Johnny Bull

Goog - one of the new collection of people prints...

Limited edition 'People Prints' by Johnny Bull, one of the UK's most innovative graphic artists.

Johnny Bull’s first job after he left art school was as a record sleeve designer in a crowded, busy studio in Camden Town in 1972. “Oddly, we worked for Island Records as well as knocking out some really horrible stuff for Pye Records. I sat opposite Bob Bowkett who was preparing the artwork for the second Roxy Music album and a very hung-over Bryan Ferry happened to glance at what I was doing – an ad for two singing miners, since you ask. He left, and never saw him again. Funny that.”

Bull has always loved music and was a singer for a while, then painted jazz musicians during the 90s. “I wanted to paint the people I loved; I became known as Britain's most popular jazz painter – did a radio interview with Jazz fm to publicise my 97 exhibition; but I realised the market was limited, I used to joke about it, saying it was like being Britain's most popular casserole painter. It began to dawn on me that after a thousand gigs, the audiences became as important as the acts themselves – as my subjects.”

The advent of the digital camera gave him, in around 2002, the opportunity to photograph casually, lots of people; not obtrusively, but just snapping them, with the idea of making them into images.

"In short, I realised I wanted to design my own crowds. It became important not just to celebrate localities and their landmarks, but the people who inhabited them."

Bull’s design career has always been useful when commissions were thin on the ground; being a father of two and husband to one has made a monthly paycheque a necessity rather than a luxury and his deft use of illustration and typography to occupy a space in an exciting way, has, he feels, increased his love of image-making. His great passion is still that of communicating with ideas, where technique will always play second fiddle.

You can commission your own people print with yourself and friends in the crowd! Please email for details. Johnny Bull will also create a totally original group portrait, family portrait or a completely off the wall school class collage...

Venice - Large size artist's proof at the Prudential HQ, City of London.

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