Monday, December 5, 2011

Interview with Artists I Admire: Jim Tsinganos

I discovered Jim Tsinganos on Etsy a long time ago, but I was able to interview him just now. I'll be honest: His name was the first thing that drew me to his Etsy shop, because a. It is similar to 'gypsy' in Greek, and b. Ι have only heard of it in an area not far from where I live. Little did I know, when I clicked on that shop link, that he has won numerous awards, and that his art would win my mind and heart. So the name became an apocalypse: I saw concepts translated into images, and I knew this man should be interviewed for my blog. Dear readers, here is Jim Tsinganos!

Tell us a few things about yourself.

I was raised in a small rural/industrial town about 250km north of Adelaide in South Australia. My parents were Greek migrants who had emigrated in the 50's and 60's.

From a very young age I knew with absolute certainty that I would leave and stretch my wings, for "Wanderlust" was strong within my heart. My name "Tsinganos", after all, is very similar to the greek word for gypsy. After graduating from design school, travel I did, and with a friend and $1500.00 in my pocket we set off around the world where I ended up working and living in Amsterdam on 2 separate occasions. I eventually returned to Australia and settled in Sydney. I instantly knew that I had found my home and within 3 months I met the woman that I would marry. Sixteen years and 3 children later we live on the water in the middle of the royal national park about 1 hour south of Sydney.

What are the major influences on your work?

Throughout college in the 80's it was illustrators like Brad Holland, Anita Kunz, Gary Kelly and Guy Billout. But also fine artists like Chagall, Modigliani, Hockney and Magritte.
Nowadays I very rarely refer to illustration, art books or websites alone for inspiration. I try to draw on all aspects of life as an inspiration, from music, film, dance, cinema, theatre, nature and literature. I try to keep myself open, an empty vessel for whatever life has to bring. How the sun plays on a cloud at a certain point in the day, the back spray from a wave, a lilting song line or a great bit of prose or poetry. I try to remember all these moments, store them in my "vault" and call on them when i need to. I also keep sketchbooks that I refer to often and I work in a studio that I share with 4 other wonderfully talented illustrators. Every day that I go into work I find inspiration.

What would you say is your strong point, that makes your work totally unique?

It's all about the idea for me. Once that gets me in then I concentrate on trying to convey that idea to the viewer via the technique in a way that will resonate, hopefully in an emotively charged way.

You have had some very famous clients so far. Do you have a favorite, among the projects you did for them?

I did a series of posters over 1 and 1/2 years for Opera Australia. That was a wonderful project as I had a lot of creative freedom at the outset and the exposure was terrific. I also did a pro bono piece celebrating Amnesty International's 40 year anniversary. I really enjoyed that,  for the image, the client and the cause.

Do you have a favorite medium?

I used to work in pastels and watercolour but a few years ago I made the change to digital and now I do everything in photoshop. I never thought I would come to like it so much as I was a bit of a ludite for a while and I can't ever imagine going back to pastel. But never say never.

Do you have any free time? How do you spend it?

With 3 children (2 of them under 6) I have very little time to myself. Any time I have is spent entertaining them and making them laugh, although I still do manage to fit in a swim every now and again.

Thank you so much, Jim, for finding time to do this. I wish you personal and professional happiness, always!


  1. What an amazing artist! Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to get to know more about him :)

  2. Oh! great interview and great artist! thank you Demi!