Jon McCormack is an illustrator whose work is currently on display at Omnibus. His black and white prints show a mysterious and mischievous world, high in detail and significance. Find out more about him at jmcillustration.com and instagram.com/jmcillustration
Tell us about yourself.
I’m an Irish illustrator who has being living and working in London for the past three years. Originally I studied film and television production before going on to work as a storyboard artist. Then I started to branch out into illustration and worked on an Irish children’s book series called Vroom-Town. I enjoyed working for other people but I found that my style was really generic and nondescript. There wasn’t really any of my personality in the work I was doing so I decided to move to London to do an MA in Illustration at UAL Camberwell. The two years I spent at Camberwell were exactly what I needed. I’ve learned so much, especially from my fellow classmates who are so talented and diverse in their approach to illustration. I’ve only just graduated from the MA so I’ll be returning to Ireland for a short period to begin on some new work.
What interests you about your chosen art form?
The best thing about illustration nowadays is that it can be found in many places; editorial, comics, picture books, gaming, multimedia, etc. There is a vast spectrum of outlets to showcase your work and the ability to have an online presence makes it easier to connect with others. When I studied film I felt very limited in terms of what I could achieve based on my passion and my skill sets but now I feel that there are many avenues available for me to take.
What are your motivations behind the art you produce?
I like to draw things that are strange and uncanny. I was always into fantasy and such and I enjoy anything that has a world and narrative I can get lost in. Film and animation are a strong influence for me and I especially like to create mood and atmosphere that give you a sense of place. Telling one story has its merits but creating a world where many stories can happen is more interesting to me.
How do you work when creating prints like the ones on display?
Humour is also a very important tool for me to endear my work to others. An absurd image or cartoon often feels more honest to me than other things I do and if it makes me laugh then I’ll put it out there. This can backfire sometimes – you don’t want people laughing for the wrong reasons!
Normally I draw and outline on paper and then scan and assemble on my computer. I used to use Photoshop a lot to create artwork before I did the MA but now I love using all kinds of drawing media and piecing them together digitally. I enjoy mixing the charm of hand drawn imagery with the efficiency of digital software. There are still many processes that I want to explore, such as printmaking, and I feel it’s very important to keep things fresh and moving in that sense.
Which print that is on display at Omnibus is your favourite and why?
My favourite is the cat with the diamond eyes! It’s based on the Cat Sídhe from Irish mythology, which is sort of a fairy or spectre that takes the form of a black cat and steals the souls of the recently departed. I just like the attitude of it – the eyes and the stance are slightly sinister but also kind of silly. It was exactly how I pictured it in my head so I think that’s why I like it the most.
What has been the most exciting moment of your artistic career to date?
I suppose being accepted for the MA was the most exciting moment for me as it validated the potential I had to be a working artist. Before I only really considered myself somebody who could competently draw for other people but now I realise there is much more I can offer. Now that it’s over, I’m excited to showcase more confident work and see where it takes me.
Pop in and see Jon McCormack’s work on display for the next few weeks!