Friday, 14 January 2011

James Unsworth

There is so much of this type of illustration in the world that it's tempting to write it all off as nothing more than "more of that scrawly grotesque Shrigley-ish shit", well, it's tempting for me anyway, because I'm a bit jaded.


Anyway, one of those ubiquitous Don't Panic posters showed up when I was clearing out some old boxes of stuff 'n' junk. The one with James Unsworth's name on it almost went in the bin before I'd read his name.


I'm glad I did read his name now, and then google it. His stuff is mind boggling. I don't know if it's the common motifs like the maximalist, psychedelic pen-line elements or what that makes me almost cringe at seeing 'more' of this kind of stuff everywhere (exhibit A), but on closer inspection I am often left feeling like a fool for being so quick to judge. It might just be the doodle-factor. There is a readable kind of rawness to this type of drawing, I think, like you can plainly see the oodles of blase, unconcerned talent just sitting there, dribbling all over the page, smoking a spliff, listening to weird music and not really giving a toss what you think unless it's something good and you want to pay it to be on your album cover.

Does this 'genre' or style of contemporary illustration have a name? Will it ever? Does it need one? Am I five years too late? Are there already way too many versed practitioners for the movement to even need torchbearers? Is anyone reading this? Should I go to bed? Should I start learning to enjoy drawing again?


Here is an interview with James from 2007, which gloriously and matter of factly confirms him (in as much as you (read:I) could possibly gather from a brief interview) as almost exactly the sort of dude in the sort of world that I imagined him to be. Well done him, well done his work, and well done my imagination. What a lovely little love (read:stoned) triangle.

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