The Everyday Interview with Illustrator Jack Hughes

The sought-after work of London-based illustrator Jack Hughes is a master class in visualizing the contemporary man with exquisite nods to previous golden eras of style. Sharp, elegant and refined, it’s no surprise his client list includes Montblanc, Esquire, Adidas, Mr Porter, The Macallan, Vogue, L’Officiel Hommes, Christie’s, Harrods and several other iconic names.

Jack studied illustration and animation at Kingston University, and upon graduating in 2011 has since been freelancing full-time. Here’s what Jack had to say in response to our 7 questions:

What did you want to be growing up?

I never wanted to be an artist, I never considered it a viable career. In hindsight I now realise my parents didn’t think it could be either, not that they were ever against the idea, I just don’t think they were very well informed. Having said that – they always encouraged me to be whatever I wanted; be it an architect or actor or even a cross- dressing bag lady. They were very supportive like that.

Where did the idea for your brand come from and how did you bring it to life?

I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a ‘brand’ per se. A lot of artists and designers present themselves in a particular light through their social media and I used to be so determined to hone my online personality in such a way. Until I realised it left me feeling empty and unfulfilled, it wasn’t genuine. Since then I’ve stopped trying to be this character I had become, my likes and followers have dropped as a result, but I’m more content and enjoy my ‘no fucks given’ attitude to social media now.

What has been the greatest challenge to your brand/work?

Illustration, especially online, is like a million voices all shouting for attention at the same time. It can be difficult to not get caught up in the obsession with setting yourself apart from the crowd. My style came to me quite naturally, over the course of several years (and is still changing) and I think it’s important to keep that in mind – don’t force it, ignore what’s popular and carve out your own niche. Maintaining that, however, is the next challenge, especially when people start to latch onto your successes – you have to constantly be one step ahead of your competition, always second guessing them.

Who was or is your greatest influence?

I’m often asked this question and it has never been an easy one to answer. It’s easy to reel off a long list of artists and designers to name check against my work and see a correlation between my work and theirs. But they’ve never truly been my inspiration, my greatest influence is probably the people I surround myself with – friends, family, co-workers, etc. As long as they’re hard working regardless of the field they’re in, they will continue to inspire me to be the best I can be.

How would you describe your personal style?

Black and not very inspiring! Style used to be so important to me, I sometimes cringe at how closely I used to follow fashion trends and try my best to showcase my own sense of ‘personal style’. Comfort takes precedence more than anything now; if you feel comfortable (regardless of what you’re wearing) then you’ll exude a confidence that will make up your sense of style.

Tell us something no one knows about you?

I don’t love cheese.

7 words to describe yourself

I didn’t want compile this list myself, so I asked a few of my closest friends and they came up with the following – precise, diligent, bolshy, proud, dry, honest and amazing (the last one was me).

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