JJ explains his unique style of adding and hiding objects in his work.
"This is something I get asked about a lot"
"Hiding objects, words and messages in my work is something I have been doing since I was a kid, I used to love staring at old Iron Maiden album covers looking for the hidden logos and messages, I would draw fighter jets as a kid from a picture in a magazine but then add my own elements to it, many times I would even add Iron Maiden logos, little hidden messages, bullet holes, graffiti, nose art and so on.
Add to that my love of the 2000AD comic characters "The ABC Warriors" who were robots that always had words added in somewhere on their arms or guns and my love of the artwork of "Tank Girl", you should have seen my school diary and school bag, it was covered with logos and messages, my version of graffiti in my teens was to scrawl something random or funny on a wall as I walked past at school or on the way home or I would trace a character out of a comic book and turn them into something else adding my own elements, so by the time I was apprenticing to be a tattoo artist at 18 years old, my tattoo flash drawing would always have hidden messages. It's part of who I am, I can't help adding my own touch to things preferably with a little humour.
It was a natural progression. I want to give the viewer something more than just the image, something that they'll find later and not straight away or give them something to laugh at to brighten their day or something that no matter how hard they try and work it out, it will never make any sense.
I have noticed that a few other artists are trying to do the same right now, I guess it's becoming trendy to hide easter eggs to convey a message, using graffiti and tattoos and words that are relative to the subject matter and I always wonder where their real inspiration comes from and why they are doing it. Do they understand graffiti and do they know why they are doing it? It only works with a very strong image to start with. I just hope that their initial idea and their images don't get lost in all the added detail."
I'd like to think of it as my own unique style that I created on my own but it's not really is it, I had a puzzle when I was five years old of hundreds and hundreds of tiny baked beans dressed in clothing doing random things like water skiing and driving cars, I'd stare at it for hours trying to find the hidden things they were doing. I honestly think I owe my artistic style to the guy that created that baked bean puzzle, it's entirely his fault." - JJ