JJ (1982 – Present)

JJ was born in Ilford, Essex, in 1982. A graduate of the Shoreditch graffiti scene, he won a place on the Fine Art degree course at the Camberwell School of Art, where he learnt the craft of screenprinting – a medium he continues to use. JJ graduated from Camberwell in 2001, and has been making pictures on canvas and paper ever since. The artist’s specially commissioned screenprints for Dantzig, each hand finished, betray his obsession with the cult of celebrity, which he has stated, “came from reading back issues of Hello magazine at my Nan’s house while sitting and waiting for my Mum to star the car and drop us at the train station. Central London was only half an hour away, and that’s where the famous people lived”. Now working from a studio near the Oval, south of the river, JJ fuses his compulsion to replicate mass media images of the very famous, with overdubs drawn from the loops of the 90s rave scene. His very British take on Andy Warhol has seen reworkings of the public image of characters from Churchill through to Johnny Rotten, and the Prodigy’s Keith Flint – a personal inspiration. “Nothing in my world,” JJ has commented, “happened before 1945.”

“When I was a teenager I learned that celebrity is beautiful, and the photographs of famous people are beautiful. But we’re in a different era to Warhol – we don’t have Marilyn Monroe or Elvis – we have get Stormzy, Amy Winehouse. Dizzie Rascal is a cultural elder! “I just like to twist and change images of the famous and apply some grit. It’s in the way my hand touches the canvas, whether it’s with a brush or through printing. “I don’t even know if it’s art, I just follow my impulse in my studio.”