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About the Artist JJ Adams

Punking-up portraits since 2009 there’s a new kid in town who blends the arts of a tattooist with those of a graffiti-smith in the most eye-catching compositions we’ve witnessed in a long time. While they may lack Banksy’s political edge, JJ Adams’ feverishly grafted visions of almost dystopian ideals are graphically on a par for our money. Putting the ‘hip’ in hipster and the ‘sex’ in existential, JJ Adams’ visual style and illustrative deportment is edgy, provocative and above all else, ruddy awesome.

Works By JJ Adams

  • Trumps Liberty by JJ Adams
    Trumps Liberty
  • From Russia with Love by JJ Adams
    From Russia with Love
  • Life's a Beach by JJ Adams
    Life's a Beach
  • Un-usual Suspects by JJ Adams
    Un-usual Suspects
  • We Girls Can Do Anything by JJ Adams
    We Girls Can Do Anything
  • Send in the Clowns by JJ Adams
    Send in the Clowns
  • Double Feature by JJ Adams
    Double Feature
  • The Approaching Storm by JJ Adams
    The Approaching Storm
  • A Whales Tale by JJ Adams
    A Whales Tale
  • My Generation by JJ Adams
    My Generation
  • Rusty Innards by JJ Adams
    Rusty Innards
  • God Save the King- Timed Release- Gold Frame by JJ Adams
    God Save the King- Timed Release- Gold Frame
  • God Save the King- Timed Release- Black Frame by JJ Adams
    God Save the King- Timed Release- Black Frame
  • The Kings Return by JJ Adams
    The Kings Return
  • We're All Mad Here by JJ Adams
    We're All Mad Here
  • Pretty Woman- TV Guide by JJ Adams
    Pretty Woman- TV Guide
  • Concrete Jungle by JJ Adams
    Concrete Jungle
  • Transporters - Road To Nowhere by JJ Adams
    Transporters - Road To Nowhere
  • Tell Me About It Stud (B/W) by JJ Adams
    Tell Me About It Stud (B/W)
  • Tell Me About It Stud - Colour by JJ Adams
    Tell Me About It Stud - Colour
  • Under The Pier by JJ Adams
    Under The Pier
  • Titanic Return by JJ Adams
    Titanic Return
  • The Ballad Of TK421 by JJ Adams
    The Ballad Of TK421
  • Highland Hunk - Turquoise by JJ Adams
    Highland Hunk - Turquoise
  • Highland Hunk - Purple by JJ Adams
    Highland Hunk - Purple
  • Highland Hunk - Gold by JJ Adams
    Highland Hunk - Gold
  • Ditto by JJ Adams
  • Ditto - Black & White by JJ Adams
    Ditto - Black & White
  • Cupid & Pysche 2023 by JJ Adams
    Cupid & Pysche 2023
  • Elizabeth Royal- Lenticular by JJ Adams
    Elizabeth Royal- Lenticular
  • Make Art not War- Bomb Sculpture by JJ Adams
    Make Art not War- Bomb Sculpture
  • Ace of Spades Bomb- Sculpture by JJ Adams
    Ace of Spades Bomb- Sculpture

But the question is, just where did it all go so right for the double initialled contemporary fine art practitioner?!
Well, the tale kicks off back on an entirely different continent in the early 1980s, when the son of a Baptist preacher man (very nearly a Bananarama lyric if we’re not careful), was raised; having being born in Blighty (Plymouth to be geographically precise on this issue), prior to his parent’s choosing to emigrate to Cape Town thereafter. It was here, during his formative years that JJ Adams elected to spend time hanging around the studio belonging to South African contemporary landscape artist, Derric van Rensburg. And it was there where he was first exposed to what he refers to as ‘graphic art’, and the vivid hues and saturations indicative of the more street aspect of the genre.

Suitably inspired to pursue a career in an illustrative arena, JJ Adams won himself a place at Cape College, where he studied Graphic Design; which he balanced with apprenticeship-serving at central Cape Town’s ‘Wildfire Tattoos’. And as if that youthful schedule wasn’t hectic enough, he JJ Adams also found the time to squeeze in a bit of part-time backstage crew work for international bands who were performing in the post-Apartheid era South Africa. It wasn’t until 1998 that JJ Adams eventually answered the call of his native UK, and only then due to harbouring ambitions of becoming a practising tattoo artist in his own right.

Alas that aspiration didn’t materialise in the way he’d hoped it would, and subsequently spent a number of years which followed eking out a living in London’s Camden Market, before relocating to Plymouth to go back to school. Or to be more accurate, Plymouth’s College of Art and Design where he enrolled on a commercial printing course. On the back of this JJ Adams spent several years thereafter employed as a graphic designer in the South West, finally moving into sign making and advertising. Yet throughout this passage of time, JJ Adams had kept his artistic hand in after hours. Which led to the next chapter of his professional life and times.

After accumulating a body of illustrative work, JJ Adams decided to test the water by looking to sell some of his acrylic paintings via a local art gallery. The year was 2009 and bowled over by the initial response, the budding artist then made the decision to return to London and make a concerted effort at making art his career at that stage. And without sounding too clichéd, the rest is pretty much history. In terms of what JJ Adams prefers to facilitate to create his visually ballsy, heavily graffiti-influenced pieces which have helped launch him into the contemporary art stratosphere in more recent times, he routinely opts for a mixed media approach and application, habitually reaching for anything from spray paint and collage to screen printing and digital matte, not to mention flashes of photography thrown in for good measure.

Inspiration-wise, and JJ Adams makes no bones about having a lot to thank the likes of Norman Rockwell, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Sir Peter Blake for, whilst elsewhere he freely admits to having taken a number of illustrative pointers from more obscure art exponents, such as Guy Peelleart, Hipgnosis and Storm Thorgerson, together with lowbrow artists like Coop, Jim Phillips and Graham Coton (who for the record, was a World War II comic book artist). As of today, JJ Adams works out of his Woolwich studio, situated in South East London, and which overlooks the Thames Barrier.

Latest Artworks