Jack Taylor Lovatt’s work exists in many forms, but across it all is a seductive dreaminess. He initially got his start in illustration and drawing, but has since expanded his focus to include multimedia work as well. You might have seen his work in Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s collections with whom the artist has collaborated on several occasions. Lovatt is turning a new page and has begun a new series, I Wish, which joins his illustration with found and discarded objects.
Lovatt began his University years in a photography programme, but his professional practice ended up focusing on drawing which he has been doing since he was a small child. He first drew as a means of self-expression, but as time progressed he began to see drawing as a way of communicating his experience and identity with others. Lovatt’s work is often inflected with surrealist impulses, a quality that allows his work to extend into hopeful and utopic grounds. The sexuality and sensuality of his work often comes together with his surrealism to provide brief escapes from reality.

“I Wish” brings together drawings and multimedia sculptural pieces informed by conceptual art and the artist’s experience with the fashion industry. Lovatt is not aiming his sights at the fashion industry’s industrial scale quite yet, but he is interested in the way fashion can activate and speak to different identity groups. Ultimately, he hopes this new series will expand the horizons of his work, and provide new points of engagement for viewers.
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"Untitled', 2022. Supporting artwork for 'I wish'. 2023.
Good afternoon Jack Taylor Lovatt. To start off, could you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about your work?
I'm a multimedia artist based in London. I'm originally from Greater Manchester, in the north of England. My practice mainly focuses on illustration and drawing, I think that's what people know me best for.
What brought you to London?
I moved here for University about seven years ago and I studied fine art photography. I had always lived in the north of England, and I wanted a change. At the time, I had a really big interest in photography, but things went in a different direction and I ended up focusing on illustration and drawing.
Tell me a bit more about the path to your current practice. I understand that you've been drawing since you were a small child. What influenced your development as an artist?
I mean, I suppose illustration became my main practice by default. Like you said, I've always drawn since I was very young. It's the perfect medium for me to create a form of language and express my picture of queerness and express myself and my identity. It felt like the best way to approach what I had to say and what I wanted to communicate.
Was there anyone that you looked to, particularly in art school, that helped you try to course for yourself in terms of style and form?
In terms of the style of drawing, I never really wanted to get too heavily influenced by other artists, I have always thought that sometimes you can get a little too inspired and the work might become a little bit too much like theirs. I've always been inspired by surrealism and by queer culture, politics, queer art and photography. Although at the moment I'm massively inspired by the photographer Nan Goldin and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
I just got a new book of Nan Goldin’s work and I've been completely obsessed.
I think maybe it’s surprising for people to hear that from me in regards to what inspires me, but yeah I look at many photographers for inspiration.
While we’re on that note, are there any films or books that you have looked to for inspiration throughout the years?
One of my most favorite films is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 one.
What is I Wish, I've seen this as a motif in some of the things you've been posting recently?
Yeah, I Wish is the title for a project I've been working on now for a few years. I'm really excited about it. It's something people don't really know me for. It's away from the illustrations and the drawings.
It focuses on bringing conceptual art pieces and fashion together. I think it encapsulates the world that I've created through drawing, but bringing it to life. It focuses heavily on reclaiming found objects, old and discarded materials that I have found. utilising them and making them into something beautiful to create a narrative and story.
I'm excited to see some of the final products. How did your collaboration with fashion partners begin? I understand that you've worked on some collaborative series for a couple years now.
I feel that working with people from the fashion industry has made my work more public. It’s allowed more ways for people to identify with the work. I love working with stylists and designers who are willing to use their work to push the boundaries, it's an industry that embraces all types of identities, so it just feels right whenever my work crosses over. It's something I'm excited to explore more of, the project “I Wish” definitely does that.
Are there any ways that you're most excited about your work existing in the world? I've seen some of your work go from an original drawing, to an editioned print, and finally to a t-shirt. Do you see a distinction among these forms?
I'm in constant conversation and I think the illustrations allow me to have a voice. So whether it's a drawing on paper or is something you can wear, it all communicates the same thing.
Are there any mediums left that you would still like to try that you haven't touched yet? Or in which you haven't made your work publicly available?
