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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

  • Scoundrel- Black and White by JJ Adams
    Scoundrel- Black and White
  • Your Worshipfulness- Black and White by JJ Adams
    Your Worshipfulness- Black and White
  • Almost There by JJ Adams
    Almost There
  • A Spoonful of Sugar- Last Copy by JJ Adams
    A Spoonful of Sugar- Last Copy
  • Mod Save the Queen- Flag by JJ Adams
    Mod Save the Queen- Flag
  • God Save the Queen- Flag by JJ Adams
    God Save the Queen- Flag
  • Big Bender by JJ Adams
    Big Bender
  • After all this Time? by JJ Adams
    After all this Time?
  • Cool Britannia by JJ Adams
    Cool Britannia
  • Time Travellers Return by JJ Adams
    Time Travellers Return
  • Art Bomb by JJ Adams
    Art Bomb
  • Bullitt from a Gun- Black and White by JJ Adams
    Bullitt from a Gun- Black and White
  • Rock Star Rogue- Black and White by JJ Adams
    Rock Star Rogue- Black and White
  • Rock Star Rogue by JJ Adams
    Rock Star Rogue
  • Campbell's Punk Soup by JJ Adams
    Campbell's Punk Soup
  • Campbell's MOD Soup by JJ Adams
    Campbell's MOD Soup
  • Bullitt from a Gun by JJ Adams
    Bullitt from a Gun
  • Come here Loverboy... by JJ Adams
    Come here Loverboy...
  • National Treasure- Lenticular by JJ Adams
    National Treasure- Lenticular
  • Her Majesty by JJ Adams
    Her Majesty
  • Young Bull-Blue Neon by JJ Adams
    Young Bull-Blue Neon
  • Young Bull- Pink Neon by JJ Adams
    Young Bull- Pink Neon
  • Young Bull- Yellow Neon by JJ Adams
    Young Bull- Yellow Neon
  • Scoundrel - Last Copy by JJ Adams
    Scoundrel - Last Copy
  • Smoking Gun- James Dean by JJ Adams
    Smoking Gun- James Dean
  • Smoking Gun- James Dean- Black and White by JJ Adams
    Smoking Gun- James Dean- Black and White
  • Smoking Gun- Marilyn- Black and White by JJ Adams
    Smoking Gun- Marilyn- Black and White
  • Smoking Gun- Brando - Black and White by JJ Adams
    Smoking Gun- Brando - Black and White
  • Smoking Gun- Marilyn by JJ Adams
    Smoking Gun- Marilyn
  • Smoking Gun- Brando by JJ Adams
    Smoking Gun- Brando
  • Dodgems by JJ Adams
    Dodgems
  • Play with Me by JJ Adams
    Play with Me

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