We sat down with James Jarvis and talked art, skateboarding, and his inspiration behind the graphics for the collaboration. The entire collection releases Thursday 6.10.21
Who were your earliest inspirations?
Richard Scarry, Hergé, 2000AD, Gary Panter, Jean Dubuffet.
What was the creative process behind the pieces for this collaboration with HUF?
The drawings are simplified, abstracted versions of the photographs they reference. I’m using my drawing to try and record and understand what’s happening in the photograph. Platonic idealism is a philosophical theory that only an idea can capture the true and essential nature of a thing in a way that a physical form cannot. If you will forgive me getting pretentious, the drawing is my attempt to represent the platonic ideal embedded in the image.
I was introduced to HUF Japan by my friend Haroshi and they suggested doing a project around the drawings I was making from skate photos. In this context it seemed an obvious choice to use classic photos of Keith as a starting point. Keith passed away during the time I was making the drawings and so they became a way for me to celebrate his incredible legacy as a skateboarder in my own small way.
Your art and skating go hand in hand, what is your favorite video part and why?
Mark Gonzales’ part in Video Days. It is performance art. It encapsulates everything that I love about skateboarding. It was the first video part I saw that felt like it was more than just a series of tricks set to music. It was a holistic thing – skateboarding, style and music all intrinsically linked.
Any memorable moments with Keith?
I never knew Keith personally. He stood out as a timeless skateboarder, someone whose skateboarding represented more than just another trick at another spot but was somehow always managed to be iconic and representative of skateboarding as a whole.
We have seen your art come to life with the toys you made for AMOS, have you been working with any other mediums?
I’ve worked in many different mediums – painting, sculpture, ceramics, books, comics, printmaking, textiles, animation, CGI… but I always come back to drawing as the fundamental element in my art.
Any up and coming artist that you thinking are killing it currently?
How did the characters you draw come about?
Early in my career the characters I drew were representative of all the things I was interested in culturally. They were decorative.Then I began to ask myself the what the purpose of the characters actually was and I realised I wanted them to be useful and meaningful. The character I draw now is a kind of tool. It works to communicate an idea. Rather than representing something specific it is a kind of universal archetype than can mean anything.
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment with your art?
Making a living from it!
I feel like as skateboarders we look at the world differently, we can look at a ledge or a curb and think about ways to skate it. Do you think skateboarding has made you look at art differently?
I think perhaps I use drawing as a tool to understand the world in a similar way to how a skater uses their board to experience and engage physically with the world around them.