Glitchy Relocations

Japan-Based Illustrator Takes Us To A Glitched-Up Beach House

Influenced by the aesthetics of glitch, illustrator and animator James Gilleard has taken a rough n’ ready approach to digital composition which saves him time, isn’t a chore to produce and still has alarmingly effective results. Beach House is his most recent series that demonstrates his new approach to creative work. It comprises a series of landscapes based on the Massaro House on Petre Island, New York, which was inspired by the designs of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Beach House

“I did them very quickly – an image a day, or less,” he tells us. “I just came off a large complex job with many revisions in a really detailed style which essentially burnt me out, so I wanted to try something impressionist that had minimal details but when viewed as a whole made sense.”

Mountain Top

The images look as if a sepia filter has been delicately placed over the top, with round bubbles containing traces of sun-spots. This gives an effect of looking at the images through squinted eyes, and hereby contains some of the resonances of the popular, yet underground, glitch-style. James takes us in zoom in and zoom out mode with Beach House, giving us a detailed look at some of the intricacies of the images, while also allowing us to take in the breadth of the whole scene. The effect of such a curation of images tells us that the closer we look, the less we see. The scene becomes more pixelated, and ever-more out of focus.

Driving Through Tokyo

Having relocated from London to Japan for new waves of inspiration, it was a pleasure to stop by with James for a chat about his current work and lifestyle:

The Plus: What are your current artistic preoccupations?
James Gilleard:
My main preoccupation recently has been to develop a style that I myself am happy with, something new, something fresh and something to get me excited for illustration again. Around a year ago I became bored with my style, I felt it had become stale and wasn’t happy with anything I produced. This may have been a product of my environment (London) so we decided to upsticks and go to Japan.


TP: How has living in Japan influenced your work?
A change of scenery/lifestyle is something I have been thinking about for years and so far I think positive results are showing in my work. The landscape is a lot more inspiring than the landscape I was used to in Britain. Everywhere I’m going at the moment I’m taking photos, some of which formed the basis for these images. The image of the mountain is a stylised view of a mountain I see every day when I go onto the balcony for a cigarette.


TP: What inspired you to make Beach House?
Initially I intended to draw the Fallingwater house but then found Massaro house. They are both quite similar but this one worked better with the beach I had already drawn and would fit into the composition much better.

TP: How did you create the images? Take us through your creative process.
In Illustrator I would gather all my favourite photos and just interpret elements until they formed an image. No preparation, no thought of what they are going to be used for, just drawing for the sake of drawing and trying out a slightly different style. I’m using grids in illustrator – hence the geometric style – and apply digital brushes in Photoshop after the raw vectors are drawn. After that I use textures and overlays to create a ‘used’ feeling.


TP: Are you a fan of glitch? What draws you to this style?
Yeah, I love glitch art and was introduced to it through a blog called ISO50. They are slightly inactive now but used to post music playlists, art, design and photography – all with a common feeling to them. I first discovered Tame Impala through them and many other great bands, but it was Vaporware that I really took to and began looking into it. The videos are usually made up of old footage from late night tv in the 80s/early 90s, or news credits and such.

TP: What kind of art are you influenced by?
All kinds at the moment, the older I get, the broader it seems to be. I really love collage art right now and would love to try something like that soon. Impressionism is a form I have loved since college when attempted it for my mock A Level, so I have tried to replicate certain aspects of that into a digital form. Apart from that I am really into mid century patterns and textiles, Glitch art, pop surrealism, all kinds of architecture, retro fashion, car design, cartoons, etc.