Jimp, known to his family as Jim Hollingworth, is certainly no ordinary illustrator. Indeed, as Deborah Curtis’ biography of him goes, he is ‘an unstoppable recorder of our times.’
Which, perhaps, doesn’t bode too well for ‘our times.’ The narratives weaved by Jimp’s work tell unsightly tales of macabre washed out skulls; a young girl gazing aghast at her ghoulish reflection; a police car as the victim of arson revenge attacks and love billed as ‘romance and fucking violence lol.’
However, as you may have twigged, undercutting the dystopic scenes he depicts is a massive doseof homour and a knack for the bizarre that stops things ever becoming too terrifying.
Opening this Thursday in East London is Return to the Cave, a solo show featuring over 100 of Jimp’s works in media including watercolour, pencil, acrylic and monoprints.
The title refers to not only Jimp’s recurring themes of the primeval and the stripping away of ‘the thin veneer of civilisation’, but also the way in which the work itself is displayed. Eschewing more ‘civilised’ methods, many of the works are pinned in clusters or pasted directly to the walls of the space.
The cave is an underlying leitmotif for Jimp, conjuring notions of cave drawings from a time when humanity was at liberty to reveal, so says Curtis, the ‘troglodyte rawness of our baser-selves.’
On a lighter note, the images will make you – to borrow Jimp’s expression – ‘lol’: the palpable awkwardness and very human anxieties carried in the primitive lines of this works perfectly capture social nuances and quirks.
On 16 August, Jimp will be holding a live drawing evening, which will see him create a work live to a B-movie horror soundtrack.
Return to the Cave runs from 5 – 26 August at Eleven Spitalfields Gallery, 11 Princelet Street, London E1