|Birthname:||Jamie Christopher Hewlett|
|Born:||1968 4, df=yes|
|Location:||Horsham, Sussex, England|
|Area:||Artist, Illustrator, Writer|
|Notable Works:||Gorillaz, Tank Girl, , Get The Freebies/Phoo Action|
|Awards:||Design Museum's Designer Of The Year (2006), Ivor Novello's Songwriter Of The Year (2006)|
Raised in Horsham, West Sussex, Jamie Hewlett was a pupil at Tanbridge House School, the local mixed comprehensive. His artistic skill showed up early - he contributed to the art work to a proposed road safety campaign that that was eventually runner-up in a national television competition. Also, he worked part-time stacking shelves at the weekend at the local Payless DIY store.
While studying at Northbrook College, Worthing, Hewlett, Alan Martin and fellow student Philip Bond had created a fanzine called Atomtan. This brought him to the attention of Brett Ewins. After leaving college Hewlett and Martin were invited by Ewins to create material for a new magazine he was setting up with Steve Dillon in 1988.
The magazine was called Deadline and featured a mixture of comic strips produced by British creators, and articles on music and culture. Martin and Hewlett created Tank Girl, an anarchic strip about a teenage punk girl who drove a tank and had a mutant kangaroo for a boyfriend. The strip proved instantly popular and quickly became the most talked about part of Deadline. Hewlett's quirky style (he was a fan of Brendan McCarthy) proved popular and he started to work with bands such as Senseless Things and Cud providing covers for record releases; he also contributed artwork sporadically to Commodore User magazine.
He also designed decor for a nightclub called The Factory in Worthing. The decor featured red and green stripes, a wall of blown-up panels from Tank Girl set against '70s wallpaper, a Ford Escort hung from the ceiling and toilets pasted with pages from old comic book annuals. The Factory has since been refurbished and renamed.
By 1992 Hewlett had become a major creator in the comics industry, and one of the few to break into mainstream media. He had worked with writer Peter Milligan on Hewligan's Haircut in 2000 AD issues 700 to 707. The series was later compiled into a trade paperback. He was also involved in providing covers and art for Shade, the Changing Man, also written by Milligan for DC Comics.
Tank Girl was also optioned to be made into a film by MGM after being considered by among others, Steven Spielberg. The film was released in 1995 and featured Lori Petty as Tank Girl. It was a commercial and critical failure and was criticised by fans who said it failed to capture the essence of the original strip.
He also drew a Tank Girl miniseries for the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics written by Peter Milligan, as well as helping adapt the film for Vertigo. He also opened a secondhand clothing store, 49. The shop, at 49 Rowlands Road, Worthing, was managed by girlfriend Jane Olliver, originally a member of Elastica, but this was a short-lived venture and closed within a year.
In 1999 Hewlett Did the album artwork for the band Mindless Self Indulgence second CD "Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy" Deadline was eventually cancelled in 1996 due to falling sales in a changed market and Hewlett concentrated on working in advertising and designs for television, most notably the children's series SMTV Live featuring Ant and Dec. He also created the strip 'Get The Freebies' published monthly in British fashion magazine The Face. The stories, all set in London, followed the exploits of Terry Phoo, a gay, Buddhist kung-fu law enforcement officer and his side kick Whitey Action an enigmatic young anarchist with a bad attidue as they tackle their primary adversaries The Freebies Gang of the title. The dynamic between the two heroes was much like that of Tank Girl and her mutant Kangaroo boyfriend Booga, with the episodes from the female protagonist's point of view. The strip's primary function was for Jamie to vent his spleen against the media idols and trends of the day, the story often taking second place to the jokes. http://issuu.com/dearmat23/docs/get_the_freebies_01 The strip ran for one year, the second series was cancelled due to a change of editorial staff at the publication.
At this time he had moved into a flat with Blur's Damon Albarn after Hewlett split with Olliver and it was while sharing a flat that the pair came up with the idea of Gorillaz, one of the world's first virtual bands. Albarn would work upon the music, while Hewlett would come up with character designs, and both came up with ideas for the members of the band. The first Gorillaz single was released in 2000 followed by the first album, Gorillaz in 2001. In 2005 their second full studio album, Demon Days was released. Both albums were popular successes. The band also performed 'live' several times in 2005, including a performance at the 2005 MTV European Music Awards, a performance in the Manchester Opera House and a similar one in the Apollo theater in New York. The band plan a world tour which will feature Hewlett's designs. A feature film was proposed but never made.
In 2004 he was commissioned by Eastpak to design a limited edition range under his Zombie Flesh Eaters brand.
Gorillaz remains Hewlett's main project for the foreseeable future. When asked if he would return to comics by Jonathan Ross on an edition of Ross's chatshow on November 25th 2005, Hewlett said no, but he had several ideas which he may do one day.
Tank Girl though has returned (with Hewlett's blessing) to print under the stewardship of Co Creator Alan Martin and artist Rufus Dayglo. The new series are ongoing, and very much in the spirit of the original Deadline run.
In January 2006 Hewlett's artwork for Gorillaz was shortlisted for the Design Museum's 'Designer of the Year' award. In May 2006, Jamie Hewlett was named the Designer of the Year 2006.http://gorillaz-news.livejournal.com/155031.html#cutid1
On 25 May 2006 both he and Albarn won the joint award for "Songwriters of the Year" at the Ivor Novello award ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel. On 2 December 2006 Hewlett appeared on the BBC's The Culture Show, in an interview with Mark Kermode he listed his key influences as the popular manga Akira, the anime films of Studio Ghibli and horror films like George Romero's Dawn of the Dead and The Exorcist. He stated he doesn't like his children watching Disney films.
In October 2006 Hewlett and Albarn announced their latest collaboration, their first major work since Gorillaz. Entitled , a re-working of the ancient Chinese legend Journey to the West. Albarn wrote the score whilst Hewlett designed the set, animations and costumes. Written and adapted by Chen Shi-zheng, the show features 45 Chinese circus acrobats, Shaolin monks and Chinese vocalists. It premiered at the Palace Theatre, Manchester as part of the Manchester International Festival, on 28 June 2007.
Hewlett and Albarn recently created the animation sequence the BBC uses to introduce coverage of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The sequence titled Journey to the East uses the Monkey character from .http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/monkey/7514376.stm