Scribble Artist Interview with Lewie JPD!
Scribble Town (ST): Lewie JPD said hello to us on the Scribble Town Facebook page one day and I am so happy he did! Lewie JPD is a cutting edge visual artist who has lived and worked in Sydney, Tokyo and Los Angeles. His work is a hybrid of imageries – pop, surrealism, collage and comic art – blended together to create zany worlds and characters. His strong use of color and free-styling, casual brush work come together to form eye-catching images that are unique and highly imaginative.
In the midst of excitement where are you and what are you up to these days?
Lewie JPD (JPD): Currently, I’m living in Sydney, Australia, by the beach. Everyday I spend time looking at the clouds and the ocean.
They’re always changing and are magnificent inspiration on a visual level. Of course, I have to dive in to the ocean and swim, too; everyday! Artistically, although trained as a painter, I have spent the last year creating all my new works digitally – on my cell phone! It is a large screen Samsung Galaxy Note and it has a stylus and a wonderful program called SMemo which I use to make art.
ST: That is quite a transition to go from painting to cell phones. I’m so curious to see your new line of work! You have traveled a lot and have mentioned that you grew up in Japan. How have living and being exposed to other cultures influenced your work, if any?
JPD: Growing up in Tokyo was a huge influence – not only on my art – but on my life. I moved to Tokyo when I was ten and stayed till I was eighteen. Then I came back to Australia for art school. Soon after I moved back to Japan where I worked as an illustrator for six years. Tokyo is a very exciting, dynamic city and the Japanese people are thoughtful and kind, innovative and hard working. Culturally, they are incredibly evolved and inspirational. I was lucky to be able to speak Japanese and have been very positively influenced by some wonderful, talented people there.
ST: Artistically Tokyo has so much to offer, as well! Is that how you discovered your love for drawing and painting?
JPD: I pretty much discovered drawing and painting on my own. Growing up in Tokyo in the 70′s, we had access to second hand American comics from a book shop in Roppongi – not far from a US base. Over six years, my brothers and I collected well over 3,000 of them – not only well know titles like Archie, Superman, Wonder Woman and Mad, but also, more obscure, equally entertaining ones like Swamp Thing, Sergeant Rock, Richie Rich and Cracked. We loved comics! I guess all those images rubbed off on me and I began to do some drawings and simple comics of my own from around the age of thirteen.
ST: I think your Dancing Fishface would be a great protagonist for a comic. Maybe another future project. I noticed that you even make films! How did this medium come into your repertoire?
JPD: Film making, too, I think, is an extension of all the comic (and book!) reading. Simultaneously to drawing, I began writing short stories in my early teens which lead to writing and publishing humorous zines (20 or 30 pages, photocopied, handmade, editions of 200 – with titles such as Free Spirit and Idle).
I then went on to writing and making short films in my late twenties; animation, comedy radio shows and later, after studying screenwriting at UCLA, feature films.
My latest feature – a coming of age story set in Tokyo – is yet to be produced – but I am confident it will, eventually! Film is a fantastic medium full of inventive and inspired collaboration. I usually make one or two shorts a year on video just for fun and practice.
ST: This is a loaded question, but which filmmakers do you like?
JPD: My biggest influences from the early days are David Lynch’s, Eraserhead + Martin Scorcese’s, Taxi Driver + Robert Altman’s, Nashville + Akira Kurosawa’s, Seven Samurai. These days I think all the great energy is in TV series, not only big dramatic shows like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad – but also great comedy shows like Community, 30 Rock and The Office. Laughing is the best!
ST: The rumors are right- laughing is the best medicine!
What is the process of designing like when you create murals? The murals, tables, and benches you painted at Harry’s Espresso Bar are amazing! There must be a huge amount of planning when creating on such a large scale.
JPD: When it comes to art, I am not really a planner. I love to dive in and create things out of nothing, to be in the moment. I have been doing it now for over thirty years – that’s a lot of practice! – so I have enough confidence that even for big jobs like the work commissioned by Harry’s in Bondi Beach, I can just turn up, after a body surf and a coffee, with my bag of paints. I am amped with a positive attitude and start creating, going with the flow.
ST: Earlier you said that everyday you are inspired. Living by the beautiful beach in Sydney encourages that! How do these pops of inspiration come about?
JPD: I create every day. I carry a pocket size journal with me everywhere – for notes, ideas, comics and doodles – and I have been doing this since my twenties. For me, life and creativity are the same thing. Inspiration is everywhere. Ideas zing around all the time and pop in from nowhere. I spend a lot of time in libraries, cafes and also travelling. On the net, I constantly seek and find works of wonderful artists and get inspired that way, too.
ST: What other forms of art do you practice?
JPD: As I mentioned earlier, these days, I have been able to carry my art studio with me – in the form of my cell phone. I get pleasure from making new images everyday. Most days, I spend between three to four hours – and to since April last year, I have made 1,700 new works. Over the years, I have had various artist studio spaces, where I have worked on large style canvases and drawings for exhibitions, but lately I have been leading a more gypsy-like existence. Art on the go. Suits me well. The joy of expression takes many forms.
ST: Lewie JPD has a new solo exhibition of his latest work – and it’s a world first! – with all of the 28 featured art pieces created on his mobile phone – opening in Sydney at Deus Cafe gallery – 98 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown, Sydney on June 26th, 2013. His website is http://www.lewiejpd.com. Be there!
For another boost of encouragement and confidence to just start creating please go to the Scribble Shop http://www.scribbleshop.com/content/lewie-jpds-words-inspiration. Thanks Lewie JPD!