I enjoy, as I have that luxury. I've been invited
to be in 19 books this year, and last friday 2 very cool new book projects
extended the invitation to me too, and they only have like 20 artists
in there, and to be in the calibre of people like Alife, Groovisions,
Fafi and Devilrobots is an honour. I can't mention the book yet, but it's
a great one, I've been asked to do a 4 page comic story for it too.
What has been your most challenging job
You contributed work to the recently produced
"A book designed to help" in aid of the Tsunami disaster victims,
how did you end up contributing to the book, was it the guys at "I
Love Dust" that came knocking at your door!?
They are great people, as we chatted on email for a while, and I think
my mates Tado from Sheffield introduced us, yes, they suggested my name
for the gig I recall. Or had a big hand in that! It is so cool to work
with such talented people (such as I love Dust, Tado...) with no dramas
or attitude. The people from I Love Dust, Mark Graham, and Tado, Mike
and Katie, are such people. THANKYOU!!
In contrast, SOMETIMES you come up against egotistical or arrogant people,
who are very precious to work with, and that's one quality I can't handle
in someone. I like nice, friendly, and still mega talented people. That's
the best combination. Life's too short! I've also learnt that the more
you know, the more you realise how much you don't know, and how when you
keep an open mind you learn and progress more in life. Arrogant people
to me are quite un-evolved, and have so far to travel. So arrogance and
an air of superiority is a quality I really avoid in people I chose to
Do you think illustration across the ocean
in Europe differs in style to that in Australia?
I think the internet is the really breaking down such old fashioned notions
of country, as least in terms of design. I think style is more down
to the individual designer, rather than a national look, but that's just
my take on it. maybe I'm too close to notice any regional trends. I think
the VOICE of the artist or illustrator is now a lot more important. Do
they have anything to say? are they original? do they push the boundaries?
Are they exciting and ground breaking? Do they challenge
themselves and are always in the process of 'becoming' all these qualities
I aspire to, and all these I look out for in others. I'd hate to feel
I have ever 'arrived' . that equals creative death.
Do you think Europe has an edge over Australia
in terms of and design, keeping their finger on the pulse of illustration
a little better than others? (i.e.; noticing trends and emergence of new
That's hard to answer, but I guess I know what you mean. I think by sheer
volume of what's happening daily over there, that would be more than what
happens here, but again, the internet has been a revolution for any country
previously outside the main flow of that creative river.
Australia has some really, really cool stuff going on...to be honest,
about 90% of my creative output is now geared on overseas projects, jobs,
books, and 10% on Australian clients, but that's just because of sheer
numbers of clients and stuff going on overseas. It's a big world out there.
Do you think illustration tends to go around
in circles? by that I mean the different styles that have emerged, from
vector based illustration back to hand drawn, back to vector based, so
on and so forth? If so why do you think this is?
Yes, but I think a great idea lasts, and a unique voice with which to
express it. I'm about ideas, moods, atmospheres, having something to say,
more than 'the way it looks'. I think the way it looks needs to
first communicate what the work is saying, THEN look cool. most people
do it the other way around, and I think that can be a trap. I started
my career cartooning, that is, carrying around a black sketchbook when
I was 17 and wrestling with my ideas for hours over coffee, by myself,
then at uni, and it's that wrestling with an artline pen and many countless
proto-ideas that have given me the skills to now do what I do.
There is no fast track to getting that voice, and I really feel so creatively
fulfilled that I at last have a voice, but it's a flexible enough voice,
or style, that can whisper a word, or sing a song, or hold a conversation.
Because it's MY voice. I feel I can draw or create or paint anything now,
in that voice. It is a very liberating feeling.
Why do you think illustration has had a
turn of good "fortune" in recent times and there's a great demand
for it at the moment?
cue byline: "Illustration: So hot right now"...I think it's
because the internet and other technologies like mobile phones, are graphics
and visuals based, that the broader community is a lot more
design and graphics savvy these days. for example I'm doing a lot of Mobile
phone download art, and that's for the broader community
What are your hopes and ambitions, for "Jeremyville"
in the future? Is there something you would love to do? (like set up "Jeremyville"
on the moon!)
Just keep drawing in my little black sketchbook over a coffee at my favourite
cafe. that's heaven for me. the rest will flow from that, hopefully!
Who's hot in Australia at the minute? I
mean in the UK we have people like "I Love Dust" , "John
Mcfaul" and "Black Convoy" to name just a few.
I had a checklist down, but I won't name names as I'm sure to leave someone
out, or a friend or something !! but there's great stuff going on, definitely!
cheers Matt, hope you like it! 2.21am, off to bed! no drawing tonight!
Interviewer: Nick Farncomb
Others in group: Dmitri Dzuba, Michael Gek and Andrew Hobbs.
Course: Design - Visual Communication at UWS Nepean.
Subject: is Design Management and the assignment is Designer Profile Presentation.
My name is Nick Farncomb and I'm a third
year visual communication student at UWS Nepean. For a Design Management
assignment, my group has decided that we would like to do a case study
From a person who studied Architecture and is now a graphic designer with
a successful fashion label, do you find that many people in the graphic
design industry are in places they didn't expect to be in?
Yes, I think that it is important to leave your career options open slightly,
and to be able to be flexible in where it might take you. A career is
about 50 % planned, and 50% chance/seizing opportunities, and trying new
things. Right now for example we're (Neil, my business partner, me, and
Megan Mair as Art Director) producing a book on 3D vinyl figures, published
by IdN publishers in Hong Kong. They do IdN magazine, and they did the
Design is Kinky 'Permanent' book of 2002.
I wouldn't have foreseen us doing this book project even 6 months ago,
but the opportunity came up and we went with it. Well rather, I had the
idea and approached them, but still, it was a fortuitous set of circumstances
that led us here. (I'm interviewing designers of vinyl like Gary Baseman,
Pete Fowler, Tim Biskup, Nathan from Scary Girl, Enid by Dan Clowes, and
about 15 others. Big project. We also designed and produced a vinyl figure
in conjunction with IdN, which will be launched at the My Favourite Conference
in Singapore, where James Jarvis is speaking. <http://www.idnworld.com>
2. You stated in one of your interviews
that you've read a lot on different artists, particularly Warhol. Do you
think it's important for design students to study art history?
Most definitely, just to see how everything fits together, and how someone
like Warhol is still relevant in many ways even today. He's more relevant
than some designers working today, and to learn from what he discovered,
means you don't need to repeat his discoveries, or others' discoveries,
but rather, acknowledge them and move on, push it further, take a completely
different tack. The more I read about art and design history, the more
informed my concepts become, the more sure of them I become. And I think
the more succsessful they are.
To also analyse say a team like Ray and Charles Eames, and to unravel
their methodology, gives me a clearer insight into my own thought processes,
and almost re-confirms what I felt I knew anyway about why and how I arrived
at a particular solution. The fact that they worked 50 years ago is somewhat
irrelevant, the solutions still hold up today, and many of their pieces
I think timelessness is a great indicator of a truly great idea, or great
solution. Something that once invented, can never be un-invented, because
it has revealed a universal truth that cannot now be denied. Le Corbusier
did that with modernism. Once the notion was created, it could not then
be ignored. Same with Warhol. Once he invented/co-opted the notion of
say 'repetition' in art, subsequent artists could not un-learn the notion,
nor could they invent it themselves. The hill had been captured. They
needed to acknowledge his debt and move on, like it or not. Understanding
history is everything for a designer who is set on creating something
3. Is it important for a graphic designer
to have a style, something that the client can identify with?
I can only speak for myself: personally I feel more comfortable having
many styles, or one broad visual language that can speak in many ways,
or even inventing a style to suit a particular brief. I could never understand
designers who arrive at a 'look', and then apply that in one form or another
to every job. I think it's a bit lazy. Same with a fine artist who arrives
at a style and endlessly repeats that for the rest of their career! Or
the performer who sings the same version of their song in concert for
30 years. I'd never be able to do that. I would get incredibly bored,
and I would hope that my audience would get bored too! Otherwise they'd
not be that great an audience to have, as you wouldn't feel challenged.
But I guess each designer must work the way they feel most true to themselves.
not most comfortable, most true. I feel I'm being most true to myself
when I try and challenge myself with every job, and learn something new
from it, however small.
4. Do you think unity among the Australian
graphic design industry (with groups such as AGDA) is important for its
growth of reputation in the international market?
Well I must confess I have always felt a bit of an outsider in
every industry I've worked in, and I guess I work best that way. I suppose
I don't draw that much strength from belonging to a club or society, but
rather, if I like an individual's work, no matter where in the world,
I'll get in touch with them, exchange web site links, maybe propose a
project or collaboration. That's the sort of pro-active, targeted design
interaction I like, not sipping chardonnay and eating cheese and talking
about fonts, at some design function, which I suppose suits others, and
that's cool, but you have to be true to yourself and work out what makes
you the most fulfilled. That's a tough question sometimes!
But having said that, of course I love design community websites like
Australian Infront (with Justin Fox) , Fecal face, k10k (Kaliber 10000),
Strangeco, DiK, Uialab, Freshness, Shift, wooster collective, etc etc,
and I draw inspiration from them, and some sort of solidarity, when before
I had not really felt that. I never went to design school, I studied architecture,
so I have very, very few graphic design/illustrator friends as such! My
mains design friends are half a world away on email, and I haven't set
eyes on 95% of them.
So I think web community sites are much better for Australian designers,
as the geographical boundaries are automatically lifted, and you're only
as good as your work is. You also mix with the best, rather than just
looking over into your neighbour's backyard and chatting.
5. Do you believe that too many designers
are being pumped out of Sydney universities and colleges for how many
jobs there are available in the area?
