Having created both Gorillaz and Tank Girl during almost 30 years as a graphic artist, Jamie Hewlett has finally been tempted into a gallery for his debut art show. He was inspired, like so many before him, by Googling “tramp sex”.
“I was talking to someone in my studio about online pornography,” explains Hewlett. “I said to him, jokingly, “Whatever you tap in, it will be there”. He didn’t believe me. I said, “Ok, let’s think of something… tramp sex”. Sure enough, he tapped it in and there was a website about that. I didn’t really want to see that, and I’m not sure many people do, but my point was that it’s all there. Nothing is left to the imagination at all. I don’t like that. I prefer the power of suggestion.”
So “The Suggestionists” – his first gallery exhibition – was born. The show brings together three different styles of Hewlett’s work. Fans of his cartoons will immediately recognise the “Tarot” pictures, inspired by magical-realist Chilean film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s reconstruction of the original Tarot de Marseille. Hewlett’s wife Emma de Caunes stars as “Honey” in his tribute to 70s sexploitation movie posters and “Pines”, a series of drawings he did in the south of France, provides a bucolic counterpoint.
“They’re very different in style and medium, yet they’re connected by the idea of the power of suggestion,” says Hewlett. “Having taken so long to do an exhibition, I wanted to show three different sides of what I do.” Here, he talks us through some of the images from the collection…