This week we grab a coffee with graphic artist Jamie Twyman to chat about his entrance into the art world.

Your work contains technological motifs within the human figure. Is there a broader significance to this? A comment on society perhaps?

I use technology and machinery in my work, not only to contrast the human figure, but to highlight the ever increasing use of machines in our lives. I'm also fascinated as to where our technology might end up, with new break throughs on the horizon...

Did you go to art school?

No, I only studied up to A-level at a technological school. I was encouraged to pursue art as a degree, but for some reason I decided not to.

Are you happy to have progressed in the way you did, without being changed by someone else’s opinions?

Definitely, though I feel like if you don’t have a degree in arts or a strong foundation like that you can be left out of a lot of situations, especially when it comes to selling work. People are looking for post-graduates, and people who have studied, so that has been tough as a self-taught artist.

When did you realise you wanted to be an artist?

It’s something I’ve always done since I was very young like 5 or 6, after my A-level experience I didn’t pick a pen or pencil for something like 15 years. It’s only recently, probably the last 2 years that I have decided to have a proper go at it.

Tell us about your work as an event designer.

It’s not my main earner; it’s something I have been trying to get into on a freelance basis for about a year. I’ve been running both my artistic design along with the corporate events design at the same time. My professional background has been in live events, either as a technician, or later, in some design work. It made sense, as I wanted to do 3D design, to go into an industry that I know and have a background in.

Are you full time now?

Not quite, I’m nearly there, in terms of revenue its very tough to make a full time living out of art. If I was to do an exhibition every month then yes it could be possible, but certainly not yet.

Which artist’s work do you take the most inspiration from?

That’s a tough one, but I’m quite into Syd Mead who is like an industrial futurist, and Bryan Olson who is a collage artist; those two would be my main source of inspiration.

Why digital collage?

When I did an album cover for a friend who was releasing an LP I decided to use it as I had dabbled with it before. Prior to that I had done some hand cut collage work, but as the technology has developed in the last five years I have really found that I have been able to push the boundaries in terms of layering and the complexity of my work.

As your art form is primarily digital it must be an important decision deciding on your printing process.

It is. I use Giclée on archival paper, usually made to order. I’d love to be able to afford a whole run of each image, but unfortunately I don’t have the storage or funds to work that way.

Have you sold a lot through your website?

I’ve sold a few, since February about 10 or so prints.

When did you sell your first artwork?

My first sale was 5 years ago and a friend commissioned a large acrylic canvas and then nothing until my first exhibition, which was this February at the Horsebridge Centre in Whitstable.

What do you think the most pivotal part of your career so far?

I’ve only had two main exhibitions thus far, but I think the Urban Art Fair in Brixton, which was my second, was a great experience. To follow up on the first with an equivalent success was something that made me believe I that I could do this.

It there a specific type of person which your work attracts,

Not necessarily, it has ranged from old men really taking an interest to tiny kids who walk up and are caught by the imagery. It’s probably more personality than the age, which attracts people to my work.

What do you think the hardest thing about being an artist is?

Probably finding inspiration, this can be very hard, and also the ability to change, develop your style and push into new areas. Though I use inspiration from Music and film to get ideas for my work, also life and my daily experience feeds into what I do.

What advice would you give to someone trying to make a career in the arts?

Find your style and what you are good at doing and really try to nail it. There are so many great artists, but you have to find your own voice and get really good at expressing it. 

 

Jamie will be exhibiting his digital collages at our second groundbreaking exhibition The Londoner's Compass this October.