INTERVIEW | BEHIND THE ARTIST : JAKE WHITBREAD (@jakewhitbread1)

mic righteous
Jake Whit­bread has been draw­ing and cre­at­ing images for many years now, it began by listen­ing and attend­ing Jungle raves and Hip Hop nights in the mid nineties. He saw that the raw energy and pas­sion in both cul­tures were par­tic­u­larly power­ful and rather than tak­ing a music­al route into these areas decided to develop his cre­at­ive skills such as draw­ing to doc­u­ment both move­ments as they grew and flour­ished. Peace­ful war­ri­or was a Ali­as that was found which best suited him­self and his work, from this he star­ted to draw por­traits of the indi­vidu­als and crews that inspired him in a artist­ic form and in a more deep­er way to live life. We catch up with him to find out more…

When did you real­ise you could draw and were a gif­ted artist?

I genu­inely don’t see myself as a gif­ted Artist! I think that I have spent many many years “learn­ing” how to draw, how to use depth of field or how to draw an image in pro­por­tion. I see these as skills, like learn­ing a trade, then as my con­fid­ence began to grow I star­ted to build my own par­tic­u­lar style and exper­i­ment with dif­fer­ent medi­ums, dif­fer­ent types of paper and dif­fer­ent sized images. I remem­ber one of the first por­traits I com­pleted was of skinnyman (Mud­fam) and it was on a really small piece of paper in biro and through prac­ti­cing my tech­nique I found what best suited the form­at for me draw­ing por­traits; now gen­er­ally keep to a stand­ard size and find that pen­cil and graph­ite help mag­ni­fy the dif­fer­ent fea­tures in my images.

You have drawn so many inspir­a­tion­al fig­ures from the world of music… tell us a bit about how you decide who to draw and what com­pels you to bring them to life through your art?

Well again, I star­ted off draw­ing indi­vidu­al music­al artists whose work really influ­enced me, mainly from the world of Jungle and Hip Hop. I love Jungle because it is a music­al gen­re that was born in the UK, in fact born in Lon­don and I was lucky enough to observe that birth in the early nineties going to jungle raves and sem­in­al club nights such as ROAST, AWOL at the Para­dise club and oth­er events, it sounds clichéd but I feel quite priv­ileged to have been around at the right time and the right place to see jungle develop from its roots. I felt like I needed to doc­u­ment these times so I decided to draw people that rep­res­en­ted the scene such as Con­go Natty AKA rebel MC, MC GQ, Micky Finn.  The same goes for HIP HOP; I chose to draw UK artists and again because I wit­nessed some of these sem­in­al UK releases like Skinnyman’s album “Coun­cil Estate of Mind”, Rod­ney P, Life MC PhiLifeCypher. The decision of who I draw seems to nat­ur­ally cor­rel­ate to the indi­vidu­als that inspire me.

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You bring the ele­ments of Hip Hop to life through your art, your work is full of pos­it­ive fig­ures! How has art helped you in life?

Art or at least the cre­at­ing of these images, look­ing back gave me a pur­pose, it’s really deep, there have been many times in my life where I have felt like I’m no good at any­thing, then I would look at the por­traits I was cre­at­ing and it lif­ted my spir­it on all levels. It felt like it was some­thing that was unique to me and some­thing that needed to be done, to draw these inspir­a­tion­al indi­vidu­als in a style that remained con­stant over the years, to build on this cata­logue of por­traits. I wanted to draw people that spread good vibes and in turn develop the pos­it­iv­ity already present in the music in a visu­al man­ner.

Have you been able to share your art with those who you have drawn? What has the respon­se been like?

Yes I’ve been lucky enough over the years to get nearly every por­trait I’ve drawn signed by the music­al artist that it is of. I think as any­one would be at the start, I was nervous to show my work to the people that have influ­enced me and my life in a massive way, but as I said earli­er the more images I cre­ated the more my con­fid­ence grew. The style that I draw isn’t par­tic­u­larly close to the gen­re, it’s not Graff, I’m not a writer and I’m not an emcee, turn­tab­list or break-dan­cer. I’ve pur­posely come at it from a dif­fer­ent angle, I wanted to rep­res­ent all that was good in the scene in my own style. The respon­se has always been really pos­it­ive, I remem­ber tak­ing a por­trait to be signed to Life MC and feel­ing quite nervous but he really digged it. Same goes for Con­go Natty but it was all blessed and actu­ally received with a lot of love, I sup­pose that it’s some­thing fresh may­be for them to see, rather than try­ing to spit bars at them or get­ting a video of them I was present­ing them in a humble way a piece of me, a draw­ing that I had spent hours cre­at­ing that was try­ing to cap­ture their own unique essence.