Maybe you're right, I think a designer these days needs to make
themselves indispensable in some way, by having a particular skill, or
expertise, so that they can command good prices for their talents. If
not, it is difficult to compete with thousands of others who can basically
perform the same task as you, and perhaps have more experience. To be
perfectly frank, I'm not sure I'd want to be JUST a graphic designer these
days, I think that limits you're client base. For example, also know how
to produce rotocast molds, or know how to apply graphics to apparel, or
how to create a website, that sort of specialist skill makes you much
more sought after than someone who just knows the basic software programs.
Or why not learn the ins and outs of publishing a book, or how to pitch
to a new client and win new business, something PRO-ACTIVE like that is
so much more attractive to employers.
If you went to a new employer and said 'hey, I have a new client here,
can I bring them to you and you then give me a job, and I'll service them?'
how attractive would that make you to an employer? any of you wanting
to do that, come and see me first please!
6. Networking between people has been a
topic that has been stressed upon in our Design Management subject. Would
you agree that this is particularly important for new designers?
Do you mean networking as a way to get new clients? or do you mean
in terms of collaborating with fellow designers?
7. How does Design Lab go about finding
freelancers? Generally do they come to the company or do you see someone's
work and then contact them?
Both, sometimes through very unexpected ways: This student designer from
Switzerland once sent us a very cool silver package, and inside was his
CD, very Swiss in terms of the clean lines, cool, crisp type. very tasty
package. Seductive. He wanted to do an internship in our company, for
about 5 weeks, and we hadn't had someone here for that long before, but
he persisted, and finally he arrived at our office, and we all sort of
just clicked. He stayed for ages, and was really great, in terms of his
professionalism, speed, flexibility and skills. He sculpted 3D models
for us, worked on a HUGE illustration job for X-Box, worked on t-shirt
graphics, drank lots of Cherry Coke, made lots of very cool artworks,
generally had a ball, and we loved having him here. Sad to see him go.
His name is Philipp Kaeser, aka Mr Papriko, and we now stock his very
cool stickers by Papriko in our store, and he's back in Switzerland now,
via Tokyo, and we work on projects as they come up, still email regularly.
really nice guy. Check out our site for some of his work. he sculpted
our Hazkem 3D figures too. very talented. And it all came about from a
mysterious silver package from Zurich. You never know.
Does the Jeremy label help market Design Lab and vice-versa or are they
normally seen as unrelated companies.
They operate separately, but they do overlap in common shared skills,
infrastructure, personnel, and expertise. Our clients are all aware of
the Jeremy label, and I think they value our knowledge in that area. Also
having a retail store in Sydney's Oxford street means we have a strong
sense of what works with the public in terms of graphics, clothing design,
accessories etc, and so our clients value this knowledge considerably,
if say, we produce graphics or clothing for them. We also stock many other
labels in store, like Pete Fowler(UK), The Quiet Life(US), Hunter Gatherer
(US), Yen Magazine, 2K t-shirts (US), Teenage Millionaire (US), Crownfarmer
(US), James Jarvis vinyl (UK), Enid by Dan Clowes, AD AT by Span of Sunset
(LA), and lots of really cool stuff from LA, SF, London, HK, etc. So we
really keep an eye on what's going down, and make sure we get it in store.
Tim Neve BDA (Design), NIDA
" So, Jeremy..." Case Study
for Business and The Law Module, Certificate IV Digital Arts and Media,TAFE
J e r e m y ’ s C o n c e p t I o n :
q What was your background before you established
The Jeremy Group?
Studied architecture at Sydney Uni, whilst there, edited and drew cartoons
and covers for the Uni newspaper Honi Soit. Mathew Martin the
cartoonist spoke at Uni one afternoon, and I went along and after his
talk, asked if I could interview him for Honi Soit. He kindly agreed,
and I went to see him at the Sydney Morning Herald* a few days
later, armed with a tape recorder, some sketches, and some questions.
*(The Sydney Morning Herald is Sydney's leading and most respected
The interview went on for a few hours, and afterwards I asked if I could
show him some of my work. He was very supportive, although at the time
my cartoon style hadn't really formed, so I think he was being kind. He
recommended who to approach at the Herald, and later I went to
see John Sandeman, who gave me my 1st freelance cartoon gig, and then
later I wormed my way into a semi permanent freelance gig a few days a
week at the Herald. That lasted about 3 years and taught me how to come
up with ideas really quickly.
This was all while still at Uni, I was 19, so it was my 1st paid work
for art, and I've had no other 'real' job to speak of. I then used the
leverage of working at the Herald to get other freelance cartooning gigs,
and it just snowballed from that.
q Can you briefly describe the conception,
birth, and growth of The Jeremy Group?
I set up my Darlinghurst 1 bedroom terrace as a sort of home office, at
7 Taylor street. (when I pass by it now I'm surprised at how small it
was!) I had a home office before the term was really coined. After I started
making more money from freelance cartooning and illustrating, I invested
it all back into the 'business', by buying a mobile phone. Remember, this
was in about 1991, so the phones were quite huge, and not many artists
I knew had them! I remember a fellow illustrator at the Herald, bearded
and hippy, recoiled in horror when he saw this evil device of ultimate
yuppy-dom, in his midst! It was as if he had laid eyes on some evil alien
probe. But ofcourse for me it had nothing to do with status, it was a
tool to get more freelance work, while I sat at a drawing desk at the
Herald. Now ofcourse everyone has a mobile, and it's no big deal, but
back then, it was an us-versus-them scenario. If you had a mobile, you
were clearly a fascist, greed-is-good wanker. Oh well. I knew they'd all
come around, and no self respecting freelancer is without a mobile now!
I've always wondered if that bearded hippy at the Herald has a mobile
phone now, or if he's become more of a luddite. I wonder.
Anyway, this 1st 'office' was quite ad hoc and rudimentary, as the terrace
was also a place I painted for upcoming art shows, the 1st solo show at
the NCA Gallery in 1991, then a solo Pod Gallery show in 1992, so the
rooms in the terrace were all taken up with half finished canvases, a
fax churning out the latest job from an ad agency, and remnants of the
party the night before. Luckily I lived on my own or I'd have been chucked
out by the flatmates long ago.
When I started to get a bit more money from cartooning, I also started
to employ some helpers to chase up the unpaid invoices, return calls,
set up meetings, that sort of thing. I paid $12 to $20 per hour, which
was quite a lot for me then, but I knew I needed to get into the routine
of employing people and working with others if I was to grow into a company
and not just remain a sole trader. I was around 24 at this time, and really
had no formal training about running a business, but I knew I had to learn
The 1st big commission came in 1991 with a large, illustrated Visa billboard
I designed, through the art director Mario Sanasi, who was very supportive
of my early work. It was a giant billboard near Taylor Square in Darlinghurst,
and was up for about 2 years, and gave me great exposure, and leverage.
The cheque from that job got ploughed back into growing the business.
I then moved to Riley Street Surry Hills into a 3 story terrace with a
shop front, and I set up a proper studio and produced some art products
to sell in the 'shop' downstairs. Neil came to work with me then fulltime,
while he was studying Communications at UTS, and we formed an official
company in 1993, called Jeremy Pty Ltd, with us two as directors. Neil
is also my younger brother, and he was 20 at the time, I was about 26,
and we already had many clients we worked for, illustrating mainly, and
some graphic design work. Neil's very organised and great with administration,
human resources (he was the school captain), so he's very responsible,
and so it was a good fit, and we're still working together.
q Has it all ‘gone to plan’?
What, if any, have been the downfalls/setbacks that you had not expected
to encounter? What are the opportunities that you did not expect to encounter?
This is definitely the place I intended to be at now, though the clothing
was not invisaged as such a major part of the plan. You also take opportunities
as they come up. For example in 1992 there was a national design competition
announced on radio etc, for a poster design for the 20th anniversary of
the Opera House, and it was going to be judged by Ken Done, who knew a
thing or two about drawing the Opera House. Anyway, my entry almost didn't
get submitted in time, but it eventually got there, and I hadn't entered
anything before (or since !) so I was very surprised when the call came
that I had won, out of 600 national entries, which included many well
known artists and design firms.
The prize was $10,000, which was a lot of money for me then, so it was
a great boost to produce more items to sell in the studio, buy more office
equipment, and I screenprinted our 1st t-shirts then, 1 colour on white,
with a black and white label that just said "Jeremy". This wasn't
really the Jeremy clothing brand as it is today (That was formed in 1998,
with Neil) but it was a precursor to that, and was mainly art items, t-shirts,
posters, limited edition sketch books, that sort of thing. More like the
Fluxus art movement of the 60's than anything planned or marketed as a
brand. More an ongoing art project/experiment.
The Jeremy brand has always been more an art/design project rather than
fashion, as I find 'fashion' quite limiting in its constraints and following
of trends and market dictates. I always want to remain a bit separate
from the 'fashion mainstream', and to tackle the solution from my own
perspective, and with my own visual signature. Remember, I approached
the clothing caper as an architecturally trained, newspaper editor/illustrator
and graphic designer, rather than from any fashion school, so it's bound
to reflect that. I've read much on Alvar Aalto, Mies, Le Corbusier, Warhol,
Saarinen, Behrens, Walter Gropius, Moholy Nagy, Ray and Charles Eames,
Beuys and Marcel Duchamp. I'm definitely a modernist at heart, reinterpreted
for our times. But I also respect people from the clothing caper, mostly
designers who also have a strong art and graphic design basis to their
clothing. The Fluxus movement of the 60's is an underlying influence on
me, but definitely the overriding, everpresent force is Warhol.
it's about mixing up your output, and disciplines. Mike Mills said it
well when he commented that this is a very 21st century thing: To cross
between disciplines and not be tied down to any one style or look or career.
I'm paraphrasing a bit, but that's always been my general creative approach.
It certainly keeps it exciting and varied. Hopefully for our audience
h e s u m o f a l l p a r t s:
q The Jeremy Group is comprised of a few
‘divisions’. Could you briefly state what each division offers
as a product/service?
Jeremy Retail Store: (At 26 Oxford Street Paddington, Sydney)
Jeremy Web Store: (Coming soon!)
