Jasper Goodall: Contemporary British Illustrator
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Jasper Goodall: Contemporary British Illustrator

Jasper Goodall is a contemporary British illustrator, whose work is credited with revitalising the industry. He has worked for a range of clients, including Gucci, BMW and The Face. His style is slick and highly-polished, but laced with subversive humour. Much of Goodall's work is highly sexualised and is therefore not for the faint-hearted.

Jasper Goodall is a highly-talented British illustrator whose work is credited with revitalising the industry. He has worked for a range of clients, including Gucci, BMW and The Face. His style is slick and highly-polished, but laced with subversive humour. Much of Goodall's work is highly sexualised and is therefore not for the faint-hearted.

Goodall often uses found imagery in his work. As he explains:

'Normally, the way I work is very figurative and photographic based. It’s heavily drawn from photography and, up until recently, that would be pilfered from all over the place – websites and magazines chopped up and reassembled in Photoshop. That way I can create my own models.'

It could be argued that this way of working is influenced by the global, mass media culture that bombards us with images of all kinds.

The erotica/fashion publication S Magazine asked Goodall to contribute to their 'Play' issue.  He developed this work into a series entitled Pornogothic, which fuses fetishism with gothic horror. Goodall has an interest in gothic horror and the B movies of the 1960s and 70s, films that abounded with sexual imagery and exploitation. He was interested in why certain sexual themes recur in these films, specifically vampire nuns and virgin sacrifice:

'I enjoy the frivolity and unashamed enjoyment in the sex and gore of these films and their posters and whilst I recognize their tendency towards political incorrectness I relish the side of humanity that they stimulate - guilty pleasures I suppose. I wanted to put some of the tongue in cheek humour obviously evident in these posters into the work I did.'

This is an image called Zombie Dolls. The aesthetic here is what we would call Southern Gothic. It draws on a particular form of the occult, namely Voodoo, a belief system that originated in Haiti. Voodoo witch doctors or ‘bokurs’ could supposedly enslave the dead. The image features the voodoo spirit Baron Samedi, as well as women emerging from a swamp. Voodoo is active in the southern state of Louisiana, which is renowned for its swamps or bayous. The image has a languorous, indolent atmosphere.

This is an image called The Call of Cthulhu. This is based on a story by the American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft about a horrific tentacled creature that surfaces on an island thrown up by a huge underwater earthquake. This particular story also connects with a peculiar sexual fetish. Throughout history, Japanese art has featured erotic images of women having sex with tentacled creatures. The first example was a painting by Hokusai (1814), which shows a woman receiving oral sex from an octopus.

No collection of gothic horror would be complete without an allusion to Frankenstein, the great horror novel by Mary Shelley. H.P. Lovecraft also wrote a story called Herbert West: Reanimator, which is in update of Frankenstein, and Goodall has used it as inspiration here. He named the image Re-animatrix, a contraction of ‘reanimator’ and ‘dominatrix’ (a female role from sadomasochism). It plays with themes of bondage. The image revives the aesthetic of the 1931 film version of Frankenstein. The greatest scene in the film is the creation scene, which involves modern technology in a medieval tower. It creates a kind of techno-gothic aesthetic.

Goodall designed cover art for the group Muse, which shows a development in his style. He photographed smoke and manipulated it digitally to create portraits of the group emerging from cosmic mist, like galactic nebulae. He used Photoshop to manipulate the image of a horse that appears on the cover of the single, Knights of Cydonia.

Goodall has recently moved into fashion design. He developed his own line of swimwear called JG4B in collaboration with the designer Louise Middleton. His illustration shows an obsession with the female body and with his fashion design he is, in effect, adorning the female body and using it as a medium.

In 2009, Goodall launched his first London gallery show, entitled Poster Girls. This marked a new direction in his work, mixing photography with illustration. He created striking images of shiny latex, pink goo and acrylic cut out body masking. This work comments on fetishism and the line between fantasy and reality.

Please see Goodall's official website and online gallery for further imformation about his work:


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Comments (6)

Pretty exciting--especially the highly stylized stuff!

excellent article.I enjoyed reading it..Thanks

Nice work Michael. I knew about Jasper Goodall, but knew very little about his work until reading this beautifully illustrated article.

Ranked #1 in Art & Art History

Thanks, everyone.

Outstanding piece of work.