You are a massive sup­port­er of the jungle and hip hop move­ments, and get to reach a lot of loc­al events. Are there any music artists that really stand out for you?

Abso­lutely, I think it’s import­ant to rep­res­ent what’s going on around you on a loc­al level, it’s import­ant to show love to inde­pend­ent nights and inde­pend­ent record labels. If you are really feel­ing an artist I think you need to buy the vinyl, cds and be pro­act­ive in what is going on around you, this is how the scene grows isn’t it? Every per­son has a found­a­tion from which they have grown and developed. For me the home grown loc­al crews and artists with­in them that stand out past and present are Sold­ja­souls, Music Les­sons, Anti­so­cial Music, Def Tex, J Roots, Rebel Lion, Chron­ic Redeye Music and indi­vidu­al artists such as Reds, Franko Fra­ize, DPF, Strumz. There are so many man!!! I don’t want to miss any heads out!! For me Bark­er, DJ Eddie, Harry ixer, Han­nah Tobi­as, Reds, Neme, Strumz, Case and Ricky Lix are killing it at the moment.

tenor fly

Your artist name is Peace­ful War­ri­or — what does this sym­bol­ise? 

Ha Ha TOP secret!!! …….well a vet­er­an in the scene told me many years ago that you are kind of given your name, dir­ectly or indir­ectly, so it’s come from sev­er­al moments of syn­chron­icity, I hope it’s what I am really… a war­ri­or, but a peace­ful one!

Have you exhib­ited your work any­where, or do you have any plans on doing so in the near future? 

Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to have my work exhib­ited  in a lot of places such as The Art Of Nor­wich, The For­um Lib­rary Nor­wich, I’ve had my work fea­tured in a few magazines and in digit­al formats. I’m really proud to say that I have had my work shown at The Con­ings­by Gal­lery in Cent­ral Lon­don. I’m par­tic­u­larly proud to have exhib­ited there because it’s quite a pres­ti­gi­ous gal­lery and gave me an oppor­tun­ity to break some of the bar­ri­ers that the Art World seems to have cre­ated. I think the Art world in gen­er­al, what is per­ceived as “prop­er” Art and Art Exhib­i­tions can be very very pre­ten­tious. This issue is very det­ri­ment­al to us all on every level of cre­ativ­ity, there is no room for exclus­iv­ity when it comes to show­ing cre­at­ive work. Invit­ing all people from all walks of life should be act­ively encour­aged to par­ti­cip­ate in view­ing “Art”, there should be a feel­ing of com­plete unity, unfor­tu­nately

What are the toughest chal­lenges you face as an artist?

 This is not the case and I am very mind­ful of the say­ing “divide and con­quer”… no one has the right to dic­tate how you view cre­ativ­ity, I took a load of images at set a stall up out­side a large store in Nor­wich and put a sign up say­ing “everything is free” I gave away a lot of images that day, it was really power­ful to exper­i­ence and chal­lenge what people put mater­i­al­ist­ic worth to. Any­way, It was a really good day and I met a lot of really sound people that might not have chat­ted to me about my art work had it not been for the con­text of free Art, and someone did actu­ally ask to by the “everything is free” sign…. I charged them a pound.

With the rise of social media, do you feel this has benefited you as an artist or cre­ated a sat­ur­ated mar­ket? 

A bit of both I think, I use social media to get my images out there and I have benefited from link­ing with indi­vidu­als that I might not have done oth­er­wise and have developed friend­ships. But I try not to get too caught up in that world, I work with a pen­cil and paper!! And although I am not stu­pid enough to expect my work to reach people without push­ing it I also like the idea of actu­ally talk­ing to people about their par­tic­u­lar pro­jects rather than it all being done through the web.

jinks

What can we expect from you in the near future?

I’m work­ing closely with some loc­al Artists on sev­er­al pro­jects, I’m really excited to be fea­tured on a EP called “The Heartist”, I’m actu­ally doing a spoken word piece in this pro­ject rather than any visu­al work and it’s always been a bit of a dream to lay down some­thing that I have writ­ten. I will be con­tinu­ing to draw por­traits of Music­al Artists that inspire me. I would like to, at some point pub­lish my draw­ings, this is an ongo­ing pro­ject called Music and Pic­tures but I have not inves­ted too much time and energy into this con­cept at this present moment. I’m going to con­tin­ue to go to loc­al events and show love. I’m gon­na con­tin­ue to keep my work real and you can expect me to shout out to any­one who feels the vibe I’m on to con­tact me! We all need to help each oth­er in this industry no mat­ter what your par­tic­u­lar skill is….. It’s all love.

Check out more of Jake Whitbread’s art and keep up to date with his upcom­ing pro­jects on his Ins­tagram https://www.instagram.com/jakewhitbread/

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rish­ma Dhali­wal has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rish­ma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.