A year or so ago, Anna and I were in a gallery in Cornwall and came across these fantastic prints. They were like nothing we’d seen before. They combined traditional images or pop culture with contemporary and urban art – tattoos and graffiti. It was this print, Jolly Holiday, that caught our eye. We didn’t buy it at the time, as we were still saving for our wedding, but it sewed the seed.
The artist? JJ Adams. Hailing from Plymouth his family relocated to South Africa as a youngster. There in Cape Town, he studied graphic design at Cape College while working as an apprentice in a local tattoo studio.
It was through cutting his teeth in the tattoo studies of Camden, after moving back to the UK, that he released his first collection in 2011, ‘tattooing’ a range of black and white celebrity images.
So, we were recently mooching around The Centre:MK (shopping centre in Milton Keynes), and saw a JJ Adams staring back at us from the window of one of the galleries. We swore to ourselves that after selling our house, we would treat ourselves to one of his pieces. Here was our chance.
We crossed the threshold into AC Framing, and were blown away. Here, in little old Milton Keynes was a gallery with JJ Adams’ newest collection. So after some deliberation, we settled on this amazing piece. Even better, we discovered that the gallery would be getting one of the 10 artist’s proofs in later that week. Suddenly, what was one of 75 became one of ten. We leapt at the opportunity.
Now, having had it for a week or so, I can safely say that Mary – as we like to call her – is the single coolest thing that we own. It’s mesmerising, and the more I look at it, the more detail I find. There’s even a little animated penguin peeping out of the bottom of the frame.
This is the start of a dangerous habit.
If you’re in Milton Keynes, you can check out some of JJ Adams’, and loads of other fantastic contemporary pieces at AC Framing.