Jimi Crayon: From Keith Haring to iPad Art
Jimi Crayon is an artist. It may sound obvious, but that’s the only reliable way of describing someone who has notched up so many varying achievements in their artistic career. From painting a handful of illegal graffiti pieces and a few trains (though he doesn’t class himself as a graffiti writer), to designing shoes for Thierry Henry to having his digital art used by Apple at the launch of the iPhone 5, to name but a few of the paths that Jimi has crossed.
Although varying in style and medium, Jimi’s work often is often defined by bold melts of bright color, creating an uplifting visual effect. “I prefer to keep things positive, forward-thinking and energetic,” he says. “I want people to feel good when they see my work. If I’m honest, I’m not too bothered about explanations behind art. For me it’s all about being with the piece and seeing how it makes you feel.”
But for someone who isn’t fussed about wordy justifications for his art, Jimi’s influences include a range of surprisingly classic and traditional artists, particularly the colourful tendencies of Keith Haring. Other influences include: “Takeshi Murakami, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Basquiat, Duchamp, KAWS, Koons, Matisse, Picasso… The list is endless. I just really, really love art, I love it and to be in the presence of a huge, beautiful canvas that someone cared enough to paint is a blessing.”
For Crayon, that “beautiful canvas” doesn’t have to be woven onto a wooden frame. It could also be the screen of an iPad or another computer. In fact, some of his most striking works have been drawn digitally. Does he enjoy this contrast between traditional artistic methods and newer techniques? “Yes, I really do. I love trying out new things. I often think people get confused between having a ‘style’ and just repeating the same thing again and again. I want my work to evolve and don’t mind if one piece bares no relation to the next.
It was this use of digital methods that saw the album cover art he designed for ruffed-up pop duo Graffiti6 used by Apple at the iPhone 5 launch. Jimi has also completed other branded work for a range of companies, something he is fully comfortable with, having reached a stage where he can pick and choose his commercial work and express himself creatively through his selected projects. “I’m not afraid of commercial work, I don’t believe it rots my soul or anything like that. In fact, more often than not it’s a great way to work with other people, sometimes in a different country, and to get paid.”
And despite his clear passion for art, Crayon’s creative palate has taken him elsewhere of late, delving into music video direction, including videos for Graffiti6 and Bearydyman with Foreign Beggars. “It’s massively different to creating a piece of artwork, but the intention is the same. I would try and leave my mark in the same way, by bringing vibrancy and energy to my videos. But,” he says, “I’m completely diving into my artwork once again, so I’m not sure when my next music video will be, if ever. Saying that, I am sure that I will make a movie one day, and I have two scripts ready to go.”
With Jimi Crayon’s current track record, we don’t doubt it for a minute.
Animated GIF created by Christian J Petersen