– by Julianne De Souza
James Cooper is the 21-year-old artist and illustrator behind JERKFVCE. With a ‘good-bad-creepy-cute’ style inspired by cartoons, bad graffiti and Japan, his eye-catching work is steadily popping up in various places around Perth. Colosoul recently chatted with James to discuss his so-called ‘crude scribbles’, his inspirations and his plans for the future.
How did you get started in art? I can’t remember not drawing and making things; I’ve always done it. I watched a lot of Beavis and Butthead, Ren & Stimpy and David Firth cartoons during high school, which had a big influence on how I approach my work now. I spent most of my time in school filling notebooks with crude scribbles, which followed on to me going to university to study art where I continued to fill notebooks with crude scribbles.
What kind of art do you do? Which media do you use? Low-brow illustration. A lot of my work is made with a mixture of ink, pencils, paints, collage and digital editing.
How would you describe your style? Good-bad-creepy-cute.
What inspires you? I really like bad graffiti and toilet wall drawings; artwork that is really unpolished and has a sort of rough, crude aspect to it makes me want to make work. Recently I have been very inspired by a trip to Japan where everything is super cute, neon and pastel. People watching and Tim and Eric are also pretty good for ideas. My girlfriend, Mariaan
, is a fashion and textiles student so a lot of the colours and collections she looks at often seep into my work. I try and take as much inspiration as I can from as many things as possible so my work doesn’t get stale and I don’t become bored. I never know when something will inspire my work so I always carry my drawing book with me.
Do you have a favourite piece that you have painted? It’s hard to say because I feel like I’m always trying to improve and change how I work. Usually my favourite work is quick, unpolished drawings I’ve done in my sketchbooks. I was happy with a drawing I did last week of a hairy-legged man dressed as a ghost standing next to a bin.
Do you have any favourite artists? Right now I am super inspired by these artists (I can’t choose a favourite because I love them all so here is a long list): Otto Splotch, Misaki Kawai, HTML Flowers, Patrick Kyle, Andy Rementer, Kjersti Johanne Barli, Malarko, Joakim Ojanen, THTF, Joe42, Ryan Mcshane, Geometric Bang, Will Laren, Jack Sachs, Horfee, Ekta, Cleon Peterson, 3ttman, Zosen; and locally, Girl the Toy, Martin E Wills, Nick Zafir, ALEX and Carla Adams.
What do you think has been your greatest achievement to date? I recently got the chance to paint on William Street, Northbridge with Amok Island, Misery and Martin E Wills, who are all artists I really admire.
What are your plans for the future? I’m really interested in studying graphic design next year and learning how to use Adobe to a better degree. I want to collaborate with more artists and continue producing as much work as I can.