Jul 26, 2007Interview: Jon Burgerman
In my previous article on Mr. Burgerman, I wrote that he seems like a pretty hilarious person and down to earth, and I must say that in all facts that he prove me right. He’s a really great chap with a personality to match and very down to earth. He took time out of his very busy schedule to sit and have a chat with me, and I am eternally grateful for that. We talk about everything from Teletubbies, Tottenham Hotspurs, Ossie Ardilles to the mystery called Banksy. Alright then, let’s take a trip into the mind that brought us Burgertown:
The Serious Bit:
Work related and a day in the life of Jon.
F’kn Mischief: First off, how was your trip to Beijing? What was it like working with Jeremyville, Luke Bennett, Ben Frost, and Asian artists such as Li Qiu Qiu, Song Yang and Nie Jun? [Got any pictures? ] Were there many street art[ists] in Beijing?
FM: At what age did you start doodling, and when did you realize you could make a career outta it?
JB: I realized once I’d been paid a good amount of money for a simple doodle I’d done for Levis. I gave up my part time job that month, working out that if I just managed to get one job a year like that I would earn about the same amount – which wasn’t a very big amount but enough to live simply from.
FM: I’ll ask you the question you asked me earlier: does getting paid to doodle | stencil | paint outside on the streets still make you a street artist? [tee hee]
JB: I guess it does; you’re an artist, you’re on the street, so therefore you’re a street artist. Whether you’re the one who has sold your soul to a corporate devil or not is up for further debate.
FM: Have you ever done anything else other than doodles on the streets? Ever tried a different medium or different form of street art, like stencilling or graffiti?
JB: I tried graffiti once, it was terrible and I’ve not tried since!
FM: I loved what you did in Derby recently: the wall where all the kids and adults alike could paint it in. It’s really creative. Was that your own idea or was it a comissioned job?
JB: It was a commissioned piece that started life as a blank page to do ‘something’ that would / could involved the ‘public’. The resulting project came about through talks and ideas I had with Quad (the gallery involved).
The Pot Shots Section:
Random questions that came to mind when the serious one’s ran out.
FM: I’m from Malaysia, btw… Ever been here? If no, ever been to any other part of Asia besides Beijing?
JB: I’ve not been yet but would love to. I’ve just come back fom Beijing, which was my very first trip to Asia. It was amazing, I had such a great time and can’t wait to get back over to that side of the world.
FM: You’re from England, so the next question’s a must: which footy team do you support? N. Forest? Derby County? Whose the most famous football player you’ve ever met?
JB: I support Spurs (my dad is a north londoner). I’ve been lucky to meet the whole Manchester United squad from the early 1990′s and the Celtic team from the late 1980′s but I was super lucky to bump into
Andy Sinton inside Hillsborough once. (I also met Ossie Ardiles very briefly).
FM: Ossie Ardiles is a legend! Speaking of legends: ever met Banksy? He’s such a mystery but I’m sure that at least SOME people must know him!
JB: No, but I know people who have. Their response is always somewhat underwhelming. I’ve met lots of artists I really like though, and you realise that they’re just normal people who just happen paint good.
FM: What inspires you more: Barney The Purple Dinosaur or The Teletubbies?
JB: Teletubbies by about a million miles. I remember when they first launched them over here in the UK, it was mind-blowing (I’m not joking!) .
FM: Ever been arrested? What’s the most dramatic moment in your life?
JB: Nope. I know there have been dramatic days / moments but none spring to mind right now, let’s leave them in the recesses of my memory, which is probably a good place for them.
FM: What’s next for you? Are you going to evolve or do you already make too much $ doodling to bother with something new?
JB: That’s about right, if something isn’t broke why fix it? I think if you don’t evolve you’d be asking for trouble. Even little incremental changes in the way you make work are important. Things have to keep moving forward or else everyone gets bored, especially yourself (or in this case, me)
Thanks again, Jon, and do keep in touch. Cheers.