Special Projects: (publishing, product design, charity and community work,
Jeremy Fine Art: (paintings, screen prints, special private commissions,
art shows, limited edition objects, box sets)
also involved in client direct projects with DESIGN Lab.
The areas are quite self explanatory, with each division having it's core
people working on it. I spread myself design wise across all the areas,
which certainly keeps my workload varied and full.
q Which division occupies your time the
most? Which division is proving the most fruitful?
I would say the clothing caper is the most demanding on time, but all
have their own merits and demands. Each feeds of the other, and it has
developed into a very precise model for us, over time, and the main role
of Neil and I is to fine tune and tweak the various divisions, like tinkering
with an engine to make sure it's working efficiently. All the cogs must
fit together, work with as little friction as possible, and understand
its own working capabilities and limits.
q Were each of these always part of the
By and large, yes.
O p e r a t i o n a l d i a g n o s i s:
q Can you profile whom Jeremy is aimed towards?
Who are your main competitors for this market?
The various divisions mentioned above have their own target audiences,
and we gear the service and product around that, while still keeping it
within our general vision. I choose to not focus on competitors, but rather,
do our own thing according to our own agenda and vision. That way, you're
not constantly comparing yourself to others, which can frankly become
a bit unhealthy and self obsessed. It also feels a lot freer.
q Your flagship retail store is based in
Paddington, Sydney. Why this particular location?
The previous owner had a store there that stocked only Jeremy clothing,
and when she wanted to leave the business (she had been in it for 15 years)
we took over her lease and changed it into our 1st Jeremy Concept store.
The strip has undergone some changes since we've been there, and we have
friends in the stores near us, so it's a good community.
q What are the main forms of promotion you
use to keep Jeremy alive?
I think the underlying one is great service, attention to detail, and
making sure we provide a great quality product to a customer, or a client,
Promotion in itself is hollow, unless the service and product is right,
and the message is clear. And the promotion should reflect the product,
and simply amplify it, and become a natural extension of the vision you're
trying to get across. Anything else is superfluous, and just a hard sell.
A e s t h e t i c a l l y s p e a k i n g:
q How much of your work is digital, and
how much is not? Has this always been the case?
Nowadays it's almost all digital, but I sometimes pick up the brush and
do some painting. Must confess, it feels very old fashioned. Very 20th
Recently a client in the UK commissioned a painting from me on 2 large
canvasses, so I had to produce something in acrylic and ink, and I think
my painting technique had actually improved quite a bit, so working on
computer hasn't made my painting technique rusty at all. I also paint
quite a few of the canvasses that I sell in the store, though it's much
simpler to say have a design screenprinted instead! But Andy Warhol discovered
that in 1962 right?
Recently we were asked to paint Deborah Mailman's jeans
for the Jeans for Genes charity, and I was asked also in 1995, to paint
a pair. The contrast between the 2 demonstrate how we've changed: the
1995 pair was hand painted in acrylic over several hours, while the 2003
pair showed a design created purely on screen, then emailed to the screenprinter,
who then printed the couriered pair of jeans, and sent them back to us.
I spent about 1/2 hour on the design, and I reckon it looked much better.
q Currently, there is a strong trend in
fashion and design towards illustration/graphic driven designs and products.
Obviously, this would favour the Jeremy brand well. However, did you ever
doubt that your graphic aesthetic would be commercially popular? Have
you adapted your aesthetic over time to suit market trends?
Nice question. I've always thought that illustration was a very elegant
solution to a brief, and when I was beginning illustrating in the early
90's there were very few artists working in the digital media. Now ofcourse,
every designer coming out of design school is an illustrator of sorts,
because the concept of what constitutes an illustration is much broader
now (rightly so), and the technology allows anyone really to create an
illustration using basic softwear such as Illustrator and Photoshop.
Ofcourse, I've come from the period where computers were JUST coming in,
so I feel lucky to have experienced both camps. I remember as editor of
Honi Soit at Sydney Uni, we were the last editorial team to use the old
letraset typesetting wheels, and to actually cut out and glue strips of
typesetting down on a page! Can you imagine that? sometimes a cut out
word like "and" would fall on the carpet, get lost, and we'd
be on our hands and knees at 4am looking for a glue and fluff covered
"and". Macs were brought in the year after!
So I have always conceived of most ideas firstly with just a pen and sketchpad,
letting the idea speak most powerfully, and then express that with a mouse.
However I'm more and more just drawing straight onto screen now, and I
don't even use a Wacom tablet, just a mouse, and sketch characters that
My new site will have many of these purely computer drawn characters
in freehand, ie not made up of shapes, but actually drawn with a pen tool
onto screen. I'll attach some here for you now! You're the 1st in the
world to see these, as they'll soon be up on the site, but no one's seen
To get back to your question, I don't think I ever doubted illustration
would one day find its true place, I just didn't invisage it would be
so all encompassing, from fashion, to film (Waking Life), to magazines
(such as Wallpaper), to music clips such as Royksop and say Silverchair.
People must not forget that illustration has reached a real sophistication
and diversity in the last several years. When I was working in 1991 onwards,
many airbrushed & cliched styles (like scraperboard) were still in
vogue, and you wouldn't see much new stuff coming through. It was pretty
old hat and boring, and old fashioned in what constituted an illustration.
Nowadays there's a new illustration style coming through almost monthly,
in any medium from digital to scribbled, and looks fall out of favour
real fast. And the term 'illustration' is much, much looser (as it should
I've always been of the belief that success and longevity lies in staying
a few steps ahead of your market, so I'm always trying to invent and push
new styles through. I'm not at all inspired by artists who create one
look or style then just stick to it for the rest of their career. It's
like inventing a formula then just repeating it. It's like David Bowie
still doing glam rock today, it just wouldn't work, or Picasso rehashing
his blue period for the rest of his life. He moved on.
Illustrators can obviously have their classic styles, like a sort of haiku
or shorthand, which they hold onto (like say my Minties cartoon
style, that is my sort of shorthand style, or signature), but you
really have to push yourself and do other styles, otherwise you get bored
and trapped, along with your audience, who will typecast you in that style.
You need a stylistic escape clause, and I'm always trying to write them
into my visual dialog. Not just changing for change's sake, but to keep
myself excited by my drawing, and hopefully in turn, keep the viewer excited.
here's a biro
sketch I did one night in bed, and then just coloured up on screen
the next day. Shows how you can still think and conceptualise with a pen,
but then use the technology to take it a step further. This was just a
study, not really drawn for anything, but I think it works as something
quite surreal. Please don't ask me what it means!
I n y o u r f a c e :
q Art and Design are argued to be two very different
fields. Where do you consider your work sits?
For me, one is not complete without a certain element of the other either
just acknowledged, or accommodated within it. Hybrid styles and projects
interest me greatly. So do creatives who straddle several disciplines
either simultaneously, or concurrently. Mike Mills for example can direct
a music clip, create a design for a CD cover, have a fine art show, or
whatever he choses as a vehicle for this output. So too Geoff McFetridge
(also at the Directors Bureau), or Groovisions, and the list goes on.
I definitely belong to that mentality, not by a conscious decision, just
by realising that hey, there are others out there who think this way to.
q Why go into business for yourself, and
not just freelance like so many others?
Well a business is the ultimate extension of freelancing isn't it? setting
up a business is basically just a way to make freelancing work more efficiently.
I'm still freelancing, it's just that it's organised into a business structure
now, a working engine, and our services have greatly increased. For example
some clients we've worked with in DESIGN Lab in the last few years include
Coca Cola, Channel 10, Freedom Furniture, TV1, Austar, Big Brother, Movie
Network, Multiplex, Sculpture by the Sea, Jeans for Genes, Ergon Energy,
Yen Magazine, etc etc.
q Does being at the helm of a self-titled
‘group’ mean you are chained to your Mac 24-7? Has your capacity
changed over the years?
I'm much more time efficient these days, and more focussed on our strategic
direction within the divisions. Much more able to choose between taking
on a project or not. My time spent online is about 10 hours a day, emailing,
checking out websites, and then ofcourse designing, emailing, typing,
admin, client meetings, strategy. Time flies when I'm NOT having fun...
when I'm having fun, time slows down.
q What are the plans for the future (both
business wise and personally)?
Grow each division within the company, constantly tweak the engine, cull,
improve, evolve. Personally to increase the diversity of the projects
division, and to allocate more hours to designing and illustrating time.
In the name of design research I have chosen you to participate in a very
quick and painless survey on the topic of 'designers who design t-shirts'
If you could reply these few questions, eternal gratefulness and good
karma will come to you!
What was the reason for going into t-shirt design?
It was a natural extension of our graphics, and a way to refine our ideas
to suit clothing. It's also a lot more immediate a medium that say an
art show, which is booked a year in advance, maybe more, by which time
your ideas have moved on.
2. What do you think is the appeal of the
t-shirt to the designer?
The immediacy of getting the message out there, and it's a quick and painless
way to reproduce a design many times over, like a musician pressing a
CD many times over
3. Why do you think it has become so popular
in the industry?
ease of production, canvas for the concept and worn by likeminded customers,
who get the message. t-shirts also have a subversive, anti establishment
mood, like a pair of jeans, and it's this casualness that appeals to most
4. Do you see the t-shirt as a walking billboard
or blank canvas?
more a blank canvas these days, blatant logos are pretty much over for
a while, except if worn with irony, like an Atari logo, or Coca-Cola foreign
Specific to your designs
5. Do you have a philosophy behind your t-shirts?
(or what do you hope to achieve)
Reflect my vision of what the label stands for, and current interests
and passions in the community, and as I'm a part of the community too,
I like working with those images that interest me too. I'd never just
do a graphic of say a horse, because everyone else is doing a horse. the
subject must interest me 1st, and it must fit in to the general vibe of
6. What methods do you use to apply your
screenprinting, latext transfer, flock printing, all over printing, engineered
stripes, woven patches, layered prints over stitched on fabrics.
