Artist Jake Foreman shares his inspiration and story

Artist Jake Foreman shares his inspiration and story

Jake Foreman’s intricate, quirky illustrations have found their way onto skateboards, wine bottles, gig posters – and now the Dinner Ladies’ vans and website! We fell in love the first time we saw his work – his images and use of bold colour are immediately eye-catching, but it’s the little, unexpected details that draw you back in for a second look, and then a third. We spoke to the Adelaide artist about his art, influences and finding joy in the every day. 

How did you get your start as a commercial artist? 

I originally worked as a designer at a graphic design studio in Adelaide but I always liked doing my own illustrative stuff on the side and wanted to make that leap to working for myself – so I branched out as a tattoo artist. I liked the social aspect of tattooing and working with my hands but what you can express in a tattoo is kinda limited by the medium. I’d also started doing graffiti. Legal? Haha… not so much but then businesses asked me to paint murals for them, so my commercial career took off. I’ve done album covers, wine bottle labels, soda cans, gig posters, billboards. I love print work, so it’s really anything that lends itself to that. As well as the commercial stuff I have my own range of lifestyle products, like T shirts, posters, etc. 

What would you say were your biggest influences? 

I’d say it’s split in two. First there’s the aesthetic, visual influence of artists from the 70s and 80s. I love that era of psychedelia, with everything hand drawn before being transferred to computers and printed. My work is really inspired by the print work techniques of that era – you layer colour down in flat blocks, like, first blue then red then black. The illustrations really only come to life with the final overlay of etching dots and lines – it’s what brings three dimensionality and life to the drawing. Then there’s the more philosophical aspect of my work that you can see in, for example, inspirational quotes on my posters, about optimism and mindfulness. I’m influenced by Eastern philosophy, writers like Ram Dass and Alan Watts. Having a level in my art beyond the aesthetic is important to me, bringing a focus to what’s joyful in the every day.  

How did you approach the Dinner Ladies brief? 

I think I tried to encapsulate family values, the idea of the shared experience of sitting round the dinner table. Then I got to know a bit more about the business and its history, starting small and growing organically, and I wanted to get across a sense of fun, and going against the grain which seems to be what you’re about. I think I’ve shown that, like in spaghetti spilling out across the table, and playing with perspective, with people being different sizes, things like that. 

And finally, what does food mean to you? 

You’re not going to like this but food to me is mostly about efficiency. It needs to be healthy, vegetarian, not too many ingredients. I do meal prep for the week. But Adelaide’s a great town for eating out and that’s where I get to try more exciting things. And no! I haven’t tried the Dinner Ladies food yet, but I’d like to!!! 

I think we may be able to arrange something there, Jake. Leave it with us…. 

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