Jim Ford (US)

Jim Ford (US)

For some artists the blog is a little bit tiny to show and speak about all they work on. Jim Ford is one of those many talented guys, I have been obliged to focus on his poster art, because we are dealing with posters here ;), but just check out his website and you will discover his art is definitly not limited to that kind of things !

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

Well, that depends on the timing, and my mood. If you visited me in the Winter, we might listen to jazz, like Miles Davis or even Bix Beiderbecke. If you visit me in the Summer, we might listen to old hardcore punk or CCR or Zeppelin, I like the classics. Sometimes it's Willie Nelsen if I'm in a sentimental mood, or somethin like Howlin Wolf if I'm in cahoots with my lady. It varies a lot. I don't name-drop on much of the newer stuff I listen to - those bands are still earning my respect and haven't all stood the test of time yet.

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I grew up around Chicago. I can't say I've had a rough life, but I've had lots of experiences, good and unfortunate. Got in a lot of trouble when I was younger, and still have a lot of that teenage angst blood in me. I'm a father, I'm 31, and my mid-life crisis is already over…what else.?

When did you start drawing?

When I was a young kid. I always had a knack for it, and my family and friends were always encouraging of that.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
Both. I keep the skills well lubed and I've learned things by instruction and experimentation. I teach myself most things. I still have all my notebooks from high school and college, they're filled with all kinds of juvenile shit and doodles, mostly about [then current] obsessions.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living?

Ain't exactly living, but trying to get by. I've been a professional type designer for years, so that's been the bread-winner for me. I love art and conceptual work though, so I try to keep it going and do as much as I can. I explore things that I'm interested in, with the intent of mastering it. Right now it's a mixed bag - art, design, music has kinda fell to the backburner though...

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
As of late, yes. It's been a good year so far. Some of the things I've dreamed about as an artist are becoming reality. I've collaborated with a couple magazines, had posters published in books, work in galleries… I'm happy about all that. You don't get exposure like that easily, from where I'm at. I like to think I've been earning it though.

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
For art - Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Hausmann, Man Ray and Robert Rauschenberg are some of my major influences. There's a handful of hero type designers too, Frederic Goudy being my top dog. Since we're talking posters, I think the artists that made flyers during the '80s hardcore punk wave really peaked my interest, and then I discovered all kinds of great artists when I started diving into the poster circuit. I like a lot of the artists around Chicago, because I've worked with some of them and I can relate to them. The Young Monster guys are some of my favorites too; I dig their style and the different approaches.

What are the principal steps in your work?

Listening, research, notes and brainstorming, often with my fiance who's really into music and art too. I'm a whacko and I over-think things, so I like to run ideas by her, for another perspective. There's less preoccupation and neuroticism, so her feedback is valuable to me. I usually do thumbnail sketches and then pick a direction. A lot of poster processes are different, because I'm not interested in doing one approach all the time. I like to collage, I like to draw and illustrate, I like to try new things. Whatever the approach, at the end of the day, it's gotta be good work.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
I try to do as little as possible on the computer, because I despise technology. I would love for the internet and all the machines in the world to shut down, and still be able to do good work without. The end products are usually a mix though, I'll do a lot of work by hand and then finish it on computer. Ya need it for some things…especially when you're working remotely on almost everything.

How long does it take you to do a poster?
A good one takes a solid day, and then some. I'd say 7-8 hours is average, but there's all that pre-execution thought and sketching that goes in ahead of time. Then separating the artwork and so on.

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it?

Do I have a certain style? Funny that you ask, because I had a painting commission like that recently. I may hate it, but if you're supporting and paying me fairly, I'm up for most challenges. It's very important to me that every customer is thrilled with what they get, and if I really hate the work, I enjoy the reaction and the smiles I get when it's delivered. That does it for me. But when I'm doing art for myself, I don't think about what others think, I do what pleases me.

For which band have you already worked for?
Oh, umm... Here are some of my favorites so far: Murder By Death, The TomorrowMen, The Dwarves, Cobra Skulls, Tobacco, Deerhoof, Arial Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Japandroids, George Clinton & P-Funk…

For which band would you love to work?
They're all fun, I enjoy the challenge and shape-shifting to represent different bands and make the event more memorable. But, I'd love to do a Queens Of The Stone Age or Black Keys poster... Right now I'm working up art for OFF! which is about as close as I can get to a Black Flag poster, who's sort of an exemplar band in my respect.

Do you choose the artists yourself?
Not always, sometimes I get requests. But now that posters are sort of an occasional 'fun' thing, yeah, I often hunt down the shows I'm interested in. Waiting is not something I enjoy.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?

I dunno. The administrative, coordinating work that comes with doing a poster. Making the artwork is where the fun is. Getting it printed, getting the approvals and support from bands and venues, publicizing the work and all that, is painstaking sometimes. I would say, to make a poster means asking yourself how much you're willing to lose for the gig. They're not all dream gigs.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else?
Sure, I guess. Posters are a scene, but I don't really like scenes, so I'm kind of a rogue there. Plus there's a hole network of serious collage artists out there, and I guess I fit in alright there.

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
RebeletterStudios.com is my website - note that there's only one L. You can buy prints at rebeletter.bigcartel.com  I post all kinds of stuff on Facebook, art on Flickr and I'm on Twitter: @Rebeletter
Follow me, friend me, be a pal!

The best praise you received lately?
The Murder By Death posters that I did recently were well-received, so it's been picked up by a lot of channels. I also saw a press release from one of my good return customers wherein it referred to me as "the great Jim Ford." That's some good praise there!

What can we wish you for the future?
Health, sanity and prosperity!

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!
Thank you!

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