Double Tap: @jamesjirat
James Jirat Patradoon's neon visions of death
James Jirat Patradoon used to call his style “cyberpunk meets Grease“. His obsession with the ’80s from the perspective of someone immersed in modern tech made for some dark and comical results. These days, he’s doubled down on the more worrisome aspects of his infatuations and settled on a new horrorcore look that’s he describes as “if Hype Williams did music videos for Rammstein.”
The illustrator mainly creates with digital drawings, sometimes expanding into the realm of GIFs and mural work. He’s even started combining them and projecting his subtle animations onto walls. We caught up with Patradoon to find out about digital mediums, being Thai in Australia, and his unhealthy fascinations with the ’80s and Japanese art.
So you move around a lot? Where are you at now?
I travel a lot, but my home base is still very much Sydney. I love Sydney. I’m back and forth to the States pretty frequently and try to travel as much as I can. I’ve mostly been all over the U.S. and Asia and am keen to visit Europe this year.
Still using the Cintiq?
Working with a Cintiq is the best way for me to get things looking the way I want. I have a short attention span and also don’t like having stuff around. I try to keep things pretty minimal so my entire studio moves with me when I travel. It sucks because it essentially means I’m on the computer all the time, though, which messes with my attention span even more.
How many mediums/fields do you actually work in?
I work mostly in drawing digitally. I used to use predominantly graphite on film, but once I got the digital stuff looking the same, I just moved it all over. I also do animated GIFs, the occasional mural when someone lets me, and I’ve done art direction and music videos in the past. I’m experimenting with projection mapping stuff now, which is a combination of murals and animated GIFs, but done in a live setting. I like moving across mediums, it keeps things interesting.
What was it like growing up Thai in Australia?
I didn’t really have a sense of home or belonging anywhere, so I always felt like an outsider. I guess that affected my outlook on the world in general and being able to question things or see inconsistencies in things. My parents would take me back to Thailand every four or so years to show me where I was from, and it was a pretty big shock each time. Although Australians will deny it to their dying breath, there is still this unspoken racism here. I experience less so now because of the social bubble I’m in, but growing up I was definitely made to feel like I didn’t belong here. But I do.
Why are the ’80s so appealing to you?
I’m not so sure, I think it’s something about the nostalgia and the excessive vibes of that time. I was too young to really remember them, but the visuals and the music of that time give me this real electric cocaine vibe. I think the ’80s also really encapsulated the sexiest visions of the night, with neons bouncing off everything, chrome, wet streets, big collars and big hair.
What role do manga and Japanese art in general play in your influences?
Oh, it’s huge, I think about this a lot. My favorite Japanese artists are Suehiro Maruo, Toshio Saeki, Hajime Sorayama and Shintaro Kago. Their work is so strange and disturbing, but visually still looks so highly polished. Their imagery is so niche and rich that their work can’t be anyone else’s but their own. One of my first exposures to erotica was accidentally through Ninja Scroll as a kid so I’m sure there’s a lot to unpack there as well.