Childhood & Early Life
Jamie Hewlett was born on April 3, 1968, and brought up in Horsham, West Sussex. He went on to be a student of the Tanbridge House School.
His talent for arts became evident in childhood only, when his contributions for a road safety campaign landed him the position of a runner-up in a national television competition. He then studied at the Northbrook College, Worthing.
In the 1980s, while studying in college, he met friend and future collaborator Alan Martin, and with another mate, Phil Bond, created the fanzine 'Atomtan'.
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The college fanzine 'Atomtan', which Jamie Hewlett had co-created with Alan Martin, came to the attention of Brett Ewins, who was in the process of setting up the magazine 'Deadline' with Steve Dillon. In 1988, Ewins invited both of them to work, putting them on a rapid career trajectory.
Martin and Hewlett created 'Tank Girl', an anarchic strip about a teenage punk girl, who drove a tank and had a mutant kangaroo for a boyfriend, for 'Deadline'. The strip was a hit straight off the bat as the punk-tinged, countercultural 'Tank Girl' alter-ego immediately resonated with young women around the world. The strip became the most popular feature of 'Deadline'.
Hewlett then started providing artwork for bands such as 'Senseless Things and Cud' and magazine 'Commodore User'. He also designed decor for a nightclub called 'The Factory' in the UK.
By 1992, Hewlett had become a name to reckon with in the comics industry as well as in mainstream culture. He worked with writer Peter Milligan on 'Hewligan's Haircut in 2000 AD'. He was also involved in providing covers and art for 'Shade, the Changing Man', also written by Milligan for DC Comics.
It wasn’t long before MGM approached the comic creators about a feature film on 'Tank Girl'. The movie was released in 1995 but was a colossal failure. Hewlett had very little involvement with the film. He, however, did draw a 'Tank Girl' mini-series for DC Comics, again written by Milligan.
Hewlett then opened a second-hand clothing store, 49, which was managed by his then girlfriend Jane Oliver, but it was shut within a year.
In 1996, 'Deadline' was cancelled due to falling sales and Hewlett concentrated on working in advertising and designs for television. During this period, he contributed to children's series 'SMTV Live' and created the strip 'Get the Freebies', which was published monthly in British fashion magazine 'The Face'.
In interviews, Hewlett has called this time as his "wilderness period". And then, in 1998, came the 'Gorillaz'. At this point, Hewlett had moved in with Damon Albarn, and soon the two came up with the idea for a virtual band. Albarn worked on the music, while Hewlett came up with character designs of 'Gorillaz'.
The first 'Gorillaz' EP was released in 2000, followed by the first album in 2001. He also set up his own graphic design and animation company, 'Zombie Flesh Eaters', in the same year. In 2005, 'Gorillaz' released their second full studio album, 'Demon Days'.
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In January 2006, Hewlett's artwork for 'Gorillaz' was shortlisted for the 'Design Museum's' Designer of the Year award, which he won in May 2006. Also, Hewlett and Albarn won the joint award for Songwriters of the Year at the 'Ivor Novello Awards'.
In 2007, Hewlett and Albarn premiered their first major work since 'Gorillaz', titled 'Monkey: Journey to the West', a re-working of the ancient Chinese legend 'Journey to the West'. It premiered at the Palace Theatre, Manchester as part of the Manchester International Festival, on June 28, 2007.
Hewlett's 'Get the Freebies' strip was adapted by BBC for a pilot titled 'Phoo Action', broadcast in February 2008. Also, BBC used the animation sequence created by Hewlett and Albarn to introduce coverage of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
In 2009, Hewlett journeyed to Bangladesh to document impact of climate change. The trip had a lasting effect on him and led him to create a series of beautiful and fragile paintings. Prints of these paintings were sold and the proceeds were donated in Bangladesh.
In November 2015, Hewlett debuted his first art exhibition, 'The Suggestionists', at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The exhibition made its American debut at the Woodward Gallery in Manhattan in May, 2016.