Jason Brooks is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading artists in fashion illustration, using technology to create very unique but recognisable pieces. When developing the tech side of the business, we were introduced to Jason as ‘the’ artist who could help us illustrate our vision for Riviera Circle.

At the time we had no idea who Jason was or how significant his previous pieces were. We browsed his website and his portfolio of work, noticing a very familiar style of imagery and it became obvious that we had seen his work before.
It wasn’t long before we realised that Jason Brooks was responsible for all the album artwork for Hed Kandi (for those of you that don’t know – Hed Kandi was the coolest music brand to come out of Ibiza in the 00s). Every album came with a beautiful and sophisticated woman on the front, respectfully evoking the emotion of the Balearic Island.

After discussing our thoughts, it became clear that Jason’s love for cars and lifestyle made us a perfect match. He was able to translate our branding and philosophy into several spectacular pieces, one of which now acts as our website homepage. We wanted to showcase Jason’s journey as his background makes for a very interesting read, and helps highlight why he became such a success. Some of Jason’s work is available to purchase via his website (www.jason-brooks.com) but the real value lies in his bespoke pieces, which he can create for any Member of the Riviera Circle.

Q) How did you get into art, and what made you realise that you could make a career out of it?

JB: I started drawing at around 2 years old and have never really stopped. My parents are both creative so there were always art materials to hand in our house in Brighton and making pictures has always been something I’ve loved to do. It’s really a compulsion and I wake up with ideas for pictures in my mind all the time. When I was six my family drove to Tuscany – four adults and me in a silver Renault 4. My mum had passed her driving test about a week earlier. Seeing Italian Renaissance art in the Uffizi gallery in Florence really made a huge impression on me. I think it was the paintings and sculptures depictions of the human figure and faces that I found fascinating. I remember collecting postcards and making a scrap book. In a way a precursor of my later illustrated travel books. During my school days I would always be the one asked to illustrate and design posters and pamphlets for school events and later in my early teens I began to get my first freelance commissions from sports companies and local businesses that needed illustrations and logos.
When I was about 16 I illustrated a series of maps for schoolbooks that paid a royalty for years. Because I particularly enjoy drawing people and love dance and music, club flyers were also something I enjoyed creating from may late teens onwards. They had a fast turnaround time and it was exciting seeing my work regularly around London in glossy full colour print. I worked as a freelance illustrator all through college at St Martin’s School of Art which was in Covent Garden at that time, followed by The Royal College of Art in Kensington. During those years I travelled widely with my sketchbooks and art materials all around Europe and to Mexico, Guatemala, New York, Turkey, Kenya, Australia, Morocco- always drawing, painting and taking photographs. While at college I also won the Vogue Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award for fashion illustration and started working regularly for British Vogue when I was in my early 20’s. This lead to drawing assignments at the couture fashion shows in Paris, New York and London and immersed me in the fashion world of the 90’s which is where my career really began.

Q) How did you develop your unique personal style?

JB: When a computer arrived in our house in the late 80’s I was fascinated by it’s potential for making pictures. At the same time I continued experimenting with all kinds of traditional art materials and media. Later on, after I left college I could see that by combining traditional art materials and drawing with the new digital technology there was the potential to explore a style and media that felt completely new. My subject matter developed from my travel and art school experiences as well as living in Ladbroke Grove during the 90’s which was an incredibly exciting time for style, music and fashion. I think my style has evolved and become more refined over the years but fundamentally I’m drawn to exploring beauty and simple, strong, elegant design. I also try to vary the media I use to include both traditional and digital art materials. My clients have also changed over the years and I now tend to work with high end brands including Chanel, Tiffany & Co, Veuve Clicquot and Sony.

Q) You are perhaps most famously known for your work with Hed Kandi. How did you get to work with one of the coolest brands in the 2000s?

JB: Hed Kandi started with just three of us in a room- myself, a record company executive called Simon Cook and Mark Doyle a DJ who devised the name and idea for the new brand. I think they had found my work through magazines and the glossy club flyers I designed for a 90’s club called Pushca. We signed a simple contract and luckily I insisted on a royalty, as I had learned from my experience as a teenager with the illustrated maps. The combination of my artwork, well produced music CD’s, and club nights, proved very popular. We sold millions of albums and it was great fun creating a whole visual brand identity that I think people still remember very fondly.

Q) A lot of your more modern pieces include cars. Do you have a passion for cars and if so how did you get into them?

JB: When I was about 8 or 9 an amazing car showroom opened not far from where I lived in 70’s Brighton. It was positioned on a fairly ordinary street but seemed to me like a beacon of style and glamour from another planet entirely. The business specialised in the most high end modern and vintage Italian cars, mainly Ferraris along with new Alfa Romeos and sometimes Maseratis and Porsches. The front of the shop had enormous windows across two buildings showcasing the incredible cars inside. At one time, to my amazement Carlos Reutemann’s Formula One Ferrari sat in the window. As a boy it became my second home and the staff were wonderfully patient and generous with their time. They would let me sit in the driving seats and operate the controls of Ferrai Dinos, 512 Berlinetta Boxers, 308 GTB’s and GTS’s. The smell of the cars , the satisfying clunk of the doors, the Pininfarina designs and glossy colourful curving paintwork were intoxicating. Through the post I would receive amazing brochures of their stock, and myself and my parents would be invited to evening sales events with cocktails and canapés.

Our family silver Renault 4 now had a Ferrari prancing horse badge front and centre of the bonnet much to my parents amusement. I also saved my pocket money to collect Polistil model cars and meticulously kept them boxed on shelves. I had a 911 covered in snow with skis on the roof, a Citroen Dakar rally car covered in dust with miniature stickers, as well as many of you favourite Italian cars. My pocket money somehow also stretched to MotorSport magazine with the green and white striped cover.

I drew cars all the time, cut aways, technical drawings and designs for what I called ‘Land Cruisers’ which in a way were like 4×4’s imagined ahead of their time. For my birthday I was driven round Brands Hatch in a Le Mans style Lola which was absolutely fantastic and for a while I dreamed of being a Formula One driver. As with a lot of childhood dreams the racing driver one didn’t happen, but I still love car design. I prefer the simplicity of car designs from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and find most new cars at the moment look over complicated, with too many fussy details and design clichés that don’t need to be there. Working with Riviera Circle has definitely refocused my interest in car design and I’m excited to continue the collaboration.

Q) What 3 cars would you have in your dream garage?

  1. A convertible black mid 1960’s e-type – the most beautiful lines and the epitome of cool.
  2. A yellow Ferrari Dino 246 GT with black leather upholstery – a car to make anyone smile.
  3. My own designed and branded electric Sportscar also in black or very dark matt grey – my dream garage would have to contain one of my own designs.

Q) What attracted you to work with Riviera Circle and create some unique pieces?

JB) As you can tell, cars are an area of design that I’ve long been fascinated by, but apart from working with Audi in the distant past I haven’t really explored before in my collaborations with luxury brands, so this is a wonderful opportunity.

I’ve also recently worked with Monaco SuperYachts as well as a high end Italian bicycle company, so the next step was perfect – Riviera Circle and supercars.

Q) What service will you be able to provide to Members who also want their own unique Jason Brooks piece?

JB: There is an opportunity for Members to take delivery of portraits of themselves and their cars to order, pictured in chosen locations. These are unique signed pieces of artwork that will look great in a living room or study and can
be custom made from photographs and through conversations. I’m also planning to create a series of iconic car images later in 2021 that will be available as limited edition prints from my website at www.jason-brooks.com