Jamie Hewlett is a comic book artist, designer and director from England. Born in 1968 “The Year of the Monkey”. His most popular work is with the comic book Tank Girl and virtual concept band, Gorillaz.
While studying in College, Hewlett created a fanzine with his friends Alan Martin and Phillip Bond called ‘Atomtan’ – this brought them to the attention of comic book artist Brett Ewins. Ewins invited them to create material for a new magazine – which then came to be Tank Girl.
Tank Girl is an unconventional anarchic graphic novel about the misadventures of a tank-riding outlaw. Set in a post-apocalyptic society where resources are fiscal, Tank Girl fights against the corrupt Water & Power organisation. Her boyfriend is a mutant Kangaroo named ‘Booga’. The comic’s style is influenced by British Pop Culture, punk visual art and surrealism. In 1995, the graphic novel was turned into the movie and despite flopping at the box office, it gained a cult following and remains a cult classic to this day.
In 1998, he co-created the cartoon band Gorillaz with longtime friend Damon Albarn. Gorillaz. The members in the band are completely fictional. The bands 2001 debut album Gorillaz, earned them an entry into the Guinness World Book of Records for Most Successful Virtual Band. Gorillaz has performed live using hologram technology and all their music videos are animated by Hewlett and Co.
Hewlett has also designed cd covers for various bands including, Mindless Self Indulgence, Senseless Things, Cud and an illustrative comic strip for Pulp’s “Common People”. In the 90’s he collaborated with a slew of indie bands and is literally the poster boy of post-punk British Pop (say that four times really fast).
Like many contemporary artists, he is influenced by Japanese anime ‘Studio Ghibli’, sci-fi, post-punk culture and futurism.
Jamie Hewlett has a distinct style, that is instantly recognisable. His work often deals with misfits and antiheroes and features anthropomorphic monkey characters clad in bandaids, torn clothing, cigarettes and tanks. The characters he creates are rebellious and mischievous. In 2006, he won Designer of the Year from Arts Council England – Hewlett’s work is ever-evolving and each project is vastly different from the last. He has designed operas, directed videos, illustrated graphic novels and album art and runs an animation company “Zombie Flesh Eaters“.
Jamie Hewlett has not only created a personal mythology with the virtual band Gorillaz, he has also created designs for the direction in which technology and culture are going, the shape of things to come
– Chairman of Arts Council, Sir Christopher Frayling summing up Hewlett’s achievements
BBC: Journey to the East animation by Jamie Hewlett with Zombie Flesh Eaters on vimeo