We're very proud to have the lovely Englishman Jon Burgerman grace our editorial this month. A "NYC based artist interested in instigating improvisation and play through drawing and spectacle", Jon is one of the most creative, talented and friendly artists we've ever encountered.
Having developed an incredibly distinctive style over the years, Jon is widely regarded as the king of doodles (amongst other things) - a title many aspiring artist would love to have - and has garnered the attention from the likes of heavy-weight giants Adidas, Pepsi and Levis.
His work is so good that it's taken on a life of its own, having been reborn into toys, posters, prints, stickers, wallpapers, snowboards and iPhone cases.
I've just completed a big tour around Southeast Asia, with a little bit of South Korea added on the side. I went to Bangkok, Manila, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, then I went to Seoul and Busan in Korea. I gave lectures, ran workshops, made murals and had exhibitions of my art. It was exciting, enlightening, an adventure and exhausting! It was put together by CG+ magazine in Thailand with Wacom, Canon and the British Council. Then I went to Brighton and spoke at the Reasons To Be Creative festival and had a solo exhibition at Ink-d Gallery. I'm now finally home and a bit pooped.
What's it like to be living and working in NYC?
It's quite amazing. I get up every morning in New York and I have a coffee and walk with Woody Allen. Then I work and email for a bit and head for lunch at a local dinner, with my friends George, Jerry and Elaine. I work most of the day but I try and ensure that I take time away from studio based work and go out and seek fun in the city.
At night I like to openings with my ghost friends Andy and Jean-Michael, parties, restaurants, shows and sometimes just wandering around not really knowing what I'm going to see. Occasionally I'll go to Jay-Z's 'crib' to 'hang', he lets me call him Jay-Zed too, which is nice.
When did you first get into illustration and design?
By accident of course! I studied fine art at university in Nottingham. After I graduated a design studio asked me to paint a cover for an album by Charles Webster. I'd never really been paid to make artwork before. I liked the concept as it meant I could pay the heating bill.
Following that I picked up a few more commissions here and there and soon I left my job and went freelancing full time. I've been freelance for over 10 years now and my practice is a mix of art making and commercial commissions, performing and pleading. I need to do a little of everything to keep my interest alive and continue to pay that heating bill.
What drew you to this medium?
Who doesn't like getting attention (for your work) and getting paid at the same time?! That being said it's a careful balancing act of what work you say yes to and what you turn down. It's good not to over milk the cow, you need to keep the juicy udders supple and full of fresh cream. (I'm the cow in this analogy by the way.)
How would you describe your work?
It's super playful and bubbly, is that a reflection of your personality? It's a reflection of one side of my personality I'm sure. The work also has a bit of a strange edge and some humour and a little sprinkling of darkness from time to time too, if you look out for it.
I try and keep things interesting and fun, I'll never be one of those artists that stick to just one way of working. Even if I wanted to do that I don't think I could. I'm not very disciplined and am very easily distracted.
Can you run us through your thought process when creating a new piece?
Blind panic - nervousness - realisation - acceptance - snacking - scribbling down ideas - napping - reviewing ideas - realising final idea - praying for a good out come - being disappointed in myself but too lazy to start over again - the end.
What are some of your major influences?
I'm influenced by so many different things. Influences move in and out of favour too. Sometimes I'm into old comics, then weird music, then some artworks I saw, then food wrappers then... It keeps moving along, I keep bits of things I like in my head, like an old hard drive, and then move on to the next thing. I have a shotgun scattergun approach to things. It's a smash and grab. The internet and TV has ruined me. I want to see everything, all at once.
Are there any artists you particular draw from?
People reference other artists in my work that I never particularly loved when I was younger but who have some how resonated in my work. People love to mention Picasso (or cubism as a whole) and Keith Haring. Growing up I was more into Basquiat, Miro and Schwitters.
Who are some of your favourite artists right now?
There are so many, it's amazing! And it makes me cry. There's probably so many just in my neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Some would include You Byun, Kevin Waldron, Eddie Martinez, Bryony Kimmings, Ping Zhu, Ted Parker, Genevieve Gauckler, Aakash Nihalani, Saner, Ted McGrath, Oliver Hibert, Annie Collinge... it goes on and on, loads!
Whose a dream client you would love to work with?
I want to make either Hot Air balloons or massive Cakes or a children's Playground or a video game. Any cool, interesting client that could make any of these happen please get in touch!
What's a typical day for you?
Sneezing, sleeping, laughing, weeping.
Cleaning, dreaming, scheming, steaming.
Trying, lying, sighing, buying (fruit and vegetables).
My favourite band right now is… Being at home and not wearing any trousers.
The last good movie I saw was… Mud. I saw it on the airplane, it was ok. The last movie I paid to see was Alpha Papa, the Alan Partridge movie. I have never laughed so much in the cinema. I hurt from laughing at some points.
My bed is the most delicious thing I've laid eyes on. It was there waiting for me once I got back from my trip. I lay down on her soft sheets and rested my head on her pillow and slept like a tired frog on a log.
I hate it when… I forget what I'm meant to be doing.
I wish I could… stop people doing stupid things to each other.
After a long hard days work I like to unwind by… drawing. Oh wait that's work in a way... oups. I never unwind, I un-wind (a side-effect of being a bean loving vegetarian)