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06/02/15 Australian Artist Jeremyville Likes His San Miguel Beer

Words by Margarita Buenaventura

One can’t help but see Australian artist Jeremyville’s work as a creative cocktail of sorts: a base of potent fun, a spritz of psychedelia, and a few dribbles of wisdom. His art welcomes its viewer to a world where Little Miss and Mr. Men characters run about and rainbows are in abundance—an experience much like a sweet, manageable acid trip.

The creative dynamo shuttles between Sydney and New York. Beyond art exhibited in the world’s premier galleries, he is also a product designer, an animator, and a book author (check out the designer toy must-read Vinyl Will Kill! ). And after collaborations with brands that have spanned Nike and Uniqlo, he’s currently producing an animated show for Disney.

Last month, Jeremyville visited Manila to launch his exhibit at Vinyl On Vinyl. Open to the public until June 9 are some of the artist’s paintings, porcelain sculptures, and a number of his popular Service Announcement prints.

Also on show was the Australian artist’s distinctive positivity. After a long session of drawing cartoon cats and vanilla sundaes for his Manila fans, he sat down with NOUS to talk about turning the world into his office, trying Philippine beer, and looking at the bright side of things.

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Hey, Jeremyville. How did you decide what to draw for everyone?

Oh, at the table? I just asked everyone for an animal or any idea. I drew off that then added some elements into it, some abstractions. It’s actually quite interesting to have it open, ’cause it’s almost like an invitation for the individual who owns it to have his own interpretation. Yeah, I think that’s cool. If it’s too obvious, it sort of ends the interaction very quickly. If it’s a bit more open, it’s actually more of an entry in.

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A lot of your art seems to have a very optimistic outlook. How do you maintain that, given all that’s going on in the world today?

I am, I think, a broadly optimistic person. But, of course, like everyone else, I have hard afternoons and hard times. I’ve always actually found that art is an answer and understands who I am, and often that exploration is an optimistic answer. That’s why the art actually comes across as a positive affirmation. I don’t always have that, but it’s what I end up with, do you know what I mean? Obviously, I have turmoil, issues, and concerns—as everyone has—and I have a whole other area of art where I explore that actual turmoil. I enjoy being able to create all forms of art, besides optimistic art. I think art ought to be a reflection of us, but intricate.

Definitely. I’m also curious about how you manage bouncing between New York and Sydney for work. 

Yeah, over at the east coast in NYC, the energy of the whole town is unbelievable. I mean, it provided inspiration for Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, like the streets and the people. A lot of my clients are there, and it’s easy to access the EU… and Oz, it’s all about the ocean and the outdoors. And whenever I travel, I’m just at a hotel, I have a sketchbook and draw. I just have to scan the image into Illustrator. It’s great—I can work on awesome projects from all over the world. The actual concept of the office for me has changed. I was actually just in Bangkok, and in the evenings, I’d end up at the hotel, draw, and e-mail off artwork.

That sounds exhausting.

It is, yeah. But I think if you just have some sort of plan, and have a system where every hour, you execute something. Otherwise, it just explodes. As I’m sure you understand.

Yeah! Maybe not on your level, but yeah.

No! (Laughs) Each of us has our own thing, and I’m always trying to improve the hours. I’m trying to improve the efficiency of your time. It’s awesome, then you’re able to take on extra projects.

You do get to do a lot of things, too, like brand collaborations. How do you balance commercializing your art with keeping your artistic integrity intact?

Yes, yes, absolutely. I think each of the projects, I always add who I am in it. So I wouldn’t only choose a project for income. The only projects I choose are actually sincere and true to who I am. And the client understands it. So I have all this freedom. I would only take on a project that I enjoy, I absolutely enjoy. And the client is awesome, understands who I am, and I understand the client too. There ought to be an element of trust, and it’s easy. And if there isn’t, it’s actually hard. Through the years, I’ve always tried to find an excellent fit, and really, that’s intuition.

I noticed you’re drinking San Miguel Pale Pilsen. What do you think of it?

It’s good! Someone here just handed it to me, and it’s excellent. It’s an easy drink. Is it from here?

Yeah, it’s from the Philippines.

It’s good! Yeah. I like it. And it’s easy to hold too. (Laughs)