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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Luke James at Who’s in Charge from Spot the Tiger.

Former Amelia's Magazine designer Abi Renshaw interviews her talented illustrator friend Luke James at the private view for Who's in Charge? from Spot the Tiger.

Written by Abi Renshaw

luke james Should there be a compulsory parenting exam?§
Should there be a compulsory parenting exam? by Luke James.

Right, who managed to catch the Who’s in Charge exhibition we recommended on Dufferin Street last month? If you missed it don’t worry because I quizzed previous Amelia’s Magazine contributor and my best mate Luke James for you at the private view. He’s very good you know, the crisps were nice and I was pretty tempted by the idea of walking home with a bargain print.

Luke! Hello sir. Not seen you for about three days. Congratulations on this busy private view here at the Dreamspace gallery. Your piece is great, I knew which was yours straight away. You good. So you better start by telling us about Spot The Tiger please.
Stop eating all the crisps Abi. Haha. Yeah it is busy isn’t it? I’m pleased. So, here’s the official blurb: Spot The Tiger is an independent project started by Michael Corbett-Reakes with help and support from Aisling Musgrove of Goldsmiths Debating Society. 
The project is a coalition of 52 emerging and established graphic artists and their response to some of the biggest social issues of our times.


Dreamspace Gallery in Dufferin Street
Dreamspace Gallery in Dufferin Street.

Hand selected to 52 then, and you’re in. That must have been pretty hard work for them, selecting and giving out briefs. How long did that take them?
Well, over a 52 week period an online community was created and public ballots were taken on various thorny public issues.


Ohh so one a week then. How did you get involved with Who’s in Charge?
Mike contacted me after seeing my work somewhere online and asked if I’d like to submit an illustration for the project. I immediately yes and the rest is history.

Go Luke. You got head hunted then. Wouldn’t want to say no to that. What was it about the concept that appealed to you?
This was pre-general election so the voting aspect of it caught my eye. The fact that people could respond to the illustration and topic made it seem a bit more exciting and interactive than the usual editorial illustration brief. Obviously now, post 6 May, I realise that voting usually leads to feelings of depression and disappointment! Seriously though I thought it was different and the chance to comment on social issues has always appealed to me.

It’s clear from your work that social issues are your fave. Did you know after uni, when we were clearing out the house to go home, you gave me your cloned sheep canvas?
Did I? Oh OK, forgot about that. Yeah you can still have that freebie.

Thank you. You should sign it. So tell us what issue you illustrated this time?
I had the task of illustrating the question, ‘Should there be a compulsory parenting exam?’ I was delighted as I could finally draw upon my unhealthy obsession with Jeremy Kyle. The public were obviously fans of the show too as 67% of them thought that there should be a compulsory parenting exam.

Damien Correll
Illustration by Damien Correll.

Jeremy Kyle. We’re all with you there. He loves to sit on the stage’s edge and huff. Did you think the standard was pretty high? Of the other contributors I mean.
I think the exhibition looks great. It’s a great space and the variety of the responses has made it a really interesting show. I’m really impressed with the standard of the other contributors. I love the simplicity and colour in Damien Correll’s work and Jirayu Koo’s geometric forms to name just a couple.

I like yours best. You’ve drawn our mate. Would you get involved in something similar again? You would wouldn’t you?
Definitely. It’s nice to see a pretty picture but it’s much more interesting if someone displays some level of social conscience in their work. I’ve always felt that way – it doesn’t have to be world-changing but it should spark some sort of reaction, no matter how small.

Jirayu Koo
Illustration by Jirayu Koo.

Indeed. You’ve been freelance for a while now, working all hours in your Old Street studio. What other projects have you been working on?
I’ve recently completed some illustrations for the Sunday Express and Concrete Wave Magazine as well as working on some packaging for M&S. I’ve also been doing lots of screen-printing – some of which are available to buy in my online store.

Good stuff, you’re busy then! Cheers Luke. Well I’ll let you get back to mingling and I’ll move to another crisp bowl. I’m looking forward to spotting your packaging bits in M&S on my weekly shop. Weekly shop? Who am I kidding! I mean when I go in for the Dine for £10 offer. See you at the weekend then Luke, we’ll go to the Royal Inn or something.

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2 Responses to “An interview with Luke James at Who’s in Charge from Spot the Tiger.”

  1. Abi Renshaw says:

    Thanks Amelia and Luke! This is my 10th review I’ve just discovered, it’s been a long ole while since the last…

  2. Amelia says:

    Do some more! you know we love to have you on here x

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