Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tues 25th Aug: Jim Stoten

It is the closest thing to what is going on in my head but im still perplexed as to what the hell is actually going on inside Jim's?!
In his solo show that opened last week there was a turtle with the face of George Harrison and cowboy's riding seahorses..........it takes aproximately 10 mins to decode each artwork and involuntarily laugh at the hidden gems within each complex and intricate drawing. Im not going to waffle on anymore and just hand you straight over to the interview which is GREAT!!!!!!! Thankyou for your time in answering Jim..............look out David Bowie! Skip straight to question 6 if you want the best first

1) Favourite picture book as a child (illustrator) and why?

I loved Richard Scarry books when I was really little. All the hippos and foxes driving fire engines and climbing ladders. I also liked The Beano annuals and Fungus the Bogie man. But I think my favorite picture book was called The Tiger that came to tea. I loved it when they sat at the table together and ate tiny cakes and drank tea from a tea pot in little china cups. The tiger just eats everything on the table. It's such a weird idea that a Tiger should come to visit randomly and eat you out of house and home, but not eat you or your house and home. I still love it now.

2) Was there something else you saw as a child that has influenced you style? (I inherited furniture decorated with stickers from the 70's that undoubtedly influenced me............rainbow shooting stars and cosmic hippos.........)

Well, yes, probably. But not consciously. All I can tell you is that I watched a lot of cartoons when I was little. I absolutely loved children's television when I was little. The was so much variety and so many good ideas and strange images. I loved Jamie and the Magic torch, Fantastic Max, Button Moon, Ivor the Engine, Bananaman, Defenders of the Earth, Knightmare, Centurions, M.A.S.K, He-Man and The City of Gold. But I was totally obsessed with Laurel and Hardy over everything. I used to love drawing them. I think I was entertained purely by their contrasting body shapes primarily.

3) Whats the best thing you have seen recently? (literally anything that's just tickled you)

I was very happy last Thursday on the night of my Private view in Covent Garden. There were so many people there from all different times in my life. That was brilliant.

4) Whats your favourite new material / tool to use?

I really love pens and I think I will always use them. But recently, I am using a lot of collage. I just like how much like playing it is. My girlfriend bought me a special pair of collage scissors. They are my new favorite thing to use while I am working.

5) If you could bring out a toy what would it be? Collectable miniature or soft toy..............which character?

It would be one of those wind up tin toys and it would be frankenstein on a bike and you would wind him up and he would ride around and his brain would go in and out of the top of his head like a flip top lid.

6) In the illustration on your new business card there are lots of characters swimming around...........what would be your dream inflatable if you could design one for a kid on holiday?

I would love to make a massive bright orange inflatable horse that you get in and put your legs through two holes at the bottom so you can walk around with it on you outside the pool. But the best bit would be that there would be a drawing of a saddle and legs on either side of where you sit so it looks like you are riding the horse over the water.

7) I used to love those free give-aways in cereal boxes when I was a kid. If you could design one, what would it be and which cereal would it be? (fake tattoo, yo-yo, .........)

I LOVE THESE QUESTIONS! I would make a little cow that you could fill up with milk. Its udders would have holes in them so that when you squeeze the cow, milk comes out. So you would use it everyday to put the milk on your cereal. I don't know what cereal though. One of the ones that isn't just loads of sugar wrapped round something crunchy.

8) You have just designed some interior products for Habitat which are awesome. How about apparel? I can imagine some Stoten wellies like those ones with the frog eyes. What would be your dream clothing item to design?

The wellies. I want to do the wellies.

9) You are taking part in this year's IYC. Can you just tell us a little bit about who you chose to collaborate with and why. Can you reveal what might be the outcome?

Yep. I was going to collaborate with my excellent friend Bill Williams. He is a scientist and every time I speak to him, he tells me something which takes about 2 or 3 days to sink in just because it is so difficult to get your head around. Usually something to do with space. He has always told me about his idea to make a giant fried breakfast, so I thought it would be good to document Bill on his quest. We were going to have a special sausage made, then use gammon steaks for bacon, butter beans in tomato sauce for baked beans, giant mushrooms and a fried ostrich egg. But on the first day we tried to start making the film, we discovered how difficult it is to get ostrich eggs. So the idea had to change. That's when I contacted my friend Andy Rementer. I have loved his work for ages and always wanted to do a zine with him, so that's what we are doing. We are doing a zine about the future.>>

10) Rolf Harris painted the queen. Who would be the most unexpected person/thing that you would like to immortalise in felt-tip and collage?

I would like to draw David Bowie. Or Neil Young. I spoke to someone recently who told me they knew someone who was commissioned by Neil Young to go to his ranch and make an enormous sculpture out of lots of different colored glass. So it can happen. I am here for you Neil. Or David


If you can't make it down to his exhibtion to see the work or get hold of a print or t-shirt..........stop crying and get down to Habitat to buy a Stoten tea towell to mop up those tears! Yes, Jim has designed a few items for a mini household range at Habitat based on urban landscapes Yipee! Here is a cushion. It is the wrong colour though, sorry. Blogger has decided to upload its own version with a different colour palette, sorry Jim?!

All images courtesy of the artist, with thanks!

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