An Interview with Jimmy C

We caught up with the man who has been gracing our London streets with his stylistic photorealism, the man behind the ‘bubble’ effect pieces – introducing Jimmy C.

Hit more for the interview.

Tell us a little bit about you and your style.
I am an artist originally from Australia and currently living in London, working on the street and in the studio. My work tends to explore the human subject in the context of the urban environment. The style I developed was a form of pointillism, which I called the drip paintings, where the image is made up of individual drips of spray paint.

How did your distinctive ‘bubble’ style develop?
This was a development of my drip paintings, I started to enlarge the dots or drips into circles, and then I started to play with the idea of the circles becoming spheres, like atoms, a kind of atomic pointillism, where the subject started to break apart or atomise. Some people see them as bubbles, and I like when the work becomes suggestive or open for interpretation in this way.

Are your characters based on real people?
Almost all of the time they have been inspired from real people, and for a long time I was interested in the marginalised human subject, such as the homeless people in the city.

So are they a comment on society?
A lot of them are, but in a more subtle and poetic way. I have often looked at the individual (marginalised) in society and how they find meaning in their life.

Did you study art?
I did go to art school, and most of what I learnt was through my own travels and visits to art museums, with an interest at that time in oil painting and figurative realism.

You paint in the streets but have also been exhibiting for over 10 years now; where did it all begin?
The street is actually where I started painting over 20 years ago, but I have had a recent return to painting on the street in recent years. I started painting around 1989 as a graffiti writer and later went to art school, and for the next 10 years or so I was doing a lot of mural commissions and co-ordinating aerosol art workshops in Australia. I was exhibiting in galleries also, and then after moving to London, I was inspired to reconnect to the street again.

Do you prefer producing work on canvas for shows or the throwaway nature of creating street art?
They both have their values, and for me I seem to have a good balance between working on the street and in the studio. Painting on the street is liberating for me, because in a sense you give the work away, and you cannot be precious about it in anyway. The street also creates completely different formal qualities for the work in terms of scale and textures, which can be nice but sometimes it can also be a hindrance. Working with galleries can be good also in terms of bringing the work to a different audience, and having to consolidate a body of work.

What’s next for you – any shows coming up?
I have currently have an exhibition in Paris, and here in London I am putting new work on the street. I will try to get an exhibition done for Australia at the end of the year.

Anything else you think we should know?
I recently got back from Berlin where I painted a few walls across the city, including a new version of my Artist’s Tears painting, first painted exactly 10 years ago. This is an important piece to me as it merged my interests in figurative realism with graffiti and street art, so it was good to reintroduce it to a new audience.

I’ve also just finished a new wall in London near Brick Lane, which is kind of comment/homage/critique of the current Damian Hirst show at the Tate, in particular his diamond skull, For the Love of God. I have painted my own version of a skull in a street pop style using fluorescent paint made up of hundreds of individual dots, and this one has been painted on the street for free!

The remaining few hand-finished prints of Jimmy C’s ‘The Artist’s Tears’ are available through No Way Art Projects.