Glenn Jones is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator based in Auckland, who found internet fame in the mid-2000s with his quirky t-shirt designs that lead to the creation of his own US-based brand.
Glenn and partner Julia wanted to find a project they could work on together, so Glenn Jones Art began. It’s a family business – Glenn creates the artwork, Julia takes care of the business and their kids help provide lots of inspiration! Glenn also finds endless inspiration from his life growing up in the 70s and 80s. His designs are an exploration of different styles and ideas, but all with the aim of putting a smile on people’s faces.
What do you make?
We make art prints and greeting cards and also have a US-based t-shirt business.
How did you get into your craft?
I’ve worked as a graphic designer for over twenty years. Seven years ago I decided to go into business for myself, freelancing as a graphic designer and illustrator and concentrating on my t-shirts brand. About a year ago I decided to work on my own art print brand as an outlet for lots of ideas I had, putting my spin on Kiwiana. As our business has grown I’ve broadened the scope wider than just NZ inspired ideas, creating more general pop culture and kids’ designs. We’re having lots of fun growing the business.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I started a design course before getting my first job in the early 90s. But everything I know and apply today has been learnt on the job throughout my career.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I’m a vector illustrator, so Adobe Illustrator and my Mac are my tools. As far as process goes, I like to draw an idea as soon as possible after conceptualising in my head. I pretty much have good idea of how I want it to look before I start so it’s just a matter of translating that to a finished design.
What inspires you?
Everyday life, my kids, media, the internet – lots of things! I like to put my own twist on stuff that’s familiar to people. I like retro stuff like toys and furniture, machinery and gadgets. If I can add some humour to the design as well that’s a bonus.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I like trying to put a fresh spin on familiar subject matter. But the challenge is to convey that idea as simply as possible, so people see it and hopefully get it fairly easily.
Describe your workspace:
Usually a pretty messy desk covered with equipment, with just enough space for a few coffee cups!
Five words that describe your mind:
Curious, impatient, procrastinative (Good word! -Ed.), contemplative, imaginative.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I once got a message from a new dad in the US who sent me a pic of him wearing his favourite shirt (a design of mine) holding his new twins dressed in onesie designs of mine too. He was proud and wanted to share it, so it was cool to receive that.
What are you currently listening to?
My two and a half year old screaming.
Recommend an album:
Anything other than my two and a half year old screaming.
What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway. The image of bulldozers spreading out jam has just always stuck in my head for some reason. It was one of the first books I got for my daughter, she loves it too.
What are you reading now?
The Giant Jam Sandwich!
Who is your hero/heroine?
Gary Larson. Growing up I loved reading the Far Side books – his humour is perfection.
A favourite quote:
‘Pressure makes diamonds.’ I totally disagree with it but I like its scientific factuality.
Do you have any pets?
Two cats – they’re total opposites, both a bit crazy but they’re nice to have around.
If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
‘The Multitasker’ – I’d like to do lots of tasks at once, at super high speed.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
Woollen hats for our kids that look like berries – they’re great!
You can see more of Glenn’s colourful and humorous kiwi-flavoured art in his Felt shop here.
Glenn has very kindly offered a pack of twelve of his fabulous cards to one lucky Felt blog prizewinner – what a great idea for Christmas cards this year! If you’d like to be in the prize draw, just leave a comment below telling us what inspires you about Glenn Jones Art and Glenn’s story. The draw will be made on Friday 24 October and is open to New Zealand residents only.