7. Do you do any other design work besides t-shirts?
A full clothing range, and accessories. We're also producing some objects
like limited edition magazines, and our concept store at 26 Oxford street
Paddington stocks other labels too, like Syke, Huxter, Utech, Vintage
(My name is David Lu and I am a final year
design student at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.)
1. How did ‘Jeremy’ evolve?
The clothing label was launched in 1998, and previously the design company
had been operating since 1992. I'm Creative Director of a new design company
that was launched in 2001 called DESIGN Lab, and already we've worked
with Channel 10, Coca Cola Atlanta, TV1 Foxtel, Mars, Nestle, Freedom
Furniture, Heineken, Sculpture By the Sea, Jeans for Genes, Austar, Movie
Network, KFC, Pizza Hut, and illustration work through many leading Ad
agencies including M & C Saatchi, Mojo, McCann Erickson, etc
What has been your work history/career path up until now?
See above. Also, 5 solo art shows over the last 8 years, 3 of which were
in Japan. Began it all by studying architecture at Sydney Uni, and cartooning
during my free days at The Herald for 3 years.
Who has been your best/worst client?
Best client is one who trusts your judgment, provides a detailed brief,
and pays on time! Worst client is one who’s confused as to what
they’re after, and then decides by committee.
Does ‘Jeremy’ have a company vision?
Not really, just do great work and provide great service.
Is Jeremy purely Australian?
Yes, but national boundaries are becoming more and more arbitrary. We
work with a lot of people by email, and they can be next door, or half
way round the world. The idea is everything, not the physical address.
What importance do you place on education and training?
I completed a Bsc (Architecture) from Sydney Uni. It was more an education
in ordering your thought processes, which translates to any creative industry.
Common sense, intelligence, and the ability to learn from your mistakes
is better sometimes than formal education or training.
What career prospects are there for someone looking to start a career
in the Industry?
Which industry, clothing or graphic design? We work in both
What would be an expected salary guide to Industry?
What key objectives do you work by?
See answer to question 4
Do you constantly review goals?
Yes, and set new ones depending on what has worked to date.
What do you draw upon for inspiration?
Inspiration is a bit over rated I think. It’s all about hard work
and keeping to your vision and own style. I don’t think I can afford
to wait around to be inspired. The things that inspire me daily, mostly
come from outside the industry: an art show I just saw, a movie, a CD,
a conversation with a friend, a book I just read.
I’ve just finished reading “A Short History of the World”
by Professor Geoffrey Blainey, and I’m now starting to read “The
Ice Age” again. I read a lot of books, mostly on unrelated topics
such as evolution, plate tectonics, continental drift, human migration
and DNA, and everything on the universe and the history of our solar system.
And of course travel is a great inspiration. I’ve been to Tokyo
several times, that’s my favourite city. Then London, then Venice.
I’m going overseas in 20 days to New York, London, Barcelona, Milan
,and then home via Korea for business.
What has been a big influence on your life and work?
Andy Warhol, far and away more than any one else. And ofcourse my partner
Megan, and business partner and brother Neil.
Does overseas design and market influence the styling of Jeremy products
Sometimes, but more as just observing it, especially since we now export
overseas, so we need to be aware of it and not repeat anything that’s
already been done.
What initiatives do you follow to tap into your market?
Not sure what you mean. Guess we just do what we think will work. Intuition
mostly, We have no market research plan or anything.
When marketing ‘Jeremy’ what key points are important to reaching
Connection. A message or story, not just a cool picture. I love design
that is highly personal, and unique. Not just a standard photo shoot using
a thin model, pouting. We try and explore that sort of stuff, not do what
everyone else is. To not be boring.
16. What future directions/markets do you
predict for Jeremy?
You’ll have to wait and see! To continue to not be boring.
17. Does ‘Jeremy’ have a 5yr
Yes, but I’m sure it will change slightly. Again, a secret thanks!
What would be ‘Jeremy’s’ ideal position in 5yrs time?
Again, please wait and see! If I told you it wouldn’t be a surprise!
But it will be exciting, I can say that much! Exciting for both us and
As a designer, what strategies do you utilise to manage your workload/deadlines?
Lots of time management, a few sacrificed parties, lots of hard work,
and …never miss a deadline. And try to get in as much physical exercise
What strategies do you use to solve a problem?
Intuition, asking people, asking the client the right questions. Usually
the right questions result in the right answers. Creating a brief based
off these questions to the client is the starting point to any project
involving a client.
As a designer, what has been your greatest achievement?
Earning a good living from something I love doing, and having a variety
of media through which I can express myself: Clothing design, t-shirt
graphic design, accessory design, designing clothing and graphics for
other brands through DESIGN Lab, illustration, children’s book writing
and illustrating, fine art shows, point of sale and in store displays
for our store at 26 Oxford street Paddington, Sydney, and buying other
clothing labels for the store, such as Syke, Huxter, Utech, Bake, Vintage
Prep. Never a dull moment.
22. What has been your biggest learning
Time management. You can’t improve it enough. There’s always
more you can fit in, if you plan it well.
How many people does ‘Jeremy’ employ?
A core of only a handful of full time team members, but we use many freelancers,
part time workers, contract suppliers, and makers. We work a lot also
on projects, and employ designers etc on a project basis. I find this
a much better model, especially where overheads are concerned. We also
have lots of work experience people through our doors, and they are very
helpful indeed. Thanks!
What key qualities do you look for when employing new staff?
Hard working, intelligent, lateral, and flexible.
What emphasis do you place on work culture?
Quite a bit, more and more. I used to work on my own a lot, now I work
in a team, and I’m always learning more about team management and
interpersonal office relations. It can be hard work sometimes!
What is your opinion of new technologies that have entered the Industry?
Great. I just bought a 180gb hard drive, and I have an ipod that I use
as a mobile hard drive. My titanium G4 Apple powerbook travels with me
most places, and overseas. We do almost all our work digitally, and email
is essential to every hour’s work at the office. A fast ADSL line
is essential, and a great commander system at work. I rarely ever use
the fax these days. It only sits there for companies we deal with that
don't work digitally yet.
Where do you see the future of design and overseas markets heading?
It’s fair to say that today’s audience is extremely sophisticated
in its knowledge of fashion and design, and you need to keep that in mind
with everything you do. Always challenge and explore with your audience,
and don’t underestimate their intelligence, knowledge,
or ability to be challenged creatively.
august 2003 - full page
"Studio Multimedia" (in French)
"Digital Media World" feature story
Interview by Sean Ashcroft for Digital Arts,
What is your main source of design income?
there are various strands, not really only one, as I put more time into
each area as I see fit. So there's product design, animation, licensing
projects, the online store, wholesaling, publishing, development and production
for clients, like toy production. I like to mix it up quite a bit, but
still maintain a strong visual identity. All my output is very Jeremyville
in style, I don't do any generic designs for clients. They come to me
for my varied yet identifiable look. For example I just worked on a Converse
x Jeremyville shoe, and snowboard designs for Rossignol, and hoodies,
apparel etc. I'm also doing some designing for Upper Playground, and Zoo
York, plus a collab with Dr Seuss.
Toy design is a very niche area? How did you become involved in
I wrote the first book in the world on designer toys, called Vinyl Will
Kill, published by IdN, in 2003-4, and since then have worked with many
companies including Kidrobot, STRANGEco, Play Imaginative in Singapore,
Super Rad Toys in LA, Circus Punks, Toy2R, and several others. Some of
my new toys are coming out in 2008, 2009.
I also produced by own inflatable toy called a Space Puppy in 1995, which
I guess pre-empted the whole genre, and sold around 20,000 units. It was
a product I released with my clothing range, and sold along side it.
What advice do you have for designers thinking about becoming
involved in toy design?
Do a lot of research, and also have a really unique concept. Don't repeat
what is already out there. Difference and your own unique style is everything.
You have a big shop area on your website. Can you describe (in-depth)
how difficult this was to set up?
It actually just grew slowly as the products came in, and will grow more
in 2008 as now items are added monthly, like a postcard book I did with
Concrete Hermit UK, and some new toys coming out with Kidrobot. Plus new
t-shirt designs and licensed products such as skate decks, or my new
Converse x Jeremyville shoe, out in October 08.
How much work is involved in keeping a shop ticking over/promoting
it? Is this something you do, or do you employ someone?
I joke that I manage the store in my underwear, which is partly true,
as I do it in the evenings. I have my icam turned off when i do it, I
promise. And then we have set roles for people at the studio to
post the items each day, and follow up on deliveries etc. It's pretty
low maintenance and stress free.
Are there alternatives to running a web shop yourself (third-party sites,
Yes, but doing it yourself is so much more fun. I do have a Constant Contact
mailer that I send out every month or so, to those who have subscribed.
I do have some items on other sites, which flows on from my site, but
it's easier to inventory your site on your own, it can get messy if something
sells out on your site, to then keep informing other sites of what has
sold out etc. So I like to keep it as centralised as possible.
What advice do you have for designers\agencies thinking of setting
up a web shop?
Offer items which are web friendly, ie easily understood, and don't have
to be tried on. I'd personally never buy things like jackets or jeans
online, as the fit is everything, unless it's a well known brand and you
already have that style, and simply re order it. Like a specific
Levis cut, but even then, it's a hassle if you get it wrong.
Things like screenprints, tees, toys, caps, all work well.
You offer a diverse range of products. How do niche products such
as badges, stickers skateboard designs fare when compared with prints,
posters and paintings?
Every item seems to have its own audience, we sell quite a few skate decks
etc, and even hand painted one off ones. I generally don't over think
it, if I have some item I'm into, I'll add it online and hopefully someone
else digs it too. No big deal if it doesn't sell, but we've never had
a category that doesn't sell.
You are also involved in producing Jeremyville books? What is
the thinking behind this?
