Latest Presents #1 – Gavin Strange aka JamFactory

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1. Can you please tell everyone a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Hello internet! My name is Gavin Strange and I’m a designer / creative berk living in Bristol. My day job is a dream job, I’m Senior Designer for Aardman Animations and by night I go under the alias of ‘JamFactory’ where I try my hand at absolutely anything, from toy design to filmmaking!

2. What was the first creative thing you did that made you think you want to do a creative job?

Haha, well I remember seeing brightly coloured cereal packets in the supermarket when I was a teenager and wanted to be the person that makes them look that way. Im not sure why it clicked like that, but I guess that was what I worked out graphic design was. I knew it wasn’t art, as I’d only seen that stuff in a gallery, but seeing those graphics on something I used everyday got me excited and that’s where it began!

3. If you weren’t a creative superstar (job wise), what job do you think you’ll be doing?

I don’t know about superstar, less ‘star’ and more ‘berk’ :). If I wasn’t doing professional colouring-in then I really don’t know what I’d be doing. I’m barely capable at this, so anything outside of creativity I’d be pretty screwed. I’m really bad at anything hands on and not academic at all (haha, I spelt ‘academic’ wrong and spellcheck just had to autocorrect it for me!). I think maybe something to do with animals, maybe a rescue dog sanctuary or a hippo farm. Do they have Hippo farms? I’d start a hippo farm.

4. What inspires you?

Life man, just life. Haha, sorry It’s really hard to answer this without sounding like a douche! Honestly though, everything, I get so excited just looking at everything. Seeing people do great things really inspires me, especial when you learn about them as humans and discover their path to greatness. I love a good underdog story and find people who have heart and soul and passion doing great things so inspiring. Nice people, I really like nice people. I hate it when you find out your heroes are dicks, that’s so upsetting. I once went to a talk by a hero of mine and he was one of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever heard, they’re not my hero now. Nice people making things with their heart and soul thrown in, that’s what inspires me.

5. What is your biggest achievement?

Oh man, I hope I don’t come off as an egotist by talking about it!? Well, I would say my part in Aardman & The Grand Appeals Gromit Unleashed project was my most proudest achievement; I designed and painted a 5ft Gromit statue along with 79 other people for the project in 2013, which saw all the statues be placed around Bristol as an art trail. They were all then auctioned off, with every single penny going towards the Bristol Children’s Hospital. Mine sold for a whopping £29,000 and the people who bought it very kindly anonymously donated it back to the Children’s Hospital, so it lives on the 5th floor where children can stop by and see it. It was the most emotional, positive, beautiful, life affirming thing I’ve ever had the honour of being involved in.

STAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT, LAD! – The making of my 5-foot tall dog for Gromit Unleashed from JamFactory on Vimeo.

6. If you could pick one person to work on a project with, who would it be?

Oh wow, that’s a tough one! I’m a HUGE fan of KAWS. I love his work ethic and the variety of mediums that he’s worked on. I’m also a massive Spike Jonze fanboy, I love his creative flair and independence to what everyone else is doing, a true visionary.

7. Other than being a creative and working on making rad stuff, what other things do you do with your time?

I play the drums! I’ve been having lessons for the last few years now and absolutely love it, just smashing stuff with sticks is brilliant, with or without a drum kit! My lovely fiancé and I have a retired racing greyhound which we love to bits, so getting out the house and taking him for a nice walk has been so good for my mental state of mind, getting away from the screen and clearing my brain tank! I also love video games, they were such an influencing factor growing up, so I try and play them whenever I can, which isn’t often, but I do really love them.

8. And lastly, what do you have lined up for the future?

Who knows! I like to make as little plans as possible, but I do have a few goals I’d love to achieve; buy the time this comes out then I’ll have been able to show off that I designed a 4 metre high Gromit statue for the Gromit Unleashed Hong Kong exhibition, that’s a life goal definitely ticked, make something huge!!

I’d like to carry on making films, I really love the process and love being able to do everything from shoot it yourself to designing the titles to sharing it with the world via methods you choose. I’d like to teach myself how to write a fiction script too, as the things I’ve made so far have all been documentary style, but I’d like to challenge myself to write a fiction piece. I’d really love to make it an animated film too, so who knows what will happen there!?

I’m starting a new venture with my good lady, something we’re going to launch after we’re married – I can’t say much at the moment, but it’s going to be something fun and new for the both of us!

Who knows what the future holds!?

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