Rosa Torr talks to Jon Burgerman

Jon Burgerman is a British Artist living and working in the US. He uses accessible and familiar materials to make colourful and comical works . He believes that playful, creative acts, art can change the world for those who wish to engage with it. Rosa Torr caught up with him to talk about his art and the postcard he has produced for the Summer Postcard Lottery with CultureLabel.

RT You describe your drawings as a compilation of ‘characters’, so who do we have here on the postcard? Can you introduce us?

JB Ah that’s not exactly a single character – more a mush of a bunch of them. Think of it as a blend of bubblegum flavours, some sweet, some sour, all probably bad for your teeth.

RT Given that you are used to drawing over large spaces such as walls and entire colouring books, how did you find the format of the 6 x 4 postcard? Was it a challenge?

JB I challenged myself by using a metal nib pen, sort of like a calligraphy pen and ink. I’d never drawn with one of those before so that was a challenge. I liked how it scratched into the paper as I drew, making the process feel physical. The lines are really pure too, I can really feel my inarticulate movements within them. I am a wobble on a sub woofer sat on a tumble drier in full spin.

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RT You have said you enjoy the interactive nature of your colouring book ‘Burgerworld’, this encourages a conversation between artist and the viewer, how would you like most for your art to be perceived and interacted with in general?

JB My art is intended to inspire the viewer. It’s a jumping off point for you to go away and make your own art. I hope that when you see my art, whether it’s a drawing, sculpture, doodle, animation, performance, you’ll think ‘wow that looks fun, I want to do that.’ And that you will. My work is about sharing the creative process and the joy I get from making. That’s the main thing I want to give. If you find the work funny, engaging, thought-provoking on top of that, then that’s a great bonus.

RT How do you come up with the characters and small surreal worlds in your illustrations? What is your process?

JB I use my imagination! I fuel my imagination with lots of things – music, books, comics, old animations, cereal boxes, people, stories, art etc. and then I jumble all those things up inside and tip out the contents through my pen.

RT You have said the weirdest place you have doodled is on someone’s passport, but where would you most like to doodle if you could doodle on anything at all?

JB I’d like to doodle on Donald Trump's forehead. I probably shouldn’t say what I’d draw if I had that opportunity. Failing that I’d like to draw over an airplane or a huge building or create a character for a huge event, like the Olympics or work with Pixar designing some characters for one of their movies.

RT Why did you want to get involved with Art on a Postcard?

JB If I can help people with a drawing then it’s hard not to. It’s a great cause and good fun for those buying the postcards.

RT What exciting projects do you have coming up?

JB I’m making some more books for 2017 right now and then I’m off to Seoul and Japan for a few weeks and then I will be heading back into the virtual world of Tilt Brush, which I love so much..!

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