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Jagi interview up from the LTRHDS Blog
logo6-300x2561231Half a lifetime of 16-Bit video games, anime, fantasy art and prog rock, these are the elements that sit on the surface of James Greenaways work, but so much more lies just underneath and it’s this that has developed Jagi’s cult following over the last decade.

James Greenaway first came to notice through the surreal promotional material he created for the his underground breakbeat and jungle parties, in the successive years he has developed into one of Melbourne’s most sophisticated emerging artists.

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Jagi’s artwork is based on the letter Q.




Your intricate landscapes remind me a little of old platform computer games. What sort of influence has gaming had over your work?

An enormous influence I would say. I spent most of my childhood sitting in front of the television playing Sega consoles. When Sonic the Hedgehog arrived in the early nineties, I remember how hypnotized I was by the blurring intricate landscapes as I watched the demo in numerous shop windows run though the first few levels.

Later I would come to understand the true sophistication of the design of the early Sonic games and how influenced by art deco design they were.

Having said that, when I look through old drawings I made when I was under the age of ten, the majority of them are landscapes from fictional video games I would imagine.

My first friend at school had a Commodore Amiga and I believe it triggered something in my imagination at a very early age. Even to this day I have a profound adoration of all imagery that came from the early decades of video gaming, everything from inappropriate box designs to extremely low-res and low-colour pixel art.



I’ll bet your Amiga friend had a copy of Shadow of the Beast.

Hmmm, I can’t remember… I do know that I soon got my own Amiga and I had a copy of Shadow of the Beast II, which was similar to the first installment, but had a darker, stronger atmosphere and more consistent graphics.

But yes, I’m familiar with the Shadow of the Beast series and their fantastic style and production values..

Incredible sound tracks too by David Whittaker and Tim Wright.


The worlds you create are ruled by fantastic feudal warriors and overlords. Do you flesh out each character’s full personality and background story in your head? Is there a mythic Jagi master narrative that envelops your creative terrain?

Interesting question. I wouldn’t say I flesh out ‘each’ characters full personality, or even at all.

When I design a character I want him/her to remind me of classic archetypes from old school manga and video games, such as the unwilling young hero, the nomadic bad-ass lone wolf character, the wise old mentor who is always touching up girls, the evil villain’s right hand man who near the climax of the story realizes the error of his ways and turns on the evil master, the evil master, the adorable flying furry turtle who turns out to be the last survivor of an ancient race of omnipotent god breeders…

a5-art---6Yeah anyway..

So basically the ideas attached to any given character are loose but are profoundly awesome. I have come up with several ideas for story lines that could be good for films or video games, but that is usually a separate creative process to drawing and making art.

And yes there is a mythic Jagi master in this world. He is a shape-shifter and appears in different forms from picture to picture.

You can never be one hundred percent certain who he is, but generally he is depicted with some kind of godly power of creation over the landscape and creatures in the illustration.



bowloramenJagi-Land seems like quite a hedonistic realm. Is it an escape from the uptight anxieties that govern life on the real world? Or are there darker currents running through your work?

Yes I’d say it is an escape. Not just from anxieties of the real world but also from boredom with it.

I often day dream while I’m out and about and wonder why things cant be more interesting then they are. I’ve lived a very sheltered life and felt very out of place throughout most of it, so these landscapes are just depictions of the way I wish people and places could really be.

I don’t think there’s anything too dark in my artwork.. Sex and violence sure, but those aren’t enough to truly disturb people anymore.



You strike me as the sort of guy who just drew endlessly as a kid…Your penmanship is remarkably fine and precise. Have you given much thought to exploring other mediums? Can you imagine your characters somehow leaping out beyond the gallery frame?

Hehehe thanks. Yeah I’ve given thought to some other mediums.. Would love to do sculptures and figurines one day, but my main priority at the moment is in developing video games.

Although it involves the same techniques that I usually use for art (digital illustration), I think it’s a medium for storytelling and entertainment that is more powerful than film, music, or art, for the reason that it can incorporate all of the above into an experience like no other.

At the moment I have a storm of game ideas thundering around inside my head and I’m working towards making those dreams a reality and starting my own video game studio.

With any luck I will have a playable demo of a video game on display at my next exhibition.




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