Artist Jeremy Lord creates Japanese “neon garden” - Image Magazine


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Artist Jeremy Lord creates Japanese “neon garden”

Artist Jeremy Lord creates Japanese “neon garden”

Japanese themed bar Goros recently commissioned Jeremy Lord to restyle their entire outdoor area with a “neon garden” concept. A freelance illustrator and artist with a fascination for Japanese art and culture, he was the perfect person for the job! In this article, Jeremy elaborates on the concept, design and timeline of the project and shares some of his creative background and insights with us.

Jeremy started out his career in graphic design in Paris, his city of birth. After completing his studies, he worked for various branding agencies and found that since he mainly enjoyed doing illustrative briefs, he would focus on illustration  full time.

“That was 15 years ago now and while I still occasionally work on branding briefs, I prefer to focus on one thing only. This has allowed me to create my own “brand” or style of illustration and chase briefs that allow me to work in that style,” he says.

It is not surprising that Jeremy was commissioned to work on the Goros “neon garden”.  He was inspired by Japanese Manga (comics and cartoons), anime (hand-drawn and computer animation) and pop culture from an early age, and admits that he learnt to draw mostly by copying Dragon Ball Z characters.

“Over the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot of creative work with Goros, who are based in Surry Hills, Sydney. They are the dream client for a freelance illustrator, so when they approached me with the latest brief, I was ectastic! From there, the idea of a Japanese fauna and flora wall came pretty easily,” he explains.

In creating the “neon garden”, Jeremy went with a traditional Japanese concept, in terms of style and content.

“Japan is a country where tradition and a neon futuristic cityscape tend to mix a fair bit. So, the idea of including actual neon signage to create a kind of ‘Tokyo backstreet’ atmosphere was a good fit. The plan was then for me to design the entire wall - what I would paint, and what Neolite (the company that made the neon signage) would then have to build. That meant designing signs that could actually be recreated in neon and placing the neon signs throughout the wall as well.”

The timeline for the project was four weeks, as the ‘neon garden’ had to be completed by 8 January 2021, for Goros’
re-opening party. “Part of this project was to transform two other big walls in a Manga-type style that did not feature neons, but as timelines go, four weeks is a very generous amount of time for a project like this,” says Jeremy, explaining further that the wall had to be completed before Neolite could install the neons on top of the artwork.

He admits, rather sheepishly, that this was done almost at the very end of the four-week timeline!

At each stage of the installations, Jeremy provided Neolite with to-scale digital files for the designs and placements within the wall.

Jeremy says that the project was fairly simple to carry out and did not present too many challenges but points out that there were some considerations to consider during the process.

“One of those considerations was that I had to use spray paint on the walls, which are comprised entirely of slats - something I had planned to do anyway, as my intention was to replicate the look of neon signage, and the glow effect is best achieved with spray. The signage was, however, a little bit trickier.

“Neonlite are really good at what they do and while they did not give me any restrictions in colour or design, the nature of neon signage means that any artwork recreated this way can’t be overly detailed – line work is required, which can limit an artist’s options.

 “The other consideration was the fact that this wall will go through a lot of wear and tear - after all, it’s a bar where people will be sitting and leaning on the walls. People may also drink too much and potentially damage the neons or injure themselves. We therefore decided that the signage should be placed in the top half of the wall only to minimise the potential for this to happen,” he says.

 Jeremy is clearly inspired by all  things Japanese. “Beyond Manga and anime, what really interests me in Japanese culture is the blend between the old and the new. That is the theme that guides all my artwork. It’s the egg that comes before the chicken, if you will. From a purely visual standpoint, I also love the Japanese aesthetic but it’s the fact that few cultures have as much tradition and ritual mixed with some of the most futuristic ideas and landscapes. It’s Geisha with all her tradition and ornaments standing in front of a noisy, neon lit video game arcade!”


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