Jay Wright is someone we’ve been looking at for a long time and his work keeps on getting better and better – In a really short space of time, too. Maybe by the end of the year he’ll have exploded from being too good. His work balances real outsider influences – lots of comic dudes – with some nods, I think, to more formal or classical drawing and techniques. I think it’s interesting he mentions carpentry below – there’s a sense of that anal-ness you need to be a carpenter in his work. He also moved to Berlin reasonably recently and we wanted to talk to him about being a creative over there…
Hi Jay, how are tricks? Good thanks. It felt like the first day of spring today, so I went to play table tennis in the park. Unfortunately I lost.
You’ve been living in Berlin for a little while now, how does your experience of being a commercial creative differ there than in London? Well, I guess for me (and a lot of people) it’s about the price of life. The fact that food and rent alone is cheaper just equates to a better quality of life, and more time. There is no ball bustin’ in the grind to make rent here. A lot of people I know in London find it a bit of a battle with the rent, and this seems to eat people’s time. Saying that, some people love that hustle side of London. It probably really drives people to push themselves and never let things slip. The high rents are actually the only reason I don’t live there myself, and I really respect people who work hard and do well there. I would love to live in London one day. I have invested a lot of energy into Berlin and love living here. I don’t think this city is for everyone, especially if you don’t have a strict-ish work ethic. But, having more time, more space and a slower paced life allows me to just make more. It’s the style of life that suits me perfectly at the moment.
Tell us a little bit about Idiom Ed… Idiom Ed is sort of the spawn of a commercial job I did last year. It was a piece on intelligence misconceptions for a Swiss magazine called Das Magazin. As the subject matter was intelligence I came up with a character for the editorial that was just a head, and since then he kept coming up in my sketchbooks. I recently wanted to start a long-term personal project on Instagram. Something that runs every Friday, without fail. I thought it would be cool to treat Instagram as a more direct publishing tool. The theme had to be something that had almost infinite content, so I chose idioms. Ed was the perfect person to play them out in a goofy human way each Friday. I guess idioms have been on my mind as I went through (and still am) learning German. They are often the most difficult things to grasp when learning a new language. But, I think most of all because idioms are visually rich and most of the time just nice and strange.
Your 3D work is dope. How do you feel your work translates to this, and is it something you’ve explored commercially? The 3D work was, and still is a very natural thing for me to make. After I finished school I worked as a carpenter for three years. The skills I gained in this time lay dormant, and I only used them for dumb crap like putting up shelves and fixing a cupboard door. After I finished studying at university I really worked hard trying to become an illustrator, then, I freaked out after two illustrator guy years and wanted to formulate a balance between being an artist and working commercially. This was the catalyst for making the wood sculptures and furniture I guess. I would love to make more work out of wood (and clay actually). Over the past few years there have been a few possible jobs in set design, but they never seem to work out in the end. In a away, I think the sculptural work is always very personal in terms of theme and therefore a bit weird. It’s maybe not stuff that people would use commercially. But, my dream job is to design a huge children’s play park with loads of weird climbing frames and slides.
Whose work are you feeling at the mo? And all time? Recently I have been on a Haruku Murakami reading stint. I love his books. The great references to popular culture and the way he slows down the writing to describe characters clothes and hair in amazing detail. My girlfriend is a Flemish artist and she showed me a Dutch artist called Joost Conijn. He’s brilliant. He built a car out of wood, and drove it across Eastern Europe. Before the car he also built a plane out of bike bits, a washing machine and a motorbike, and other bits and bobs, then just flew it to Kenya. Such a good sense of ambition and adventure. I don’t know why, and it sounds weird, but I love it when people make stuff that you can get inside. I’m going to try and do more of that I think. All time greats: Misaki Kawai, Clementine Hunter, CF, Abner Graboff, Ronald and Jesse Cooper and Mark Beyer.
Top spot for snacks in Berlin? 1. Sahara – The best €2.50 go-to peanut sauce falafel in Berlin. 2. Hamy Café – Vietnamese food. Consistent. Cheap. Tasty. 3. Cocolos – Very, very good Japanese ramen place. 4. Burrito Baby – The burritos are the size of babys 5. Burgermeister – The best burger I ever had. (Every time I go) Honorable mentions: Falafel at Görlitzer Bahnhof. Musashi on Kottbusser damm. Pizza a Pezzi in Neukölln. Tibet House
What’s coming up? There are a few things coming up. Maybe an agency opportunity and an exciting skateboard collaboration. But, in general, just keep on truckin’. Hopefully, more 3D work. (Bigger 3D work that you can climb into) Or just lay under. Or even sit near. Cheers Jay. Check out Jay’s site here, and follow his ass on Instagram to get more Idiom Ed action….