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Trippin’ out with Jeremyville

What is Jeremyville?

It’s a project based concept. A place where I can create things like books, art shows, drawings, apparel, toys, animations, street art. Anything. Basically it’s just a place for me to play, invent and grow, and for others to come and visit and hopefully enjoy the projects and the output.

You obviously have a fierce work ethic. What’s your average work day like? 

I try and work smarter rather than harder, I have a great team I work with, and that is the core of it all, working with great people who can multitask. When at my Bondi Beach studio, my day starts early, with a run along the beach, a swim in Summer, breakfast at Icebergs Pool, answer emails while there, sketch, plan, think. Then the day unfolds with various tasks in my intray. It really helps to have a daily intray for me, and a weekly one, so projects are broken down into smaller daily tasks. The evening is a swim or run along the Bondi to Bronte Beach cliff walk. Dinner, then ‘My 2nd Day’ starts again, that’s my expression for when other territories open up, like London and the EU at 6pm, the US around 9pm-11pm, so I speak in real time with clients there, have about 6-8 hours of extra work, like having a 2nd work day. It’s lovely. You have to factor that time difference in if you are in Sydney!  The evening always ends with some drawing in my sketchbook, to clear my head, just open up my mind. Put anything down. Random. let the pen just flow across the page. Stop thinking, just draw. Thats when I think the real art from the real you comes out. It follows a more direct path from your mind to the page.

When in New York, it’s similar, but there’s no ocean! so I run along the Hudson River, my studio loft is in Varick Street SoHo, so it’s not far from the Hudson. I always need to have a studio close to exercise areas like running paths, as that’s my way to clear my mind, and keep energy levels up. Health in creativity is underestimated! I know personally I create and achieve a lot more when I’m fitter.

Your comics are like trippy little vignettes. What is your process with comics/stories? 

Thank you, I’m glad you see them that way. I start with a general notion, then start drawing. I never add words, words to me detract and look more like a ‘traditional comic’, I approach these more like silent, still frames from an art house movie, like an Eraserhead, or Koyaanisqatsi, or Aguirre the Wrath of God, or Paris Texas by Wim Wenders. Films where the emptiness speaks as loudly as the dialog. I try and leave a lot of open space in the frames, both in structure and narrative, and I leave this space for the viewer to pause, add their own atmosphere and nuance. I also try and add a cyclical nature to the silent frames, so the ending could be the beginning. Or you could start the story anywhere along it, and it would still hopefully resonate when you completed the full cycle.  

Who are all of the characters, what are they about? 

I audition my characters like actors for these silent comic stories, they don’t have any dialog, so their presence needs to speak volumes. Not every character makes it through the audition. Most I meet randomly on the streets of Jeremyville, I approach them and ask if they would like to be in a silent comic. I prefer unknown actors to stars. I like the everyman who can portray a certain vulnerability through their presence. Sometimes I will create a whole comic story around a character I’ve met. The Mouse was a classic example, I just had to film his story. much of it is based on what he told me about his life.

What are the different approaches you take to commercial work as opposed to gallery work? 

I don’t see much of a difference, it’s all me. I put as much love and thought into every project i do, be it commercial or for a gallery. I could never do something ‘less well’ , or compromised, just because it has commercial parameters to it. It’s all a part of my output that I am proud of. I never release anything I’m not happy with.

Tell us about your wallet and tee shirt design for Poketo x Club Mumble. Why is it named “The So Far Away”?

I actually have just written 8 story books, this time with words, and ‘The So Far Away’ is an upcoming story, I thought it would be a nice idea to have the product first, then the story later! It’s backwards from how it usually works, but that’s fine.  The book will be released next year. It’s for all ages. 

You do everything from toys to apparel to skate decks to shoes…Does Jeremyville plan to take over the world? What’s on the horizon?

As long as I’m challenging myself, and learning and growing creatively as I go, then anything is valid to explore. I set no limits to my imagination in terms of medium, project, genre, or audience. I think true creativity is not about saying ‘I’m an author’ or ‘I’m a toy designer’, or any other label, it’s about just being. Just expressing yourself, and finding an audience for that output. That output can manifest itself in endless ways. 

Well that’s my view anyway, It of course needs to have a general consistency in vision, and I think everything I do is recognizable as mine. It’s about finding your voice, then learning many languages as you grow. Learning about say the fine art world, is like taking up another language, and trying to master it. It’s still your voice, but you speak in a different way. 

Part of the Poketo x Club Mumble project entails a re-release of Ground Beef, a skate zine from 1985, produced by my brother Tony Vadakan. Its contents explore art, friends, music, being young, community, and of course, skating. We sent you a copy… what kind of nostalgic anecdotes do you have about being young and skating? 

Awesome zine by the way, I loved the young Mark Gonzales interview. I grew up in Wonderland Avenue Tamarama, which is a beach side suburb in Sydney Australia, next beach down from Bondi Beach. So I grew up hanging out at the beach, riding down the hill from Bondi Road, eating potato scallops and milkshakes from Bates Milk Bar, swimming in Icebergs Pool. Bondi was such a quiet, sleepy seaside suburb when I grew up there, it sure has changed, but I like connecting with long time locals when I can, and keep the faith. There was a time when you could just ride your board down the middle of the street and cars just waited for you. Now cars rule the roads, riders should reclaim the streets. I think freedom and a carefree, revolutionary way of life needs to be renewed in our society. Everyone seems a lot more uptight, conservative. I think the world should just chill, and relax more. Stay Furry ! :)

My new studio is on Lamrock Ave and Campbell Parade, right on Bondi Beach, and I can see and hear the skate park right near me. It’s awesome, the kids are so much cooler these days, I was never that cool as a kid! I was very introverted, kept to myself, didn’t really hang out with a crew. Nowadays I see lots more crews, back then for me it was like, just riding because I needed to, just wanted to. No other reason. There was no huge skate scene when I grew up, that all came later. Now the Bondi Beach skate park holds many international skate events, riding is huge now in Bondi. 

Check out Jeremyville’s Poketo wallet and tee shirt!

More from Jeremyville at Jeremyville.com.

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