Hailing from Bristol, UK, Gavin Strange is known to the toy world as JamFactory, creator of the Droplet vinyl toy which burst onto the scene in 2008. Now in their second series the Droplets continue to delight with their simple design and their sweet and curious personality. When he’s not bringing his crisp, colourful style to everything he touches Gav is Senior Designer of the digital department at the illustrious Aardman Animations. I am delighted to be stocking series 2 Droplets through the A Little Stranger Shop.
Is Strange your real name? cause thats awesome!
Haha it is yeap! When I was a kid I don’t think I was too enamoured with it as the other kids used to take the mickey but as I got older i loved it, and especially trying to make a name for yourself in the design world, a weird surname helps!
What inspired you to go into the creative industry?
Since I can remember I’ve wanted to be creative I think. I remember telling my mum, when I was 12, that I wanted to go to university, but that dream was short lived as it soon became apparent I wasn’t academic and my heart didn’t lie in studying, I wanted to get out there and get involved in the big wide creative world!
When you’re not creating what do you like to do in your spare time?
I spend a big hefty chunk of my waking days working or being creative in some respect, as it’s hard to switch off but when I do tear myself away i love to ride my bike around the hills of Bristol (but i’ve even managed to turn that into a creative project, my ‘BOIKZMOIND’ film, i really need to learn to stop doing that!). Aswell as bikes I like to play xbox, take photos, spend time with my good lady and friends and do the usual really! I’m a huge fan of having a cup of tea and a nice sit down, you can’t beat it.
What are you present influences?
Ohh they change all the time! At the moment i’m being inspired by the wisdom of the elders, Milton Glaser and Dieter Rams to name a couple. I love reading, learning, looking – soaking up as much knowledge as I can! Going back to old printing techniques is really fascinating too, I see design in general looking back towards the days of letterpressing and screenprinting, it’s nice – gives everything a warmth and a texture.
People in particular I’m loving, in no particular order: Mister Cartoon, Jared Nickerson, Benny Gold, Carhartt, The Hundreds, Dan Mumford, The McFaul clan, 123Klan, Luis Cook, Jim Phillips, House industries and all independent font foundries around the world!
What do you collect?
Aside from toys – just odds and ends of anything shiney really! I’m a bit of a magpie, I like to fill my working spaces with as much creative clutter as I can, there’s so many pretty things out there, I love to have a bit of it all! I like collecting mugs actually, can’t beat a good selection to have a brew out of! i’ve got a fair few old cameras too, a few old polaroids from yesteryear, a yashica medium format and a Bell and Howell Super8 camera.
Whats next for Jam Factory?
Quite a few things! I’ve gone under the radar a little bit as of late – I used to do lots and lots and lots of projects, all ongoing at the same time, and showing them off the second they were complete – 2010 seems to be the year of the secret as I’ve got far fewer but much bigger projects on the boil, a couple in particular that will stay under wraps until the end of the year, but it’ll all be ready and complete for a big launch when they’re ready! Aside from the secrets, Droplets are still ongoing and I’m hoping to finish the BÖIKZMÖIND film for the end of summer!
What work are you most proud of?
I’d have to say my Cuckoo clock skateboard for Fifty Fifty that I did a few years ago now. It’s for a few reasons, Fifty Fifty is a really well known & respected store, especially in the world of skateboarding so I was really honoured to be asked to do a board graphic to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Second, I’d never done anything that complex before, it really made me learn a lot and meant I was super pleased with the final outcome!