Interview with James Booker

James Booker’s Moments are the best kind of bright, bold, colourful fun. Here James gives us the lowdown on where his ideas come from, his creative inspiration and how he felt seeing his artwork in app for the first time…

What’s your background and how did you become at artist?

It was early on in school when kids were encouraged to draw a lot more than they are now. I remember focussing on all the extra details I would add to my drawings. For instance, when I was about 10 years old, I would draw H. R. Giger’s Xenomorph, memorising all the details on the creature’s exoskeleton.

Over time my art style changed. I experimented with acrylic paints and marbling, before going on to study multimedia and animation at collage, which is where I picked up Photoshop. At the time, I remember seeing a growing trend in photo manipulations, so naturally being a fan of Terry Gilliam and stop motion monster movies, I decided to try creating my own using the Photoshop skills I’d learnt. And that’s where my current style of art came from.

How would you describe your own work?

When starting a new piece, I have a general idea in mind of what I’d like to make, but once I start, I find myself improvising and using whatever I can to arrive at a point where the pieces click.

Who are your biggest influences?

The majority of my ideas come from watching comedy, fantasy and sci-fi movies from the past few decades. Early on, when I was creating more absurd art, I remember being inspired by a show on Adult Swim called Tim & Eric.

Where do you seek inspiration?

I’m inspired by epic fantasy and sci-fi paintings from the 70s and 80s. I also look at current artists who are producing animal and fantasy art, looking for trends or bits that stand out to me.

What keeps you creative?

Just a love for creating. I constantly need to be working on something. If I’m not, then I’m building other things. I don’t really drink and live pretty healthy, so I can’t sit still and do nothing for too long or I get into a bad mood and start to feel awful.

What do you do if you ever find yourself stuck in a creative rut?

If I find some directions just aren’t working for me, I re-evaluate what I’ve made. I take a look at what strategies have previously worked best and try to focus on those. It’s a constant learning process though.

Talk us through your creative process

I haven’t used traditional mediums in a long time. For me it’s more about whatever you can use to get the final piece achieved and out there. A few years ago, I would think about colour choices, using basic art principles learned from high school. More recently, that’s gone out the door and I tend to work with the colours that are offered in the photographs I’m working with, basing the lighting and shadows off of those.

What memorable responses have you had about your work?

The most memorable ones are “WTF?!”, and “I can’t believe people actually buy your ****!”, etc.

What’s the one piece of equipment in your kit your couldn’t live without?

Has to be Photoshop.

If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

I wish I could go back a few years and tell myself which designs were worth making. I made thousands of designs which never really took off, which seemed to be a huge waste of time. But I’m fortunate enough now to have built something which can sustain me thankfully.

How did you feel when you first saw your work published in the Momentful app?

I laughed as I thought the animations were amazing! It made my day.

Which is your favourite Moment of yours that’s available in app?

So far, the one with singing llamas, “Fleece Navidad”.

Explore Moments from James Booker by downloading the Momentful app today on iOS and Android. James is represented by Tate Licensing.