As you are doubtless already aware, a magnificent new mural has appeared in the Baltic Triangle and has been bolted onto a building on Jamaica Street – just adjacent to 24 Kitchen Street.
The work was created by self-taught, Liverpool artist @losthills_ who only took up art a few short years ago. Since then he has created artworks throughout the city as well as Bristol, Manchester and Paris.
This brilliant new street art incorporates the character of Jake from Adventure Time – a muse-like figure for the artist – and represents a sort of wry pastiche of Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’.
Tristan Brady-Jacobs is a director of the Baltic Triangle CIC and is responsible for art projects in the area. Here, Tristan discusses the journey towards facilitating the Baltic Triangle’s latest street art project and introduces an amazing Liverpool artist @losthills_. We also hear from the artists himself who discuss his artistic journey as well as his new piece in the Baltic area.
@losthills_ is one of our most exciting street artists, his engaging style and his love of secreting small ‘Jakes’ in spots across the city means he has become a much loved local ‘collectable’. Enthusiasts seek out and track down his work – with a constant new parade of small slaps (or pasteup figures) which combine ‘Jake’ from Adventure Time with an ever expanding cast list including cultural icons, superheroes, monsters, cute children’s characters and site specific figures such as the Parisian trip which inspired a range of French artists and their most famous muses.
@losthills_ is a rarity in the art world, a self-taught artist who despite having very little feedback or counsel (a problem within the street arts world where artists anonymity means you cannot know who to discuss their work with) but he has continued to progress in technique, skill and understanding. With a magpie-like inquisitiveness, he loves picking up on art styles – from Dali’s soft creatures to expressionism, to Ralph Steadman’s angry scratched caricatures to an old master’s way with leather, pewter and brown he picks up and revels in these new techniques and then moves on.
Not known for the scale of his work. You will find him peeking from behind a low bench in a pub or staring up from a low concrete wall. In 2018 I challenged him to take on a large work. Using sheets of builder’s correx – a strong but lightweight plastic he could produce the work offsite and we could bolt it to the building chosen, thereby not leaving a mark when removed, but a very big impression on the audience when discovered.
One of the Triangle’s ambitions is to provide opportunities for all creative practitioners from street artists to product designers and to give them the ability to make and financially benefit from their work. Sometimes we just need to provide space or materials and step back. At other times we need a hands-on supportive role in order to help those with the skills and ability but with no time, space or financial resources to access those opportunities and perhaps take a step towards independence or development of their ambition.
Working with some great support from local business we were able to solve all the problems we faced and @losthills_ had his chance to write his vision on a gargantuan scale., Thanks to ISG Construction, HOBO KIOSK, Baltic Creative, Chapters of Us, GoCr8, Zap Graffiti, Jimzina, 24 Kitchen St, and Steve and Janet and Delia.
On his start
I just started creating stickers at first – picking musicians that I like and stuff like that. One day, I was off to an art street festival in Manchester and my son asked me to draw Jake from Adventure Time just with a pen. He’d then start to colour them in and that got me thinking about colouring them in myself. I’d had stuff planned at the Manchester art festival but I also added to it by doing some Jakes and they ended up going down really well – I was actually advised by one of the artists to keep going with them as he was convinced that there was something in them. That gave the confidence to continue.
Coming to art later in life
Where I was from in Liverpool, no one was encouraged to do art as a career– it was all about get a ‘normal’ job and crack on. Art was almost a pipe dream. My friend’s mum used to tell me off, saying ‘you’ve been given a gift you know, don’t waste it’ and I was always a little embarrassed. When I look at it know and all the stuff I’m doing now, I see the whole thing as a gift. Art has changed my life massively.
The Baltic Jake artwork
I was talking with Tristan for a while about doing a bigger project. I’d put up various pieces up around the Baltic and I love the area for that reason – the fact that you can add street art is fantastic. For this one, I really just painted what came out and what you see up on the wall is what came out.
Keeping my name secret is for a couple of reasons. Maybe I’m a bit self-conscious but a lot of little things come into play. The other reason is a traditional street art reason which is that some of the spots I choose are not exactly 100% street legal haha!