Yeah, with I Wish, which will become a publication or zine for me to showcase the works.
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"Untitled', 2022. Supporting artwork for 'I wish'. 2023.
How have you gone about curating those objects? I also like working with found materials and I find that people often have very different processes of selection when they're going about this kind of work.
I have references and imagery that inspires me, there's a lot of mythology imagery within this project. It excites me to see things in a different light, to create something beautiful out of stuff that I have found on the street or from second hand shops. It gives me a buzz. The works are very unconventional but with a deep concept, they all have a lot of meaning to me.
I don't really like using the word collection because it invokes the idea of a fashion collection. However, there are about 20 looks all together and they make a story from beginning to end. For me, it translates a narrative and  conversation, and as an artist that's what I'm looking for.
I'm really struck by how identity seems to be a through line in your pieces and something that people engage with a lot. I'm curious what it feels like to be an artist who's able to reach younger queer people through your work and how that's changed as your work has got more public.
I never set out to have an audience, and I never really dreamt that doing what I did with the drawings would ever become a career, the drawings were mainly just for myself. I think at face value, my work can be very sexual and even verging on being pornographic. Drawing the images that I draw, there are icons of sexuality, but there are also many other meanings behind them. A lot of the work that I create is an escape from reality, and I think that's why people are drawn to them. But they’re very real at the same time.
I would love to hear a bit more about your process. There's a roughness to many of your drawings, and I understand that you work quite quickly. How do you know when a piece is finished?
My drawings come very quickly, and I don't like to spend too much time on a piece, because for me it's spoken language, it's my form of spoken language, so I don't want to overthink it.
For me to draw a picture, it must happen quite quickly. There are elements of surrealism within the drawings that touch on certain matters that I'm thinking about at that moment or that I maybe can't or won't express with language. So I'd say it's quite quick. But with the pieces that I am making for I Wish, that’s a totally different approach.
Do you have any rituals with drawing?
I just do it whenever. I have done some of my best drawings in the most obscure places. I don't have to be anywhere. I just do it when it feels right, and when it feels like there’s something I want to say.
Is there anything that leads to that moment of inspiration for you or does it just strike you pretty randomly?
Just day to day life.
What has it been like to manage a studio team?
I've got a few people working alongside me from the fashion side in terms of constructing garments. There's a lot that I've learnt about that process and many new things on the more technical side of creating garments which has been exciting to put into my world.
How do you approach collaborative artistic production as opposed to what seems like very intimately personal work with your drawings?
The people that work with me have been my friends for a very long time, so they know me and they understand me as an artist, so I can comfortably approach them with anything. Sometimes it can be really like, “oh my god, how are we going to do that?” But we make it happen! Being  an artist, it's a whole different environment for them, and I think they've learnt something new as well. It's a very unconventional way to set up a studio environment so I think it’s fun and exciting for them.
Do you have any advice for young artists who are still finding their footing?
I think my advice is just to be yourself and try not to reference too much in terms of your style. I think it's just about keeping going until you find the sense of style you feel most connected to and that expresses you in the right way. You want to create art because you have something to say. So I think you just have to trust yourself. Don't try and do something you're not, because then people won’t connect with it.
You said that you started out with photography, do you still take photos or have you put down the camera?
I did for a while, photography is an artform in itself. It takes a long time to get to a place where you really find your own identity with photography, and it takes a lot of work. I do take photos, but nothing I would push forth to be my main focus, but who knows.
My last question is about place again. I'm curious if London is somewhere that you see yourself staying, or if Manchester is a place where you would like to ground your work in the future.
I don't know where I'm going to be. I love London, and the freedom  it allows me to explore myself and my work. I don't think I'll be here forever, there is so much of the world I want to see, it'll just be timing.
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"Untitled', 2022. Supporting artwork for 'I wish', 2023.
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'I Wish' 2023 preview. Rabbit Ears Headpiece.
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"I wish', 2023 Manifesto from sketchbook.
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" Wish' 2023 preview. St Sebastian/ Tinkerbell arrow Jewelry.
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"Untitled', 2022. Supporting artwork for 'I wish'. 2023.