Jimmy Wags has been drawing since his childhood on the family farm in Grafton. These days Jimmy can apply his work to just about any surface! His work is often compared to the works of Mambo, a compliment he takes in his stride. Jimmy has his work on exhibition at Art Central, located in Coffs Central.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally a Grafton boy and have moved to Mullaway in the last three years.
When did you first develop an interest in art?
I guess it all began when I was a young child. I grew up on a farm, and I would draw birds, trees and my surroundings from day one. My neighbour asked for one of my first drawings of a rosella, just in case I ever became famous. (Still working on that famous thing for you, Sue).
My art as a child was pretty normal – just drew things kids would draw. I took an interest in comic book art as I became older and would hang with my pal, Jamie, and draw Spiderman and Venom characters, refining my pencil work and detail skills. My parents would head to the beach most weekends (my dad surfs). So we would pack the car, strap on the boards (and sometimes forget to strap, lost a few off the roof over the years) and head to Mullaway. Surf mag art was always of interest.
The Captain was a bit early for me, but Gonad Man and various surf artists through the late ‘80s and early ‘90s caught my eye. I was also a skate rat in Grafton, so I had a lot of exposure to the skate graphics by artists such as Jim Phillips.
At what point did you make the transition from pencil sketches to colourful canvas work, and what technique do us do you use?
Up until about 2010 I had been doing mainly detailed pencil work in sketchbooks. I guess tattoo style with some strangeness thrown in … I would use a technique I’ve coined “pencil wandering”, where I will simply start in the middle of the page with lines, shapes, and keep working until something appears and go from there – sometimes leading to nothing, sometimes to something really cool. The weird art I do has usually come from this process.
I moved on from sketchbook drawing to larger scale works from around 2010. My mates would constantly tell me to get serious about being an artist, and finally my beautiful wife gave me the push needed and we decided to move to Mullaway and have a crack at being an artist. This allows me to do a lot of surfing, which is also a huge inspiration to me!
How did finding Posca Paint Pens open up your art world?
When I found Poscas, I found an easy transition from pencil and pen work to large-scale colour works, as I didn’t find paintbrushes all that easy to use. Posca Paint Pens solved that problem for me. Acrylic paint out of a texta in a range of sizes is perfect for me.
But you don’t stop at canvas, you also apply your work to guitars, skateboards, surfboards …
Yeah, they opened up endless surfaces to paint, house doors, surfboards, skateboards, guitars, cars – pretty much anything if the surface is prepared correctly. I did a kitchen splashback a little while ago, and that turned out great!
Your art has similarities to Mambo and Drew Brophy’s works …
My work has been described as very “Mambo”, which is a compliment, as Mambo art is rad! I have had a lot of influence through the surf and skate art scene, so my work reflects that, and also Drew Brophy’s Posca work. Drew is one of the Posca surf art kings, and his wife, Maria, markets his work brilliantly. I look up to his work and her business sense.
Describe your work in one sentence:
Colourful, happy, weird and wonderful.
Have you exhibited? Where can people see your work and what do have coming up? I’ve exhibited in Grafton, Woolgoolga, Coffs and Yamba. I have done the markets around the place allowing people to buy and chat to me about my art. I have my work displayed in various places along the northern beaches including Le Hip clothing store. The owners of Mullaway General Store, Wally and Jan have my art displayed in their store. Rustic Mezedes also have my art displayed in their restaurant and I have my work exhibiting Art Central.
What is Art Central?
Art Central is a gallery in Coffs Central founded by the very talented Jeremie Scahill. What started off as seven local artists showcasing their work has now grown to 14 artists displaying their art in the gallery. The complex has been fantastic with us, allowing some of Coffs’ art to be on show. We have had artists come and go, with new artworks re hung every six weeks or so, keeping the space fresh. It’s been fantastic for me to be involved, and I thank all that keep this space functioning.
What would you say to an artist who wants to go all the way?
I’d say find an artist who you aspire to be like. Get their advice. Although I consider myself to be “super green” still, but if it’s worth anything I would say, keep creating art. Be persistent. Find your niche. Criticism is constructive; not everyone is going to like what you do. Finding balance is the key. If like many of us you are an artist, whilst juggling work and family, find time to do art in the mix of life, then keep it up. Shred ‘til ya dead!
Find more about Jimmy’s work at www.jimmywagsart.com, follow him on Facebook or on instgram @jimmywagsart.