Creating art that will make you smile.
Jeremy Lightfoot’s quirky art is a bit like a lolly shop for your brain. His work is full of colour and flavour, and often delivers a swift, sugar-hit of humour. Thematically, many of his pieces celebrate and question our contemporary sense of ‘Australiana’ by featuring native flora and fauna, or classic Aussie characters.
Tracks Creative Director, Ben Bugden, instantly saw Jeremy’s art as a perfect fit for our ‘Fantasea' page, which runs each issue in the mag. When he asked Jeremy to create a line-up that tapped into the surfing brain, Jeremy embraced the brief very literally and came up with a cartoon titled ‘Daydreaming’.
After pondering the piece for a while we ultimately decided that its wild concept and colours belonged on page one of our latest issue. So far the feedback on the cover has been good. As it turns out Jeremy’s grandmother had been a good friend of Captain Goodvibes creator Tony Edwards, who in turn had been a major influence on Jeremy. When we contacted Tony about Jeremy’s submission he was full of praise for the young artist.
“His vision is very original and entirely his own, not to mention that it has that elusive quality "of being of the moment”, something that captures the spirit of the present as only a younger person can. I recall that you asked me to do a fantasy lineup, when I saw what Jeremy had produced I realised I couldn’t possibly have come up with such a concept. My imagination is old-fashioned whether I like it or not, formed in another era by a different set of influences and artists, so until they come up with a successful head and brain transplant operation I’m stuck with the one I have."
If you are interested in a print or t-shirt featuring Jeremy’s Cover-Art, please email us here
In the meantime dip your head in the interview below where Jeremy discusses his craziest commissions, the role of ‘Australiana’ in his art, and the part surfing plays in his creative process.
Tracks: Whereabouts are you based?
JL: Collaroy. Located in Sydney’s northern beaches.
Tracks: Where did your inspiration for the cover come from?
JL: when Ben reached out and asked me to create a piece for the latest Track’s issue, I knew exactly where I wanted to go with it once hearing the brief. I had been constantly daydreaming about surfing a point. I love to go to the NSW mid-north coast near where my family lives. But being in the latest lockdown I knew that wasn’t possible, the only way I could access it was in my mind and my art.
I had also just painted a piece prior to ‘daydreaming’ based on the concept that I seem to live in my own head more than reality sometimes. So I drew inspiration from that, combined with the unique feeling that daydreaming gives us when thinking of that special place or time.
Tracks: Does surfing ever help with the creative process? Do you ever go for a surf and then have an epiphany moment and think, ' that's a good idea for a piece of art? ' Or is it just a good way to get out of your head for a while and de-clutter?
JL: I definitely think surfing helps me with the process. I also have epiphanies while just going about everyday life all the time. But I believe surfing is definitely a creative outlet and while I’m sitting waiting for a wave I often visualise how I want to approach a piece. So surfing and creativity go hand-in-hand for me.
Tracks: How does the creative process generally work? What mediums, materials do you like to work with?
JL: Most of the time a work starts with a play on words. Then I create the artwork around that concept. For the last couple of years I have mainly focused on using gouache and Ink on watercolour paper. But I love using acrylic on canvas and plywood as well.
Tracks: Do you prefer having a brief or a blank canvas? What are some of the more curious commissions you have had?
JL: It really depends. If I’m feeling super creative I have so many ideas rolling around my head that I want to paint and I navigate straight to them, but sometimes I struggle to come up with my own pieces and that’s when I love having a brief from a client for a commission – it kickstarts the whole creative process.
I have had some really funny and interesting requests over the years. People love to see themselves as their spirit animal, so that’s always fun capturing their personalities and incorporating that into the characters. My mate actually just requested a piece. His cat always shits in his kitchen sink and he wants a piece revolving around that. It’s out there!
Track: Some of your work has an 'Australiana' theme with a contemporary twist. Lots of flora and fauna. Have we forgotten how to celebrate Australia a little bit because we are ashamed of certain elements? What's the trick to keeping it cool and giving it a bit of an edge?
