Jack Pearce is an illustrator from London that uses indian ink and a paintbrush to make trippy, gangly characters that skate, party, hug and are full of brotherly love.
In his first-ever solo show at a pop-up Atomica Gallery in Soho – rad contemporary art space run by creative cats Orla Bennett and Holly Lander featuring everything from pop surrealism, low-brow, and Polynesian pop to illustration, modern folk, tattoo artistry and naïve pop – he’s bringing a bunch of his flailing-limbed folks together to celebrate male bonding.
We caught up with Jack ahead of the opening – where there’ll be A1-sized compositions on show, as well as a larger site-specific mural, and tons of Red Stripe in the fridge – to chat about the things that inspire him.
Essentially all the work I have created for my solo show revolves around bro-ing out with your friends and having a good time. Drinking beers, licking each other’s faces, in an endearing way of course, not in a sick way. The ideas for my drawings often come from observing the friendships of others, male or female. Behind the idea is an opinion I have about the way male friendships are perceived. I like to remind people that guys can have fun together. For example if two guys go to the cinema together some people may think that’s a little odd but I think it’s totally normal.
I’ve always been intrigued by beards from an early age and as you can see all the characters in my work have them. I like how they cover up people’s faces almost like a disguise. Two years ago when I first started painting these bearded tribesmen I wasn’t man enough to have one of my own but as the characters developed so did the hair on my face.
For me skateboarding was something that got me into most things from the types of music I like to the type or artists I liked and still like. After I first saw Ed Templeton’s graphics for Toy Machine when I was a teenager I measured everything else against them. I like the characters he creates and the way he pieces them together. I like the idea that when I’m old I’ll still be looking at curbs and sets of steps and thinking they would be good to jump down. I feel like the mentality of skateboarding got me into the way I make art as nobody has told me how to paint the way I do it’s just something I figured out. Skateboarding is the same you don’t really get taught you just go do it.
When I first started creating the Bromance tribe I was obsessed with pattern and created dudes and some ladies that were completely covered in pattern. A select few of these drawings will be in my solo show in Soho. For me, pattern is something that helps me define my characters’ statuses within the tribe with their patterned party hats. The tribalistic influence is something that was an unconscious process but now it’s become the focal point of my work. I really enjoy trying to make my paintings as symmetrical as possible so that when you look at them your eyes follow whose hand, tongue or foot is touching whose.