Artist-Illustrator Ian Jepson embraces China’s #GoldenWeek

HEY IT’S OCTOBER! We bet your social media is flooded with #Inktober, #Halloween and of course, #Oktoberfest. Well, this week the Stickerbomb team headed down to Hangzhou to cover our latest collaboration with Levi’s and found out, the hard way, that October is also China’s Golden Week (7days of National Day holiday + 3days of paid leave = humans everywhere).

For a two-day live drawing event at Levi’s Tailor Shop, we flew in artist-illustrator-pizza enthusiast Ian Jepson (@ian_jepson) all the way from Cape Town, South Africa. People swamped for a photo op at the event and we wondered if it was the electrifying canvas he did, or were they also electrified by the artist himself? Was the fame too much to handle?

Though he did confess that the best thing about the event was having all those people around and watching him draw, he was really humble about it. “I mean that was awesome. People really enjoyed seeing it and coming up and speaking to me, that was really cool.”

Check out what else Ian Jepson has to say about the jam-ing time he had in Hangzhou!

Is this your first time in China? How has the experience been so far, any culture shock?

This is my second time, I was here about 4 years ago for an animation convention but that was in a different part of China. Hangzhou is completely different and it’s really great. But, it’s not the easiest place to get around – the most difficult part was getting from the airport to the hotel, without having any mobile data or Wifi or Internet or anything and not being able to speak the language. That was tricky! But I managed and I’m having a great time!

What has been the best thing that happened this trip?

Hmm, let me think… … I guess the best thing was doing the live painting and being at the event. It was really exciting and interesting and there was no time to be bored at all, it was just really, really fun!

How was this collaboration with Levi’s and the inspiration behind the canvas and patches?

Well, it was really great to collaborate with Stickerbomb and Levi’s on the patches and the canvas. I just tried to do something in the sort of style and vain of Levi’s. So of course on one side I’ve got the guitarist with the amped jumping around, shouting out loud words, and then the other side the guitar being smashed. I mean, you know, that’s just the kind of stuff I connect with Levi’s.


How different is live drawing from your usual digital illustrations?

For one thing it’s on a massive scale. The canvas was 3 by 2 meters. So I’m used to work with a screen that ‘small’, drawing directly onto the screen and being able to ‘Undo’, which is the thing you can’t do when you are doing it live. And also just filling large areas of colour, you know on the computer it’s just a click but when you are doing the canvas, you’ve got to sit there and just fill the entire thing in. It is really the size and the tactile nature of doing a large canvas.

Day 2: Smashing guitar on the second side of the canvas

What’s behind your ‘gothic-electro’ style?

I guess I’ve always been into older, graphic stuff. I mean my favourite stuff is the real pulp illustration from the ‘70s and the ‘80s. The stuff that isn’t particularly ‘good’ like film posters for horror films in the ‘80s where it’s not specifically drawn perfectly, it’s got kinda like a ‘badness’ to it that gives it character. But I don’t really know where it all developed from, I just followed what I liked doing and it just took me in that direction.

Taken from Ian’s Instagram (@ian_jepson).

How would you describe Ian Jepson’s style in one sentence?

Graphic, bold and sort of drawing from all the weird things like films and old comics and old music, there’s a sort of ‘throwback’ to it but at the same time I try not to let it be too stuck in the past.

That was one long last sentence there. Rock on, October.



STICKERBOMB believes in providing artists, illustrators and muralists with a platform for showcasing their work to a global audience. A brainchild of Studio Rarekind, a creative workshop with an established presence in London, Bangkok and Singapore, Stickerbomb curates artwork in its popular sticker book collectable series, raved about by a worldwide following. Today, Stickerbomb stays true to a vision of building a community of emerging artists, by giving fans a daily dosage of contemporary art and street culture.