New Folk: James Andrews

21st February 2024

“Take your pleasure seriously”

James Andrews is our latest TDF signing. Combining clean lines with playful characters, the native South Londoner grew up on a diet of skateboards, graffiti and Lichtenstein. He now applies his talents to clients like Apple, TfL and McDonald’s.

We sat down with James to hear his creative process, chat Japanese Menko cards and learn about his first art prize.

Welcome to TDF. What do you want to achieve with your work?

I want to see where my work can go. I really enjoy the ‘conventional’ paths of illustration but I want to apply my work and thinking to new surfaces/ platforms and technologies, and work with people that can help bring new dimensions to my style.

What’s your inspiration in terms of subject matter?

This changes quite a bit, but recently I’ve really enjoyed trying to better understand and depict human form and translate that into my simplistic character style. Looking at things like sport, dancing and general emotions.

And in terms of style?

I’m pretty sure I’m the only graphic artist/illustrator that skateboarded and was into graffiti when they were younger (that’s sarcasm).

So that was – and still is – a massive influence on my work. I won an art prize at school when I was about 11, and the award was a voucher for two books at Waterstones. I bought Spraycan Art and Subway Art and copied pretty much every piece from those books, so it all developed from that point.

Nowadays I find inspiration all over: artists, architecture, fashion, films. One of my favourite artists at the moment is Antwan Horfe. He released a book called Menko Boys with Topsafe Books which became a huge source of inspiration, all about his collection of the weird and wonderful world of Japanese Menko cards. I like to seek out new things and experiences which can sometimes provide great surprises. This is a long answer.

Which elements of your process do you enjoy the most?

I like thinking of ideas but it can be stressful knowing if you’ve got the best/right one. But once that bit is out of the way, I really like sketching and looking at different ways one idea can be interpreted, then (usually) I like to see how that idea has manifested in the end piece – and seeing it out in the wild.

See some of James’s works out in the wild here.

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