Interview: JPS

JPS is an artist currently based in the south west of England. His stencil and non stencil based work has given him great publicity, reviews and acclaim. His work has been purchased by collectors around the world and appears alongside such names as Damien Hirst, Banksy, Nick Walker, Andy Warhol and Tracey Emin. He appeared in Bizarre magazine in 2012 after winning the Bizarre Reader Art Competition abd has exhibited in a range of shows including the “Bansky Revelation” and “Broken Britain” Exhibitions in London. There can be no doubt that we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

Street Art United States caught up with the artist for a brief Q&A.

Hey JPS, could you tell us who you are, where you´re from and how did you get started in the street art scene?
Well, I go by my initials JPS these days. I was born and raised in Weston-super-Mare near Bristol. I got into street art properly just over 4 yrs ago, I was a tagger before that, which wasn’t looked at in a street art sense, but was more a territorial thing.

Do you have a formal education?
I went to Broadoak comprehensive school, then Weston Art College where I dropped about before my completion of a graphic design 2 year diploma.

Have you always been an artist? If not, then what where you before you became an artist?
Yes! From about the age of three I displayed a strong interest in art, although after leaving college I went on to become a shoe repairer/key cutter and engraver, and unfortunately an alcoholic/drug addict eventually.

How much does your art affect or influence your everyday life and are there any role models or artists who inspired you?
Banksy’s Museum Show inspired me massively, although I like to think my ideas are very different to that of Banksy’s. I guess a standard education didn’t leave me with much political interest.

How do you go about creating your street art? How do you choose a street/environment?

I mainly use stencils for my street work, as it’s a quick method of getting things done neatly. Some pieces can go anywhere but others I do like to put into settings that i think add to the impact of the work like the horror stuff at barrow mental hospital.

Has your style developed throughout the years?
Yes, my style is constantly evolving, between the age of 20-32 I did very little drawing or painting, I was rusty as hell, so my confidence at the beginning was low, but lately I’ve been doing a lot more technical stuff and kinda in training mode, even going to the cemetery sketching, as i found that challenging when i was younger.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet and social media in making your work more accessible to the public?
The internet is very beneficial in spreading artwork to a greater audience, although I think sitting in front of a computer all day isn’t being an artist, so I dont push my work as much these days, I just do work and hope people like it.

Is there a message in your art?
Some are just puns designed to make people smile, other pieces do contain more serious messages. I used to enjoy the more controversial work, although I’ve been put off by the backlash and misinterpretation by a few people.

Street art is still considered vandalism, how is it for you to go out and paint in the street? Did you ever have any problems with the law?
It is a case of don’t get caught whilst illegally painting a wall. Once it’s on there, however it’s down to the owner whether they want to complain about it, no complaint….. no crime is pretty much the case, I tend to be pretty selective where I hit some places, people are going to complain no matter what you paint, I myself have been lucky so far.

What have been your most challenging and rewarding piece of work thus far?
The most challenging was the sonic boom, a 17ft wide by 8 and a half foot high stencil, the most rewarding however it was probably the biggie small piece as it went viral so rapidly.