Apologies for the infrequency in posts as of late but I've been taking some time away, working on other projects and generally just chilling out a bit more as it's the summer and all that. Nevertheless, here is an interview with illustrator, Ginger Duke Jones for your consumption. He's a self-taught practitioner, interested in organic forms and geometric patterns, portraits and pointillism. Read on below for more.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START ILLUSTRATING AND KNOW WAS IT SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO DO AS A PROFESSION?
I’ve always been interested in art. I studied fine art at college doing a foundation diploma and then enrolled at university, sadly I didn’t feel it was right for me. I spent ten years working different jobs and almost forgetting about drawing. A few years back I picked up a pencil again and started drawing and I remembered how much fun it is to just be free to create whatever you fancy.
A lot of my friends didn’t know I had the skill, so it was a real surprise to them and the encouragement I got was great. I’ve done a few private commissions over the past few years but finding time to fit in with work was difficult. So, finally, at the turn of this year I decided I was packing in my job and dedicating myself full-time to becoming an illustrator.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
I think inspiration can be found anywhere. With the rise of personal technology we all have an instant access to so much. I think social media has been a great help for the small time artist. It instantly shows you what others are doing and, I suppose, creates a competitive atmosphere for me. I like to challenge myself, so following people on Instagram I hold in high regard is a massive help to keep progressing in what I do. The directness of it has opened my eyes to new ways of working and finding influences that you would have before not considered.
I think the development of tattoo art has been a real inspiration. The techniques aren’t as straightforward as they once were. The rise of portrait and dotwork techniques have really opened my eyes. I think it’s evident in my work though, that nature is a massive inspiration to me. The patterns you find. The textures. Being able to make a one-dimensional object come life.
HOW DO YOU GET THE IDEAS FOR YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?
I find a lot of my inspiration in people. An old man on the bus with a great face. With the pointillism technique it’s all about contrasts. So wrinkles are always great to do. And nature, I became obsessed with birds a few years ago. The perfect spread of the feathers was a real challenge for me. But once you get it, you get it!
A lot of the time it’s from scrolling through the internet or Instagram. Then a spark is let off and then it’s down to sketching and see where it takes you. I think that if you know where you are going to end up then you become ignorant to possibilities and you never learn. It’s a constant development. Photography and art exhibitions are obviously a great way to find new ideas and rethink what you thought you knew. And music. It’s a massive passion of mine.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM TO WORK WITH?
Pen and ink. I like painting but that’s more of a time out for me. Getting down to it with a pencil and fully committing in ink is the method for me. I also really like Photoshop. To be able to edit drawings and in some cases take them that extra bit further is a great advantage these days.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
A very large portrait (1000mm x 1000mm) of a friend’s daughter, Freya. It’s taken 16 months so far. It’s a pointillism piece and can be seen on my website. I’d really like to do some artwork for an album or graphic novel in the future though.
CURRENT PLAYLIST AS YOU WORK?
Varies! From Radiohead to early Elton John, from Fleet Foxes to Godspeed You Black Emperor. And if not music then I listen to a lot of TEDTalks and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.
ARE THERE ANY ILLUSTRATORS THAT YOU ARE A FAN OF THAT DESERVE SOME EXPOSURE?
There’s an American guy called Mitch Meseke, who’s work is really playful but still solid. He does great collages too. And I love French. He does a lot of art for different skater brands. I just love how figurative his work is just from the simple use of lines.