CAE: Listening, part 3You will hear a radio interview with Jourdan Kemp, an artist whose work is used on CD covers. For questions 1-6, choose the correct answer A, B, C or D.
You can listen to the recording twice.
You now have 1 minute to look at the questions. Then start the recording.
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Hello this is Sally Maynard, with this week's edition of Art Today. My guest on the programme is Jourdan Kemp, best known for the CD covers he illustrates for rock band 'Gogo'. I went along to talk to the rising star about his dual career as artist and illustrator. (pause) Jourdan, you've recently enjoyed a solo show of your original paintings and you certainly now have a successful career as a painter, so I guess my first question has to be - why did you get involved in the area of illustration and prints?JOURDAN:
Well Sally, I trained initially in painting, but then I decided to go on to study illustration at the Royal College. In an ideal world, I'd have stuck with the painting, but I didn't like the idea of coming out of college with an art degree and trying to make my way as a painter - you know, selling large original paintings on canvas.SALLY:
... like so many others do ...JOURDAN:
Yeah, I wanted to create some kind of solid career out of what I was doing. I dreaded being left out there, just painting pictures, hoping to sell a piece of work - not that there was any definite promise of a job in illustration either.SALLY:
Indeed, getting that big break, if you like, doesn't come easily... So how did it all happen for you?JOURDAN:
Well, while I was at the Royal College, a visiting lecturer, who seemed to like what I did, asked me if I'd provide some illustrations for a popular lifestyle magazine ... the CD cover project came later on, when I had my degree show, which included the magazine stuff. A design company spotted it and basically one of their guys just asked me if I'd agree to take part in a project designing CD covers for the rock group 'Gogo'.SALLY:
A great opportunity for a young person just starting out ... and the Gogo project has given you a reputation as one of the most promising illustrators around - (aside) I heard that even rock star and well-known art lover David Bowie admired your work on television when it formed a backdrop to a Gogo performance.Yet for a painter with very little experience of deadlines and commissions behind you, it must have been unnerving when you started.JOURDAN:
Well Sally, one of the biggest problems for me was that I had no idea what to charge initially, so I just agreed with whatever the record company suggested - that might sound naïve to you but a lot of people just price themselves out of the market too quickly, whereas for me the approach paid off ... my rate soon doubled. Now, even my original paintings sell well too. People actually contact the record company to track me down.SALLY:
So you didn't even have to put them in a show?JOURDAN:
No, there's an irony there!SALLY:
Did the deadlines get easier too?JOURDAN:
Well, at the start, I was usually given between one and two weeks to complete a commission. Now they'll just call me up and say: 'the next single's coming out - go ahead.' They usually give me the title of a song - so I'll have that to go on, but sometimes I don't even have that.SALLY:
That's a pretty flexible approach.JOURDAN:
Yeah, I think that once the record company had decided that my work represented the image of the band, they were happy to leave me to my own devices. So the brief was almost entirely open - to the point where I had full creative control if you like. In one piece, where I'd painted an empty playground, they wanted me to add a figure. But even then, they ended up using both versions.SALLY:
Yes, let's talk a little bit about what you actually draw for the company, because these are scenes of, well, urban desolation really... deserted playgrounds, kids playing in the street ... they're quite claustrophobic in some ways - you know, you don't want to be there.JOURDAN:
You've got a point there, Sally. They feature these sort of defiant characters. I achieve that by blocking out the eyes and mouths and there's an underlying sense of danger. Places can be like that - quite off-putting in some ways.SALLY:
Yet, despite the sombre feel of the work there's also this enjoyment of materials and colour. What do you use for ideas?JOURDAN:
I use old family photos and I've got a huge collection of pictures that I've taken of buildings, playgrounds and figures. I often print sections of the photos onto paper and then play with the image ... so they're never just copied. I always take them a few steps further ... changing the colours, the horizon line and the composition. But I use my own drawn imagery more and more. I'm finding now that photography can slightly inhibit the imaginative side of creating a picture.SALLY:
I can't see that ever happening to your work. And if you want to see some more of Jourdan Kemp ... (fade)