I love the feel of a book, we have produced several so far, from Vinyl
Will Kill to Jeremyville Sessions, and the sketchel book, plus some smaller
art booklets and a 24 page postcard book through Concrete Hermit UK. The
thinking behind it is to add something new to the visual dialog out there,
to challenge people, create interest, and I always have lots of text in
mine, as I think just images is a bit of a cop out. It's a lot harder
and more challenging to write essays, have interviews, text, critiques.
that is more value for money too, I think. Not just pretty pictures, like
so many design books only have.
why do them? There's no hidden agenda, just the fact that I love design
books personally, and hope what we put out reaches an audience. But of
course I'd hate to not sell them, so I definitely have a target market
in mind, but in the end, everything is a risk really isn't it? Luckily
ours do sell very well, I don't have a pile of any book just sitting in
my studio, they all move along out the door!
Does publishing books help your business?
It's definitely a labour of love, but it does help spread the word of
Jeremyville, though that's not the motivation behind the books. For Vinyl
Will Kill for example, I am a true fan of designer toys, and love creating
them, and I was surprised a book did not yet exist, and I wanted to be
What advice do you have for anyone thinking of publishing a design
Have a great new concept. There are lots of design books out there. my
Publisher Laurence Ng of IdN, is a real wealth of knowledge, and he goes
to all the fairs and we chat about ideas when he's around my studio.
What is your advice to designers looking to maximise the earning
potential of the work they produce (perhaps by ‘recycling’
commissioned work as exhibition pieces, T-shirt designs, prints, posters
Yes I suppose. The way I work is to draw a lot in my sketchbook, then
when a project comes up, I can show some drawings to a client , and we
can use them as a basis for the campaign. that way the work is a lot more
spontaneous and fresher. i also of course produce work to a brief, but
if you draw all the time, it helps having that archive of work to access.
Each designer should realise what works for them best though, as I don't
believe in formulas, I believe in always changing and coming up with new
ways of working. So I've only really been working like this for say 3
To answer your question though, yes if you are a professional designer,
then having an eye on how long you spend on something is crucial, as you
need to work out if your time is being profitable and effective. Yes,
in some respects 'time is money'.
I’m sure that not all design ventures result in huge profitsm
(books, perhaps), but do help raise a designer’s/agency’s
profile. In your experience, what ventures are best for raising one’s
yes you are right there, and you do need to chose high profile projects
along side more profitable ones. So I'd say things like producing books,
requests by publishers to be in design books, important group art shows,
(like the Colette show I was in in 2007) , interviews by magazines, all
fall into the 'profile raising' camp, rather than the 'hugely profitable
project' camp. Although our books have actually been successful, and earlier
ones have all sold out. Vinyl Will Kill went into a 2nd print run in 2
months, and is now all sold out. I only have 8 precious archive copies
Interview by Nelson Medina from Revolution
Art, feb 08.
What's your main business?
Artist. I wake up, have a coffee, cycle into my studio, draw a lot, answer
emails, paint, go for a run along the beach in the afternoon, hang out
with friends, draw some more, paint, sleep. It's a pretty fun life, I
don't have a 'real' job.
What's your process of toys development?
Right now I'm working on toys with Kidrobot in New York, and Super Rad
Toys in LA, and a few other companies. It starts with an idea and sketch
that I do, then we move back and forth on the design, with the factory
having input as to what will work in production, and what won't. It can
take anywhere from 3 months to a year! It's a slow process, but in the
end, rewarding to see your sketch in a 3D form. Like building a house,
it can even take a year and a half. I studied architecture, and toys can
be as involved and complicated as building a house sometimes!
How are your favorite toys?
I love any toy that has a great concept, and is original. I was just asked
to work on a toy with Dr Seuss, so that is very cool, I love his work.
What do you do for a day job?
I haven't ever had a day job, I've always just drawn for a living. My
art is my whole career, and always has been.
What was he best professional goals of your career?
Doing books is always rewarding, like the 3 books I have produced, Vinyl
Will Kill, Jeremyville Sessions, and Sketchel.
Which project excited you most?
Working with the musician Beck on his sketchels for his Japanese Tour.
Whar are the origin of your toys characters?
They're like drowning characters I've rescued from my stream of consciousness.
What general emotions do you call on when you create a character?
I think it can be anything that is a part of the human experience. I love
all emotions, whether sad or happy, I love despair as much as I love euphoria.
I think sadness and melancholy is very under rated. I love melancholy.
Your line work sets your creations apart and adds alot of character to
your works. How did you start into this style? How has it evolved?
from drawing very day and night in my sketchbook, since I was 17, it has
evolved to be a part of me, my drawings are who I am, it is hard to separate
them. When I talk with friends, I sometimes have an open sketchbook, and
just draw all the time, I feel very much at ease with the idea of expressing
something in a line drawing. I used to draw cartoons when i was 18 at
the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia's leading newspaper, so I have always
felt at ease with drawing. But funnily enough I never drew much as a kid,
I only really started drawing more around the age of 17.
What kinds of galleries, if any, have you shown your art in?
Colette in Paris, Studio Camuffo in Venice, MTV Gallery in Milan, The
Arts Centre in Beijing for Tiger Translate, Mondo Pop in Rome, Gallery
1988 in LA, Ad Hoc in Brooklyn, Showroom Gallery in New York, Artoyz in
Paris, Furi Furi shows in Tokyo, plus lots of other group shows.
The past edition's theme was "Message to The World".
What could be your message?
Stay Furry! Which to me means be true to yourself, and feel free to grow
your hair the way you want to! Don't conform. I love the 1970's vibe of
moustaches and beards! Bring back long hair!!
Jeremyville was interviewed for Computer
Arts magazine in the UK, Jan 2006, for the issue on character design.
Article written by Lawrence Zeegan of Zeegan Rush, in the UK. click
to read the full interview.
Reload Magazine based
in the Netherlands, asked Jeremyville a few questions (below). For that
issue, #34, Jeremyville was commissioned to create the cover design. Previous
guest designers have included Sam Flores, Tim Tsui, Parra, Jono Wood,
Lucy McLaughlan from Beat 13...
The brief involves sending each designer a photo of the cover person and
they do their thing (in this case the person is Britt, a champion snowboarder
who has had a very tough run of late, but has learnt from her failures
Reload: Hey Jeremyville, so tell us about some of
the projects you've worked on recently.
2005 was about Vinyl Will Kill, the book I produced on designer
toys, published by IdN, and all the stuff that led off from that, like
a huge animation series for MTV Americas, t-shirt designs for Adio in
the US, a Circus Punk design, LMAC toy, Trexi toy, a deck design for the
Monkey Skateboard show, and a Dunny for the Vinyl Klash 2 show in Detroit,
curated by Tristan Eaton and Kidrobot.
I also created sketchel with Megan Mair, which is a customised art bag
concept, launched by Design is Kinky at Semi Permanent. About 230 international
artists contributed original art panels to that. Check it out at my site.
Series 2 is coming up in 2006, again launched by Design is Kinky. The
Colette store in Paris now sell the sketchel book that went along with
the project, and Strangeco distribute sketchel in the US.
With all that on, what do you do to switch off?
I run a lot, and paddle around Sydney Harbour on my Bic Kayak
with my girlfriend Megan, and saturdays I run along the sand at Bondi
Beach, then jump into the surf. That usually clears my head. Sydney has
a great lifestyle for such things.
Where in Sydney are you actually based?
I live in Potts Point, which is one of the most cosmopolitan
and creative areas in Sydney, 15 minutes by bicycle to the beaches, 5
minutes walk to the harbour's edge. And 2 hour's drive to the snow in
winter. I don't drive a car, so I cycle, walk, or run everywhere. My studio
is in Darlinghurst, a 5 minute walk from my pad in Potts Point.
So where did the name Jeremyville come from, is
it a real place?
I see the internet like one big creative global landscape, and
artist's websites like suburbs along the way, that I visit for a while.
I wanted to create my own geography online, a place where anyone's welcome,
where collaborations occur, and fun stuff happens.
25th 2006- Mary interview
on 25/4/06 11:17 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Hi my name is Mary and i am doing a university assignment on jeremyville.
I have been looking through different interviews and the website for information
on jeremyville however there are a couple of questions i would love to
have answered. These questions are:
What is the length and size of the studio? (this includes how many designers
work for the company, what stage its on e.g maturity)
Jeremyville as a concept has been around
for about 6 years, core team of around 5, with many, many freelancers
who we work with, both here but mainly overseas. about 90% of our work
in Jeremyville is international, 10% in Australia.
Do you have a management structure or is it fluid or evolving?
very fluid, slightly changes with each
new project, but a core management team is in place. We work with other
artists and designers a lot, so a lot of our decisions are based in collaboration
with them, not us dictating how it should be.
Is there a certain design process that are important to this studio and
does it distinguish it from others.
originality, invention and being the first
is everything for Jeremyville. Sketchel is a good example, we invented
the bag design, there was no concept like it in the world, and so we now
have over 300 international artists who collaborate on sketchel. Same
with the book Vinyl Will Kill, it is the first book in the world on designer
thank you so much for taking your time in helping me with my assignment.
Studying design myself, i find inspiration in your artwork.
no probs! good luck with your work
Feb 22nd 2006- Katie Becker interview
This is the US student who wrote you a couple of weeks ago about a project
I'm writing about vinyl toys. I've posted a few questions for you and
if there is any way you can get to them by, say, next week that would
be amazing. Feel free to answer them in any capacity you'd like.
I just got Vinyl Will Kill! in the mail and I must say, especially being
a sort of "outsider" to the scene, I think you guys really hit
the nail on the head. Way to make it accessible and still interesting,
too. Thanks so much!
What do you find the most 'phenomenal' about
the designer toy trend? Is it the fact that these toys attract people
of almost all ages? Is it the ironic messages of the pieces? Do you find
it to be something else entirely?
I find watching the birth of a new genre of art very interesting.
