Jamie Hewlett

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Jamie Hewlett
Born Jamie Christopher Hewlett
(1968-04-03) 3 April 1968 (age 46)
Horsham, Sussex, England
Nationality British
Area(s) Artist, illustrator, writer
Pseudonym(s) Hewll
Notable works
Gorillaz
Tank Girl
Monkey: Journey to the West
Get the Freebies/Phoo Action
Awards Design Museum's Designer of the Year (2006)
Ivor Novello's Songwriter of the Year (2006)
Spouse(s) Emma de Caunes (2011-present)

Jamie Christopher Hewlett is an English comic book artist and designer. He is known for being the co-creator of the comic Tank Girl and co-creator of the virtual band Gorillaz.

Biography[edit]

While studying at Northbrook College, Worthing, Hewlett, Alan Martin and fellow student Philip Bond had created a fanzine called Atomtan. This brought him to the attention of Brett Ewins. After leaving college Hewlett and Martin were invited by Ewins to create material for a new magazine he was setting up with Steve Dillon in 1988.

The magazine was called Deadline and featured a mixture of comic strips produced by British creators, and articles on music and culture. Martin and Hewlett created Tank Girl, an anarchic strip about a teenage punk girl who drove a tank and had a mutant kangaroo for a boyfriend. The strip proved instantly popular and quickly became the most talked about part of Deadline. Hewlett's quirky style (he was a fan of Brendan McCarthy) proved popular and he started to work with bands such as Senseless Things and Cud providing covers for record releases; he also contributed artwork sporadically to Commodore User magazine.

He also designed decor for a nightclub called The Factory in Chatsworth Road, Worthing. The decor featured red and green stripes, a wall of blown-up panels from Tank Girl set against 1970s wallpaper, a Ford Escort hung from the ceiling and toilets pasted with pages from old comic book annuals. The Factory has since been refurbished and renamed several times.

By 1992, Hewlett had become a major creator in the comics industry, and one of the few to break into mainstream media. He had worked with writer Peter Milligan on Hewligan's Haircut in 2000 AD issues 700 to 707. The series was later compiled into a trade paperback. He was also involved in providing covers and art for Shade, the Changing Man, also written by Milligan for DC Comics.

Tank Girl was also optioned to be made into a film by MGM after being considered by among others, Steven Spielberg. The film was released in 1995 and featured Lori Petty as Tank Girl. It was a commercial and critical failure and was criticised by fans who said it failed to capture the essence of the original strip. Hewlett had very little involvement with the film.

He also drew a Tank Girl mini-series for the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics written by Peter Milligan. He also opened a secondhand clothing store, 49. The shop, at 49 Rowlands Road, Worthing, was managed by girlfriend Jane Oliver, originally a member of Elastica, but this was a short-lived venture and closed within a year.

Hewlett was still involved with British bands of the mid-1990s, including illustrating a comic strip version of Pulp's song "Common People".[1]

In 1999, Hewlett did the album artwork for the band Mindless Self Indulgence's second CD Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy.

Deadline was eventually cancelled in 1996 due to falling sales in a changed market and Hewlett concentrated on working in advertising and designs for television, most notably the children's series SMTV Live featuring Ant and Dec. He also created the strip 'Get The Freebies' published monthly in British fashion magazine The Face. The stories, all set in London, followed the exploits of Terry Phoo, a gay, Buddhist kung-fu law enforcement officer and his sidekick Whitey Action, an enigmatic young anarchist with a bad attitude, as they tackle their primary adversaries The Freebies Gang of the title. The dynamic between the two heroes was much like that of Tank Girl and her mutant kangaroo boyfriend Booga, with the episodes from the female protagonist's point of view. The strip's primary function was for Jamie to vent his spleen against the media idols and trends of the day, the story often taking second place to the jokes.[2] The strip ran for one year; the second series was cancelled due to a change of editorial staff at the publication.

At this time, he had moved into a flat with Blur's Damon Albarn after Hewlett split with Olliver, and it was while sharing the flat that the pair came up with the idea of Gorillaz, a virtual band. Albarn would work on the music, while Hewlett would come up with character designs, and both came up with ideas for the members of the band. The first Gorillaz EP was released in 2000 followed by the first album, Gorillaz in 2001. In 2005, their second full studio album, Demon Days was released. Both albums were popular successes. The band also performed 'live' several times in 2005, including a performance at the 2005 MTV European Music Awards, a performance in the Manchester Opera House and a similar one in the Apollo Theater in New York. The band planned a world tour which would feature Hewlett's designs. A feature film was proposed but never made.

In 2004, he was commissioned by Eastpak to design a limited edition range under his Zombie Flesh Eaters brand.

Gorillaz remains Hewlett's main project for the foreseeable future. When asked if he would return to comics by Jonathan Ross on an edition of Ross's chatshow on 25 November 2005, Hewlett said no, but he had several ideas which he may do one day.

Tank Girl, though, has returned (with Hewlett's blessing) to print under the stewardship of co-creator Alan Martin. The new series are ongoing, and very much in the spirit of the original deadline run.

In January 2006, Hewlett's artwork for Gorillaz was shortlisted for the Design Museum's 'Designer of the Year' award. In May 2006, Jamie Hewlett was named the Designer of the Year 2006.[3] On 25 May 2006, both Hewlett and Albarn won the joint award for "Songwriters of the Year" at the Ivor Novello Awards ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

In October 2006, Hewlett and Albarn announced their latest collaboration, their first major work since Gorillaz. Entitled Monkey: Journey to the West, a re-working of the ancient Chinese legend Journey to the West. Albarn wrote the score whilst Hewlett designed the set, animations and costumes. Written and adapted by Chen Shi-zheng, the show features 45 Chinese circus acrobats, Shaolin monks and Chinese vocalists. It premiered at the Palace Theatre, Manchester as part of the Manchester International Festival, on 28 June 2007.

His 'Get the Freebies' strip was adapted by BBC Three for a pilot entitled Phoo Action, broadcast in February 2008.

Hewlett and Albarn created the animation sequence the BBC used to introduce coverage of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The sequence titled Journey to the East uses the Monkey character from Monkey: Journey to the West.[4]

He married French presenter and actress Emma de Caunes[5] at St Paul de Vence on 10 September 2011.

In a 2013 interview with Consequence of Sound, Hewlett stated that his primary influences were the works of cartoonists such as Mort Drucker, Carl Giles, Jack Davis, and Ronald Lowe. During a 2012 Interview with Alfred Dunhill, he also lists the first film of the Star Wars series as another main influence on his artwork. In a 2012 interview for Absolut Vodka, Hewlett also listed Alfred E. Neuman of American satirical magazine MAD Magazine as a leading influence of his art.

Works[edit]

Comics[edit]

Interior comics work includes:

Covers[edit]

Comics covers include:

Music[edit]

Musical projects include:

Art[edit]

Artistic projects include:

  • Under Water Colours – Trueman Brewrey – East London, 17–31 October 2009[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cartoon". WEb.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  2. ^ "Get The Freebies Episode One". Issuu.com. 1 June 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "gorillaz_news: Jamie Hewlett named UK Designer Of The Year for Gorillaz work (UPDATE: with reactions)". Gorillaz-news.livejournal.com. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Monkey facts and figures". BBC News. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Emma de Caunes s'est mariée avec Jamie Hewlett". Pure People. 11 September 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  6. ^ http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get_involved/campaign/climate_change/jamie_hewlett.html

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]