JL: I find so many elements from this amazing county inspiring. From the native flora and fauna to the unique characters that inhabit it. A lot of my artworks have a bit of a cheeky side to them and I find the Australian sense of humour is like no other. A lot of my friends are larrikins who love to push the limits. I find inspiration from watching my surroundings so I think that’s why that ‘Australiana’ theme comes through. In terms of being ashamed of certain elements of Australian culture. I believe the answer is yes and no. Culturally the mullet is coming back stronger than ever! Being a bogan is kinda cool now in certain scenes. But I feel we are very divided at times with social, environmental, health and First Nation issues. There isn’t much room for discussion. You’re either this side or that side, which I find sad.
Thank you for thinking my works are ‘cool and edgy. haha. I don’t know if there is a trick to it, but I guess with my style of art is, there are no limitations in the weirdness of the piece, combined with a bit of wit. I feel anyone can connect to my works a little.
Tracks: Do you like to use art to convey a message – political or otherwise?
JL: Definitely. As I said before I love to draw on my surrounding or my own life experiences. All my artworks have a message behind them. Politics has always interested me so when I see a topic that intrigues me I love to paint about it.
Tracks: It seems like you can use your art to make social commentary or at least to have a little bit of fun with popular culture. Like the two VB's heckling the hipster Stone and Wood Beer?
JL: It’s definitely fun to have a bit of laugh and tell a story through my works about relevant topics and social scenes. I feel anyone can look at the piece you’re talking about and have a bit of chuckle about it. I’m actually paying myself out in that work. All my mates who I skate with drink VB and I always rock up to the skate park or any social event with craft beers and get ragged on.
Tracks: What's your connection to Captain Goodvibes creator Tony Edwards. How much of an influence has he been directly or indirectly?
JL: My grandmother, who I am very close to, was good friends with him during the late 70s and 80s. They both lived in Palm beach. We actually have some of his original ‘Captain Goodvibes’ illustrations still in the family.
His works have been a huge influence. Growing up reading the cartoons and seeing the daring and controversial side of his art and the character Captain Goodvibes shaped the style of art I create now.
Tracks: Have you spoken to him since you did the cover? Do you want me to email him?
JL: Ha. Ha. I think it would so rad if you emailed him! Tell him Faith Lightfoot says hello (my nana) I’m a huge fan of his work so it would be an honour if you passed that on and I’m beyond proud to be featured as an artist in the same pages of the infamous ‘Captain Goodvibes’.
Track: Is the aspiration to make a full-time living out of your art? That may already be happening. Is it a hard thing to say, 'I'm an artist’?
JL: It would be amazing to be able to make a full-time living from my art. I’m definitely gaining some momentum in making art a part of my livelihood. I’m lucky enough to get some commissioned works here and there as well as working as a resident artist for KALOF. (The youth development sector of the northern beaches council). But between being a full-time tradie and my youth work, I just love to paint my designs, and the fact that I make any money from it is amazing to me. Not to mention getting my artwork on the front cover of Tracks. It’s been a few weeks now and I’m still in shock. It’s huge for me not only as an artist but an achievement for myself in my life. So thank you. And yes. It is hard to say to people I’m an artist, but I’m getting there, haha.
Anything else coming up that you're excited about or we should look out for?
JL: I’ve actually got a few more things in motion with you guys (Tracks magazine). I also have a collaboration in the works with my favourite local surf shop ‘Keel surf and supply’. That’s really cool since I have been mates and shopped with them since they opened in Freshy back in 2013. Other than that I’m working on a collection of works for a solo exhibition. I haven’t had one since 2017, so I’m really keen to jump back in the deep end again! There is definitely a little bit of hype after the cover dropped so I’m just riding the wave at the moment. It’s exciting!
To pre-order prints or a T-shirt featuring Jeremy's cover illustration email us at firstname.lastname@example.org