Why do you think is there such a strong
connection between designer toys and the skate/sneaker scene?
I think because the toy scene values originality, authenticity and innovation,
this has been a major reason why more of an underground, counter culture
has picked it up and become associated with it. As it is with the graf
Can you speak on the genre of artists? Who
are they and why do you think they find this venue so attractive for their
it's a cool new platform through which you can express your work, and
it's also very different to what has come before. It also takes the art
to another 3D level.
Is anyone making money?
If the point was to make money, there are much easier ways to go about
that. I think the aim of making money is more the realm of retail stores
selling toys, and producers. They need to worry about the bottom line.
I feel the majority of artists designing toys make their core income through
other ways, but that's just a hunch.
Have you seen the MTV Overground book yet?
Not yet, but well done to Jim and Gregory at Strangeco for working on
Is this an 'easy' place for new artists
to break through? Do you think that there is more willingness to see new
voices in this field?
I think toy platforms like the Qees, Dunnies, Trexis and Circus Punks
have opened up the accessibility for new artists to get their work seen.
So yes, new voices are definitely welcomed.
Are artists allowed to work with whomever
they want or does the growth of the 'scene' inevitably lead to competition
Sometimes it can be quite political, as in which artist works with which
Do you ever feel that people have the ?wrong?
intentions for their involvement with the vinyl toy phenomenon? Seeing
as there seems to be an emphasis on designer toys being accessible art,
do you think there are efforts to avoid a sort of elitist scene with insiders
It's very hard to control that stuff, I reckon just try and do awesome
work, and the transparency of the movement via forums and blogs will hopefully
let the great stuff come to the surface. In theory.
I try and not analyse it too much! I reckon just have a go and see where
it leads. There are no 'toy police' about telling you what you can and
13/3/06 9:17 PM, Claire Teresa Boylan at email@example.com wrote:
March 14th, 2006
name is Claire Boylan and I am studying Visual Communications at UWS.
One of my units is Australian design as I have chosen Jeremyville as an
example of good australian design. I have only one quick question, is
there any thing in your work that is characteristically Australian?
not really, I think it's more about the individual and their ideas and
art style. I guess we wouldn't ask an illustrator from Amsterdam whether
their art was typically Dutch, I think Australian design has gone beyond
the awkward fumblings at a national identity and iconography. I think
the only influence, albeit subliminal, could be the colours I chose in
my work. I grew up in Tamarama, near Bondi, and was exposed to the colours
of a beachside town at an early age, maybe that has translated somehow,
do you think there are too many overseas
influences in Australia for designers to have a uniquely Australian style,
if there are trying to exclude typical cliches?
I haven't really seen the emergence of a typically Australian style in
And what were the influences for the design
on Dont Panic's February issue?
characters scribbled in a dreamlike state late at night, spouting enigmatic
words of wisdom and/or stupidity. Drowning characters rescued from the
stream of consciousness on the outskirts of Jeremyville.
Thanks for your time. I do realise that
I actually asked
three questions! Any information would be greatly appreciated.
of Western Sydney
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith South DC NSW 1797
Phone: +61 2 9852 5222
Vivian Host, Editor of xlr8r
magazine, asked me some questions, to be a part of the xlr8r/best
of 2005 compilation. Out in december 2005.
RockStar INXS. Pure evil. It ripped the soul out of Rock and Roll, and
robbed me of 'the magic'. Truly the day the music died. Shame on all involved.
Except Marty Casey, his original song 'Trees' was good. Everything else
sucked, especially Dave Navarro's tats and Kirk Pengilly's fumblings at
a pencil moustache.
What artist or musical trend do
you feel will be big in 2006?
More dwarfs in music clips please.
Electronic gadget you can't live without:
A Pacemaker? is that a trick question?
Best graphic designer or visual artist:
KAWS - his work with A Bathing Ape and his toys with Medicom still excite
me and make me want to own every product he puts out. A skateboarder and
graffer from Brooklyn, he has claimed '2 cross eyes' as his own, and has
made its simplicity famous the world over. The cleverest and tightest
visual artist working in the world today, in my opinion. I could have
also written about James Jarvis. Free toys and t-shirts from above said
artists unashamedly accepted at Jeremyville.
The Nike 'Hansel', it's so hot right now.
Best t-shirt line:
The Quiet Life by Andy Mueller and Jennifer Pitt. The epitomy of understated
LA cool from ping pong player, skateboarder and designer Andy Mueller.
I own every t-shirt they have produced. Except the girls' ones.
Best clothing label:
Commonwealth Stacks by Laura and Michael Leon. The coolest label right
now, with the best graphics by one of my favourite designers. The name
comes from Commonwealth Street where Michael once lived, and library 'stacks'.
Best style trend:
Anything that is NOT a style trend.
Worst style trend:
fluffy white puppy dog as fashion accessory. Paris Hilton should be made
to adopt all of last season's discarded puppies and put each one up in
a Hilton Hotel room for the rest of their puppy lives, as punishment for
starting this fleeting trend. Shame on her.
Best media item (book, movie, DVD):
I'd like to say my book Vinyl Will Kill! on designer toys, but I'll resist
the temptation. Instead I'll say 'The Drama' magazine by Joel Speasmaker
out of Richmond Virginia. Niiice. and the opening food sequence of Napoleon
Territory Magazine, Malaysia
XLR8R Magazine, US
2 page spread, Creator Studio magazine, Spain
short interview by an online toy distributor through the Trexi toy project.
What influences your design and how would you describe your style?
My design is influenced from dreams I have, creatures I want to make real,
and worlds I wish I could visit.
I'm influenced by what does NOT exist yet. I want to be the first to uncover
the unknown and unseen, and to draw it down. That excites me.
My style is a mixture of surreal landscapes, dreamlike visions and anything
that I feel like drawing that day. A concept is also very important. I
always have a sketch book with me, and have for about 15 years, so I have
a big collection of my old sketchbooks on my shelves.
I draw all the time, and nowadays I just draw something in my book first
go, and that becomes the final art. Before I used to be more 'careful'
when drawing, now I'm more spontaneous and confident in my lines.
2) What are your top 5 toys of all time?
-KAWS: pink 'accomplice' bunny
-James Jarvis: White King Ken
-Pete Fowler: Monstrooper + capsule toys
-Scarygirl: Bunnyguru + mini treehouse
-Bill McMullen: AD-AT
But ofcourse LOTS of others, it's so hard to pick, and I have a reasonably
sized collection. Strangeco also do some amazing stuff, as do Critterbox
and Kidrobot, Devilrobots, Tsui, Rolito Boy, Medicom, Jaime Hayon, NTF
and Fafi...oh I better stop or I'll forget to mention someone!
I'm impressed by anyone who manages to actually make a toy! it's such
a difficult, time consuming and costly process.
3) Who would your ultimate collaboration
- from ANY field you choose - and why?
I'd like to work with whoever understands what I'm doing, from a very
well known artist, to an up-and-coming designer who I feel has a unique
vision, and is a good person. I like working with talented, generous,
open-minded people, no matter if they are well known or up-and-coming.
Some I HAVE worked with are Nathan Jurevicius from Scarygirl, Strangeco,
Rolitoboy, Jon Burgerman, Lmac, Tado, Monkey Assasian, Jacky Teo and Darren
from Play Imaginative, Laurence Ng and Chris Ng from IdN, the publishers
of the book 'Vinyl Will Kill', and all the contributors for the book.
These are all such lovely, talented people, and it is such a pleasure
and honour working with them!
4) What can we look forward to in the future
from you and why?
I'm working on some toy collaborations with a few companies, can't say
much yet, and also 'sketchel'. a new product I have designed, being customised
by 100 artists from around the world, and launched at Semi permanent,
and co-presented by Design is Kinky. Let me know if you wish to be involved!
5) Finally - tell us something no-one else
knows about you?
I was very afraid of the water as a child, I almost drowned a couple of
times, but I learnt to swim in my dreams over a few months, and now I
swim very well, all the time, and I'm not afraid at all. I am proud that
I taught myself.
on 4/2/05 7:55 PM, Alexander Turvey at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Hi my name is Alex and I'm a 3rd year graphic
design student, I'm studying at Falmouth college of arts, England.
ive just embarked on my major project which is based around contemporary
character design as a universal language, I'm really interested in the
work you produce and I am hoping to produce a line of character designs
for my end of year show.
hi Alex! Jeremy here. cool, good luck with it all,
sounds like a great idea
I was wondering what your opinion was on
the role of contemporary character design as a communication tool?
I think it's important to really have a unique message and voice, that
way the toy communicates the essence of what the designer wants to get
across, and fills out that message. it should add something to the designer's
ouvre, not repeat it.
corporations are also getting in on the act, but it needs to be approached
subtly and with style and substance, or it can really bastardise the genre.
my opinion anyway!
Do you believe character design can remove
cultural boundaries by giving us a universal language?
yeah I think that's a great take on it. certainly something like Hello
Kitty and Mickey mouse have crossed over cultural boundaries, so toys
can work the same way. I like the way you're thinking!
I also wondered how you feel about the current
market for character design, is there a chance it may become to saturated
in a few years
could be, yes. see my first point, the stuff coming out should add to
the genre, not repeat it I reckon
and what direction would you like to see
character design go in?
I think more accessories, not just toys. for example I'm doing the sketchel
project, working with biskup, scarygirl, lots of other toy designers.
see www.jeremyville.com sketchel section
Final question, I'm really interested in
the do it yourself Quee's, you can paint them and send them back to the
company for a world tour, this is a great way to project your ideas to
other cultures, and I believe this idea could be taken further? if you
have any ideas on this, where do you think it could go??
well check out sketchel, I think I'm taking it further by working with
toy designers doing a sketchel, but I guess it's not a toy! in terms of
Qees, they are great, so too say Trexi, out of Singapore, I just did one
of those. I'm also doing an LMac crossover. crossovers on other designers'
toys is one way to go too! I might be doing one with Rolitoboy, I love
his stuff, very clever
Thanks for reading, keep producing great work, and hope to here from you
soon, your responce will be really appreciated.
hope what I said was helpful. maybe also check out the book I produced
called Vinyl Will Kill, it interviews quite a few in the industry. maybe
that helps too!
cheers Alex, good luck with everything!!
