[February 11th, 2008 ]
Neil Jeffery's bold and graphic work has appeared on times square
billboards, within the pages of many varieties of books and in television
He has a background in fine art and thinks that art is a good way to make
walls and various other items look better.
How did you get started in illustration?
After graduating from school I started to do some illustration work with
local design agencies while holding down a fulltime job. In this time I
gained some useful experience in running a printing press and working in a
sign shop, being able to see a different side of the advertising industry
while getting the odd freelance illustration job on the side.
I was just beginning to fiddle around with computers back then so all of the
work I did was in traditional media.
Your illustrative style is quite a departure from much of your earlier work,
how did you arrive at working in this style?
I've never worked in just one style, especially with traditional media such
as drawing and painting. I think it's quite limiting to only work one way or
to focus on a limited subject matter, it becomes more of a formula as
opposed to a process of experimentation. I think some of the best artists
have had a very eclectic body of work over the course of their careers,
whereas some artists do only one thing but do it really well. But when it
comes to selling your work, people want to see a consistent, recognizable
style. So when I considered a style to work in, I first and foremost wanted
something that would be fun to work in, attract fun projects and be somewhat
open to adaptation in the future.
What do you see as the difference between computer generated art and
I don't see the computer as a replacement for traditional media, to me it is
completely different and lends itself to working in a different way. I like
the bold graphic nature and simple lines of vector graphics and working in
vectors is to me a lot more like cutting and pasting a collage or like the
process of making a print than it is to drawing or painting, it lacks the
immediacy of just putting pen to paper, but I like that about it.
Most of the time I begin with simple sketches only to get a feel for what I'm
after, I don't often scan any of these drawings into the computer. I use a
pen tablet and mouse and do 99% of the work in the computer, so there isn't
much connection between the work I do on the computer and the stuff I do in
Who are some of your favourite artists?
Picasso is definitely my favourite artist, he was one of the most
influential artists of the last century and the sheer volume of work just
boggles the mind. I think he changed painting and art more than any other
artist in history- everybody knows his name for a reason.
I'm a big fan of David Hockney as well, I love the various renderings of
water in his swimming pool paintings, I don't think he ever did it the same
I love the drawings of Saul Steinberg and the painterly style of Philip
I've always been a fan of some local artists from my hometown too, Greg
Curnoe and Murray Favro.
What direction do you see yourself going in the future?
I would like to start bringing more narrative into my illustrations and
possibly do more editorial work.
I would also like to pursue the fine art end of things more seriously, for
the past few years I've been really focused on commercial art, now I'd like
to diversify a little.
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