In his latest solo exhibition, The Suggestionists, renowned artist, designer and co-founder of Gorillaz, Jamie Hewlett shines a witty light on the conscious and unconscious, the 'everyday' and the fantastical.
The psychogeographic works – on display until 17 August at Lazinc in Sackville Street, London – are a playful and dreamlike subversive reaction to cultural iconography and visions.
Tarot, the first collection of works, is a homage to the world of Tarotica. Inspired by a book on the legendary Tarot de Marseille deck by Chilean-French art filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, Hewlett has created 22 larger-than-life tarot cards.
Taking three years to complete, he painstakingly hand-painted each one in watercolour, gouache and India ink. He has transformed the originals into dreamy and absurd scenes. Disinterested characters in L’Amoureux (The Lovers) are engaged in a half-hearted romantic dilemma, while a monkey can be seen groping a man in Le Mat (The Fool).
The second collection, Honey, sees Hewlett’s take on the sexual exploitation of the '60s and '70s movies.
Revolving around the fictional character of 'Honey', a series of light boxes evoke a seedy kind of adult cinema lobby. Hewlett draws deeply from the lexicon of B-movie language to create posters that are audacious, saucy and, at the same time, deeply authentic – right down to the affectionately rude credits.
The final and most ethereal collection is Pines, a series of stark and evocative black-and-white drawings that take the viewer into an enchanted woodland.
With fairytale darkness, pine trees fill the frame, playing with light and dark in a meticulous fashion to an almost photo-realistic degree. It brings together the wild and mystical essence that runs throughout the show.
Now living and working in Paris, Jamie Hewlett first rose to prominence as a graphic art rebel and post-punk phenomenon with his comic Tank Girl, which gained a cult following and was made into a movie in 1995.
Work for magazines, advertising and television followed suit, as did, of course, co-founding Gorillaz alongside Damon Albarn in 1998. In 2007, the pair collaborated with Chen Shi-Zheng on the opera Monkey: Journey to the West, which premiered at the Manchester International Festival, UK and Lincoln Center, NYC.