Jack is the founder of the conceptually entitled website ‘Go Bad Nomad’, which serves as an outlet to showcase his talents as a freelance illustrator and designer. His inspirations include smudged make-up, dramatic skies, drug scandals and the 1980’s (which I of course share) and he shall shortly be launching his printed clothing line. A pretty admirably ambitious chap if you consider that he shall debut this enterprise following just completing his first year of a Diploma in fine art. So a few days subsequent to celebrating his 17th Birthday, we convene outside a pub in Hoxton, to sip Coke and discuss his work and aspirations.
I had half expected Jack to be a puppyish poppet/overly buoyant boy whom I'd quite likely have a proclivity to want to adopt as a creative younger brother figure; its quite a curious thing really that elder sisters more youthful male sibling remains ever sixteen in her mind. But there had been nothing infantile in his decorum until now instead he merely has hitherto came across in our earlier communications and from his blog as overflowing with ideas and delirious excitement. Which, when it comes to his creativity and hopes for the future, he certainly is. But in person he is an exceptionally mild-mannered and mature young man. He admits that this is her first interview unless you count one he had on the street earlier today conducted by a juice company. When quizzed on how it went he confessed 'I was far from impressed, they didn't even offer me any juice'. I therefore hoped that mine fared better in his eyes especially as I had given him Coca- Cola without later asking his opinion on it or whether he prefers Pepsi.
So tell me how did you come to pursue an artistic path initially?
I think I’ve always had my heart set on art since a very young age, I recall that even throughout school I was always drawing. I opted for double art at GCSE and at college I was going to do an art and design course but decided to do Fine Art as it teaches me more traditional techniques. In the past couple of years I have made a film and done some sculpture.
Tell me what you are doing at the moment?
I am studying at Kings Lynn College of West Anglia and doing Summer School at St Martins, perhaps to sample it before I have to make my University applications. When considering my speciality, at the moment I'm fairly open to anything from Fashion to Graphic Design to Art.
Describe your work?
Of presiding interest for me is contemporary illustration and experimenting with mixed media. I like street art. I think my work has elements of it, but I’ve brought it to the canvas. Recent influences are the media and the concept of celebrity, for example in this picture (above) I am showing the two sides of the media, the more serious aspect is indicated by the Newsprint and the glossy images show the superficial elements but I wanted to reveal the interplay at hand by merging these together.
You've also been dabbling in Fashion?
Yes, I've been customising glasses and I've done three illustrations for the winter collection of the Brat and Susie Clothing Line which has just done a deal with Dorothy Perkins.
Tell me about how the business side has come together?
Only two months ago, did I get the website up and running and it has been really overwhelming the interest in my work. I am not really ashamed to say it but I think one of the ways it has grown so fast has been social networking. I’ve been proactive, I’d say I’m quite driven, my own manager in a sense. I have had to become a professional person which is quite different from my normal self. I may have only turned 17 on the 30th July but I think looking older than I am has helped me as people take me more seriously. I think being more professional has certainly encouraged people to take notice, in fact I find it quite annoying to see talented people just fritter their skill and opportunities away.
Where did you get the name for your website from?
That was quite a spontaneous idea; it was formerly go mad nomad, but then bad seemed to have a better ring to it.
For me it conveys this idea of you as something of a wandering minstrel creating chaos.
Where do you live?
Lincolnshire, near Peterborough, it’s total countryside and very dull for a creative person like me there and because I dress in an eccentric way, I am constantly stared at by the local farmers. I want to come to London and feel less of an outsider though I don’t have a desire to conform neither will I feel compelled to distil my personality or style to fit in. I'm more of a city boy at heart even though I’ve been in the country my whole life.
Perhaps the lack of exciting things to do has helped you to optimize your creative faculties?
My desperation to come to city life or change my life or not to be stuck in the same place has driven me to get my name out there as an artist.
What do your family think of your career choices?
My family are all really supportive and quite creative too. Even though there has been a tradition of teaching through the generations which I am keen to break free from. My grandparents are particularly into art and I often go to galleries with my granddad.
Do you think you are going to struggle to combine your studies in addition to your work?
I hope to stay on top of things. I would like to do an exhibition, I will hopefully manage. I know I at least won't be squandering my time, that’s for sure. Would maybe like to work in Magazines.
Your idea of a perfect day?
Sleeping in and getting up in the afternoon. Ideally in a city, say London, go to some vintage shops in Brick Lane, buy lots of things, meet with friends, then go for a night on the town, in some underground art club like Andy Warhol’s Factory, In fact, I'd like to recreate a place like that one day.
Do you think creativity is a transferable skill?
I think if you are a creative person and you can draw quite well then there is good chance that you will be a good photographer as you understand the dynamics of how a picture might work. But there are some photographers who can’t draw at all or artists who try and make films and fail miserably.
What would you give as a definition for something to constitute as art?
If you have a good enough reason to call it art then you can call it art. For example Tracey Emin’s Unmade Bed, many people fobbed it off as a mundane object and lazy pretentiousness but when she explained the deeper meaning behind it, that it were to do with her emotional struggles, in this context its artistic merits are evident.
Any particular genres of art that you think are more worthy of such accolades?
I do like some of the traditional stuff, the fine-arts say and a lot of contemporary art but I don’t like all contemporary art as there are some works that do not show any artistic skill. Art should show that you’ve got skill or talent or that you know what you’re doing but some so-called artists make it for the sake of making art or to make money or just for the wrong reasons.
What do you think are the right reasons?
I think art is supposed to create a reaction in someone, be it good or bad, it just needs to hit a nerve or make people think about it. Art should be thought-provoking and artists should want to inspire thought.
Do you think art should attempt to be an expression of the soul or the depiction of universals?
Yeah, art can be quite personal; it can depict the artist's emotional state and reveal the truth.
What do you think of the current art scene?
I think it’s quite inspiring. People constantly and suddenly appearing into the light and doing interesting things. There are some very inspiring photographers, designers and artists who have made me want to do what I do. In particular I like the work of photographer David La Chapelle, his work is really quite different and interesting and then you’ve got people who aren’t necessarily artists but icons who are quite creative, such as perhaps Lady Gaga or Peter Doherty. These people serve as inspiration to the masses. You could call them artists actually.
When I asked whether he thought art should be uplifting he replied "I don’t think the effects of art on people have to be necessarily positive. It has to have a message, I suppose, good or bad." Then agreeing with me that a lot of art is quite dark and then gave the example of Franco B, "he shockingly put taps on his wrists and walked up and down the catwalk with blood streaming down, as he had AIDS, so he was trying to make an ironic point about how AIDS affects people."
Do you think the recession has helped people get back to creativity? People have become less consumers and more creators?
Definitely because the whole basis of pop art was commentating on consumerism but in recent times consumerism has had to take a back seat. So people are looking at different ways of expressing themselves.