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The son of a baptist preacher, JJ emigrated as a child from Plymouth in the UK to Cape Town in South Africa in the early eighties. Adams spent much of his youth around the studio of South African contemporary landscape artist Derric van Rensburg, where he discovered his love of bright colour and `graphic`art. JJ studied graphic design at Cape College whilst working as an apprentice in `Wildfire Tattoos` a busy tattoo studio in central Cape Town while also working part-time as backstage crew for international bands visiting South Africa after the end of the Apartheid era. JJ finally returned to the UK in 1998 with the aim of becoming a tattoo artist.

After a number of frustrated years living in London and working in Camden Market struggling to make ends meet, JJ moved back to Plymouth to further study commercial printing at the Plymouth College of Art and Design. Over the next several years he worked as a graphic designer in the South West of England and then moved into sign making and advertising. In 2009 after selling a few of his acrylic paintings through a local gallery he decided it was time to move back to London and finally pursue his art career.

Adams uses a range of mixed media in his work from spray paint to hand painting acrylics, screen printing, collage and digital matte painting as well as photography. He admits being influenced at art school by artists like Norman Rockwell, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Sir Peter Blake and more obscure artists such as Guy Peelleart, Hipgnosis and Storm Thorgerson and lowbrow artists like Coop, Jim Phillips and Graham Coton who was a World War II comic book artist.


JJ Adams works from his studio overlooking the Thames Barrier in Woolwich, South East London.