James Burke is an award-winning visual artist, creative director and entrepreneur based in London, England. As founder for Acrylicize and his multidisciplinary approach, he's been challenging established ideas about the creative industries.
Prior to his talk on 24 April at D&AD Festival 2018, we chatted with Burke about what inspires him and what aspiratios he has for the future.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a London born practising artist and designer. I’m interested in connecting people with art and do so through several projects. I’m the founder and creative director of acrylicize as well as co-founder of studio 7. I also make solo work under my own name as well as my Moniker Shesh and have been playing drums since I was 6!
How does a regular day look like?
I’m up early to make sure I see my wife and two boys before I head over to my studio in Shoreditch. Once I’m there I jump from project to project at a pretty mental pace. Im involved in so many aspects of the studio (not just the client work) and love the creative challenges each task presents. Ill either be on site, working with the team or locking myself away in the quietest corner I can find.
What makes you tick creatively? Where do you find inspiration?
For me its just about trying to do things differently. I take inspiration from everywhere. We’re always absorbing all the noise thats around us and processing it both consciously and unconsciously. I always think that all the ideas we ever need are right in front of us - we just need to see them.
What do you do to work around a creative block?
Leave it and come back to it. If you’re not hitting an idea thats fine, it’s all part of the process you just have to own that. If you stress about it you’re putting you’re just putting your energy in the wrong place. Ill often go for a walk without having any idea where I’m going and see where it takes me. I also have an incredibly talented team around me which always helps. They are an incredible source of inspiration.
How did you start your career?
My final year art degree show - I just never stopped the project.
What piece of advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
Confidence and belief is all you need. One of the incredible things about art is that it can be anything so go with how you feel and dont worry about what others are doing. Be the Game!
What would you say to those who want to take your job?
It’s all a game. There are lots of challenges every step of the way. If that sounds stressful it isn’t for you. You have to embrace those challenges and figure out how to turn them into opportunities... thats basically how you play.
What has been the greatest idea you’ve ever had?
Bringing my drums into the studio
Do you have a side hustle? If yes, how and why did you decide on it? If no, why?
I have a few. I think i need to be involved in serval different creative pursuits at any one time to maintain balance in my life. Studio 7 have been taking more of my time as has my shesh project which is always there. Its currently taking the form of a live hip hop open mic night I created called Root Down.
What are you looking forward to see in the creative industries in the next 15 years?
As things get more and more digital I hope that people continue to make real life connections. Great work will come from this.