KInd Regards, Alex
In november 2004, Jeremy from jeremyville and Megan Mair had dinner
with Akira Isogawa, Australia's best known and most respected fashion
designer, and one of the most talented fashion designers the world has
Akira is also such a warm and genuinely friendly person, a charming and
talented gentleman, and I'm such a big fan of his work, as are millions
of others. I saw him on a postage stamp the other day. Now that's famous.
The dinner was held at the north shore home of the lovely Sanae and Akio
Nobuhara, publishers of JP Australia magazine. Over great, home created
sushi, some warm sake, and fine conversation, company and laughter, much
was discussed, and the interview was excellently conducted by Lena Nobuhara,
from JP Australia magazine.
Sanae, Akio and Lena's aim was to have a great dinner and a very candid
and informal interview to discuss things openly, with Akira from the fashion
world, and Jeremy from the design world, exchanging thoughts on each other's
What follows is a transcript by Lena from a part of that candid interview.
The full interview in Japanese also appears in JP Australia magazine.
Thankyou to Sanae, Akio, Lena and Akira for permission to reprint this
What are some of your goals for 2005?
Akira: I'd like to continue doing what I'm doing, and
not be too ambitious.
JP: So what are the things you're doing
that you'd like to continue?
Akira: I think it's a nature of fashion..that the audience
expect the new collection every season. And it takes a lot of energy to
come up with new concept every time. So that's what I meant when I said
continue-to be able to come up with some fresh approach within the collection,
achieve great sales, be appreciated by the audience and buyers, as well
as the media, including the export market.
Jeremy: Is there a particular
destination, like France?
Akira: It used to be France,
but these days, European markets have become equally as good as each other.
There are still new markets to be discovered. Japan is yet to be discovered,as
with The United States. But I'm doing ok in Europe because I've got an
agent that's covering the area, including the Eastern European countries
like Russia. Russia is another country that I'm fascinated with. I haven't
discovered the market yet, but hopefully in 2005, I will.
JP: What about you, jeremy?
Jeremy: In the past, I had put more energy into the office
and the Jeremy Brand. But, I think our firm has now ended up in a lot
of other creative projects. With those projects, you have the start, in
between and the end. Whereas with brands, there is no end. But I have
got those other things that I have interest in. If I were to have another
brand, I would explain to everyone that "It ends in 2006", for
example (laughs). Because I think it can end up like a trap where you
have to do that all the time. And I think I have ended up where I have
heaps more freedom which I actually enjoy, like the book project we've
completed recently. So we have the engine at the office and we earn off
that, but I'm not in that engine as much anymore, because we employ the
people to run the engine.
Akira: So you've got people running the engine?
Jeremy: Yes, and I do other projects.
Akira: That's a great set-up.
Jeremy: It is...and they generate the income, and I don't
have to be involved in it. And hey, Akira, I think that's what you need
to do. Operate the engine and extract yourself from the actual running
Akira: I'd like to come and have a look at how you do
Jeremy: Sure, please have a look at it...but the very
important thing is, you need to have an individual that you can trust.
There is an issue of trust. I have a brother Neil who is my business partner
and I trust him totally.
Akira: So is he the manager?
Jeremy: Yes he is, and account director and co-owner
of the company.
Akira: In that case, on what capacity are you involved
in Jeremy brand?
Jeremy: Well, all I do now are the ideas and art work
and I just hand that in to the printers, all on email.
Akira: So it's done all on the internet?
Jeremy: Yes, and So it isn't as hands on. I deal more
with coming up with concepts. Coming up with development of new products
that aren't just fashion. Like the book Vinyl Will Kill, it has lots of
interviews and profiles of individuals and stuff like that. And our work
is included in this book, too. This is a product that's loosely included
in the brand.
JP:What did you struggle with the most when
you were starting up your own business?
Jeremy: I would say, one hurdle is cash flow. And we've
had to sue some individuals because of their unpaid debts!
Megan: Anyone can open up a store but not anyone could
be a designer and survive. So you're having it like someone who's got
this incredible business, design and fashion acumen shaking hands with
someone... you don't know how they do business.
Akira: Cash flow was one of the most difficult issues
to overcome for me, as well. And at the same time, because of that, I
did so much all by myself. And you work so many hours... I used to get
up at 6 O'clock in the morning, sewing. Sewing for production, like 30
of the same things.
Jeremy: That's unbelievable.
Akira: I had no choice... Especially the garments in
black, at night, the stitches were very hard to see...(laughs)
Jeremy: Wow....And the clients who don't pay on time
are difficult to deal with, as well.
Akira: That's right. Last month, I presented a new collection
to the Australian audience and I came up with this idea, that all the
clients have to place a 30% deposit. And some of them were offended. It
is the first in the industry, so everyone was surprised. The interesting
thing is, some stores said sure and were fine with it, and I came to the
conclusion that the clients that got offended were probably not worth
Jeremy: That's right, it is sometimes easier to have
200 excellent clients that always pay on time rather than having 400 clients
Akira: Yes,I am seeing that now.
JP: Do you think its possible to retain
your artistic integrity and be commercially successful?
Akira: I think it depends on the standard you have. From
my point of view, maybe the trick is that it's best not to be too hard
on yourself. Because I tend to get too hard on myself and start feeling
things like, I can't do this and I can't do that, which ends up limiting
the commercial possibility. So I have to actually tell myself all the
time that there are views from other points of view, whether it's the
audience or the clients. I think it's possible to have a good balance.
And keep the integrity as well as the commercial success.
Jeremy: The work I do mostly has the aspect of the commercial
angle there, so I'll be thinking things like how easy would it be to execute
this product, in terms of the cost. All those things up front at first
are absorbed into the idea I would have, so I suppose it's all integrated
and entertwined, rather than being a commerical consideration at the end.
Obviously, the aim is to have excellent ideas all the time and to see
the idea being executed well in the end. So it's quite a challenge.
Akira: You need the backbone of the concept and your
creativity. And the integrity would be in that, too.
Jeremy: And for others to observe it.
Akira: So you have to make sure it's there.
Megan: It's always up to the people to interpret you
Jeremy: have you had anyone observe your collection and
have an obscure interpretation?
Akira: It has happened many times. Someone told me "that's
amazing dress was so interesting....its a south african style"I didn't
actually say anything...(laughs)
Jeremy: South African! Well, I guess there is no absolute
interpretation in art (laughs).
JP: Do you ever get stuck for inspiration?
Jeremy:I think the obstacle I have isn't not having ideas
but how to execute all the ideas I have. To put them into some sort of
order. Because I have too many, they can confuse you. You need to have
focus and direction. I find it hard to end it.
Akira: I have exactly the same problem. I think deadline
is what we need. You just keep doing it until the deadline.
Jeremy: It's true, to have an ending to it. And another
thing is order. In terms of order, what do we do, the book first or the
art show? To put it all in some sort of order and hopefully you have an
excellent career. If you haven't got that, then it's all over the place.
You also need to have a look at the things you have completed. I think
who has a career that's excellent is Akira. His career seems to have an
order to it and it improves and improves and improves...which is unbelievable.
Akira: Are you talking about me?
Akira: (laughs) No......
Jeremy:That's how everyone observes it.
Akira: Even though the kitchen is on fire, everything
looks fine from the outside. (laughs) No one knows what's going on inside
and we look fine, so maybe that's why we can hide very well...
Jeremy: but as soon as you have your art show at the
Powerhouse Museum or an exhibition in England, it's confirmed that you
have ended up here (gestures with a hand raised high). Do you know what
Akira: I see what you mean.
Jeremy: And the excellent thing is, how you seemed to
have planned that.
Akira: Oh, no, it just happened. But all the inside bits,
we just don't talk about them. All the chaos we hide that too, that's
probably why people believe it's all good.
Jeremy: So as soon as this interview is out, everyone
would go, "ah-ha!"
Akira: People will know the truth (laughs)...
JP: How important it is to Keep up with
Jeremy: Our firm has a store on oxford street, it actually
helps heaps because we have input instantly from everyone in the street.
I hear the individuals in the store and ask them of their inputs. I am
also on the internet heaps-every afternoon interacting with people overseas.
But the idea is to have your own aim, your own view of where it should
head, and only just have the other things as an influence. You have to
have your own vision, otherwise you end up being confused.
Akira: That's right....I totally agree, because without
the vision, you end up being somebody else. It is very important to have
your own signature in your design. But I often find that the clients are
looking for something else. Because if you have clients who strongly follow
the latest trend, they might go somewhere else.
Jeremy: That's true. you always have to excite them.
Akira: Yes, then we can actually offer that. Trend can
offer something else and we can offer that. I think it's good to be aware
of the trend, so that you can offer something else. You should interpret
the trend in your own way and create your style, which would be like your
Jeremy: That is interesting. Because I think in Australia,
there are heaps of individuals who have achieved success, but all they
do is look at what's happening overseas and just imitate that.
Akira: Yes, blatantly too. A lot of people do.
Jeremy: It's unbelievable. I can't understand how that
can actually occur. It is almost a complete copy of what's happening overseas.
And I find that incomprehensible.
Megan: I guess the retailers are asking for that..saying
that's the trend. And it's business.
Jeremy: Have you ever had anyone explaining to you that
your stuff should evolve or change?
Akira: Yes, but you have to be confident with your style.
When I am not clear enough to say that I'm confident enough to offer my
style, that's when I lose it.
Jeremy: That's completely true, isn't it? And I find
that everyone has a view. Everyone has an opinion. If you listen to what
everyone says, from the agent to the consumer, you end up insane and confused.
Akira: What amazes me is companies like Commes des Garçons.
This company has hundreds of employees. So I wondered how would they actually
keep it hands-on, since it is a very reputable company among the designers'
label? And I thought really hard about it. I then came to the conclusion
that, maybe it's possible because the company is based in Japan. That
maybe if you're Japanese, you can surrender your own identity for the
sake of your company, and that's when you can control the whole structure
of the company.
Jeremy: Whereas here, everything is about the individual.
Akira: Yes, everyone's a bit louder.
Jeremy: Yes.that's true actually. that's interesting.
And I think to overcome that, you have to operate with individuals who
understand the ideas of how it's going to end up, that you have an aim
and to understand your vision. The excellent things to have ended up with
an office or an engine that I operate with other people in the company
who are there for the exact same cause. We are all on the same journey.
I find that so helpful. I value Megan's opinions quite a lot, as she knows
me very well. I think if you are on your own, you end up in your own little
headspace and it can end up quite unhealthy. So I think if you have that
team, you grow, I think. When I was going through a stage where I was
getting influenced by different opinions, it was difficult, but all is
under control now.
Akira: Yeah, I had a similar experience. It almost felt
like I was being forced to do something. And I'd rather give up than do
that, instead of having to feel forced. I think being an artist or a fashion
designer means you can get away with a lot of things. That's what I enjoy
most, actually. (laughs) You can afford to be a bit vague and get away
with it (laughs). But a hard part is that people do see you and say"You
are an artist therefore you are like that" People have expectations
of who you are. Being an artist, you can actually enjoy to do something
that's unpredictable. Or break the boundaries, but when people categorise
you, that's a bit difficult. And it's best to move away from that.situation.
To a place where you can feel free.
Jeremy: That's an excellent idea, because you will always
have to confront other people's expectations and perceptions of you. Otherwise
it can almost end up like a trap.
JP: Do you plan to be based in Australia
for the foreseeable future?
Akira: Yes. Living in Australia for me, at the moment,
is an ideal situation. I couldn't think of anywhere else to be based in.
I thought about moving to Paris a few years ago. Since then, I've been
back and forth a few times and whenever I come back here, I feel relieved.
Jeremy: I arrived in Sydney at the age of 6, so it was
hard at first, but it turned out excellent because Australia has the opportunity
to invent who you are. I think you're able to end up as excellent as you
can ever be. The whole idea of the internet has expanded a whole different
opportunity for our company to operate from here and still operate in
other parts of the world. I think if the internet wasn't there, I think
I would have felt at one stage the urge to go overseas and operate my
office from over there.
JP: Do you see yourself getting involved with another
person when you are so committed to your art and business?
Akira: Hopefully, the motivation of being in the relationship
wouldn't be for the sake of the business. If the relationship turns out
like that, then that's fine, too. But wouldn't it be romantic, if you
could give up your own business to be in a relationship?
Jeremy: I think you could have both. You don't have to
Akira: It is romantic to be able to give it all up, though.
Jeremy: Hopefully you could have both... but I have to
say, that is romantic.
Hi Jeremy my name is sharon Campbell and i am currently in my final year
studying Surface Pattern Design at Huddersfield University, England. I
just want to say that i think your work is fantastic! Your a great inspiration
for up and coming designers all around the world and reading your interviews
is so intriguing. I found your website through Spunky (SP:UK) who i am
basing my current project on which is T-shirts designs and canvases based
on Random Dreams, believe me they really are random!
For my market report i am using jeremy Ville and would be really gratefull
if you could answer a few questions for me regarding your company?
hey Sharon! thnx heaps for the feedback and kind
words, very much appreciated here are some answers...hope they are helpful
Who your target consumer is?
anyone who really gets where we are coming from
else they shop?
difficult to say, mostly online or at the
more obscure stores you need to seek out or know about.
What sort of designs are in at the moment?
I'd say more hand drawn stuff, original
concepts, unique voices. something where you know who the designer is.
"That Hansel...he's so hot right now..."
The type of market you aim for?
more and more a global audience, for example
I just wrote a book on designer toys called Vinyl Will Kill, and that
was for anyone into toy culture worldwide. I also have released a toy,
so that is for every one too
How much people are willing to pay for your products?
People seem to be willing to pay good
money for a good idea, or something new and different that has not been
done before. I think price is only really a major issue when you do the
same stuff as everybody else and need to compete on a price level
What have been the most succesful parts of your company?
everything is sucessful for their own reasons,
I don't judge success on monetary terms. For example I might not earn
a huge amount from a toy I design, but it is successful creatively for
me to be involved in it
Where the company is going in the future?
more publishing, more toys, more collaborations,
and a big online store at www.jeremyville.com. please visit soon!
Around how many products are sold worldwide etc?
well the sketchel gallery is up soon and
it will sell about 500 one-off sketchels, as well as lim ed sketchels
by Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup, Fawn Gehweiler, JonBurgerman, Josh Petherick,
and Nathan Jurevicius. So lots of stuff really, like toys, apparel, it
changes all the time
What you inspiration is?
paddling on my canoe around Sydney Harbour,
from where I live at Elizabeth
on 18/7/05 1:58 PM, Alma
Farid at email@example.com wrote:
Hi, my name is Alma and im focusing my year 12 student choice topic in
Visual Art Studies on the Jeremyville Company and Jeremy. i just had a
few questions, which you probably get asked all the time.
Starting a company isn't an easy job, was it difficult in the beginning
stages, and how did you overcome obstacles?
yes I guess it was a bit hard, but I was very focussed on where I wanted
to head, and so it was a very exact thing I needed to do
I didn't doubt myself or where I wanted to head to
how we overcame obstacles was by basically learning from our mistakes,
and not making the same mistakes twice
it is okay to make a few mistakes along the way, they can actually help
you learn, as long as you do in fact learn from them!
Where did the inspiration to start it come
I always knew I wanted to earn a living and have a career from my art,
so the inspiration was to be able to self determine my future and work
how I wanted to work
What influenced the art behind the design?
the idea and the concept comes first, the rest, ie the medium, is a flow
on from that, so the influences are my own personal ideas, my dreams and
intuitive thoughts. I think to be broad with your influences, and be open
to anything, is important
Where did the Design Lab branch off from?
it was a result of wanting to work with big corporate companies, and to
create an engine to be able to service those sorts of blue chip clients.
The core team is me and Neil (directors/owners) and Megan Mair (Associate
Creative Director) plus a core team of freelancers, suppliers, manufacturers
overseas etc. It's a very big network of contacts really.
Do you feel that the company has fulfilled
what it was set out to do?
yes, we are very happy with the various divisions in the company, and
we always fine tune the engine to make it more successful and responsive
to client and market needs. And to our own ambitions and aspirations.
What have been your biggest commissions
I recently created a multi character animation job for MTV Latin America,
which was a 3 month project, and also we do work through DESIGN Lab for
lots of big companies like Channel 10, and I also wrote a big book called
Vinyl Will Kill through IdN publishers, on the designer toy movement.
It is sold all over the world, and is now in its 2nd print run.
What do you think of art patronage?
I think the notion of who an art patron is needs to be broadened for our
age. MTV or Absolut Vodka could be seen as an art patron, as they commission
a work, have some guidelines, and want something fresh and unique and
representational of that artist. Similar to say the Sforzas in Italy commissioning
a Renaissance painter to create a court portrait or to paint a ceiling.
I think the notion of a fine art world as it is, is very old fashioned
and anachronistic. It can be very cliched too. An oil painting in a frame
on a gallery wall is a very cliched medium. It bores me. Also, the gallery
context is a very cliched and loaded forum for viewing art. Something
like a designer 3D vinyl toy excites me, or a great DVD, or a piece of
wonderful technology relating to art. Or a new piece of design software.
It is a new medium, and challenges the notion of what art is. The shock
of the new.
Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'Avignon of 1907 with it's african mask references
was very shocking for its time. It now looks quite 'old fashioned'. Or
Duchamp's urinals. Or Corbusier's Villa Savoye. Some fine artists like
Gormley, Koons, Hirst, Murakami, Tillers, Gascoigne, Peter Aitkins, Opie,
Hayuk, still excite me. Not that one needs to shock all the time, but
one needs to challenge the very notion and medium of art, and what you
are trying to say/do, most of the time. And to broaden the notion of art
patron, to include people like Saatchi who championed his own 'stable'
of artists, and basically invented a market for their work. The commerce
of fine art can be very much like say trading shares, or breeding race
horses. It is a very rarified and self referential pursuit, and open to
all the vagaries of dealing in a commodity. Sometimes it has very little
to do with what we have historically considered the hallmarks of great
art to be.
Have you seen the film 'Girl with a Pearl Earing?" I don't think
much has really changed in the fine art world since then!
just the costumes and the rationalisations.
What are your future aspirations?
to write more books, have more art shows, build up the Jeremyville profile
more internationally, and work more and more on very interesting jobs
through DESIGN Lab.
What's your advice for graphic designers
diversify, don't just do one thing. become multi skilled and fluent in
many disciplines. Also, put away the mouse for a while and just sketch
or draw and think with a pen and notebook.
Thank you very much for taking the time
to answer my questions.
no problems, !!! I hope these answers were helpful Alma
best of luck with the project! you can grab any images off the site if
29/7/05 11:16 PM, Bishop, Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Firstly I appreciate you taking the time to read this.
I am graphic design student at the end of my second year and as always
hungry for information. As a task expected of me this summer in preparation
of forthcoming projects and dissertations, I would like to ask you these
1. How do you define your identity?
concept based, and revolving around my dreamlike visions and characters.
2. How would you identify a lasting style?
when it is memorable, and can be explained in a simple way.
3. How do you identify when your design/artwork
is complete (client and self-published)?
when it feels complete. that is, when it feels right to stop! or when
the client is happy with the end result and it has solved the brief, if
it's a client job.
Once again a pleasure
requesting your knowledge.