— September 6, 2013 —
Electric sekki had a chat to breakout comic artist, Jonathan Jay Lee, about his recent 'Super Superga Girls' collaboration with Italian sneaker giant, Superga. For such a young guy, he's got a whole lot of talent and wisdom under that youthful exterior. Just like so many of us, Jonathan also grew up in the 90's watching Saturday morning cartoons such as Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles --and that's where he developed his love of comics and cartoons. From there, Jonathan has managed to develop his love of illustration into a professional career path, having worked with Marvel Comics, Harvey Nichols, Red Bull and now Superga, to name just a few names from his impressive client list. We chatted to Jonathan about his love of comics and cartoons, where he finds his inspiration and, of course, which of his Super Superga Girls is his favourite.
Tell us a little bit about your approach to comic illustration and how it's different from other comic artists out there.
I like to think that my approach is similar to that of indie comic creators, where the artist imposes their own storytelling voice. Whereas the big publishers that do superhero books have a particular 'look' or type of storytelling, independent creators are like the auteur film directors of the comic world who get to employ their own visual vocabulary. You'll get genres where everything feels the same, and I don't want to be in that category.
What were some of your favourite comics/cartoons growing up?
I grew up on Saturday morning cartoons in the early 90's, so Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all the way! I was also a huge fan of almost anything Warner Bro.'s, such as Bugs Bunny and Road Runner, and Hanna Barbera's Tom and Jerry.
What do you love the most about your job?
Everything! Even the frustration, anxiety and uncertainty of each new project, and the sleepless nights. That moment when my blood gets pumping about a project and then it's all that I can think about. And the satisfaction of overcoming a difficult task, and looking at a finished piece and thinking "I can't believe I made this!"
How did your collaboration with Superga happen?
I was referred by Chris Keith over at hk2stroke when Superga was getting a Vespa from him for the store. Met the cool people at Electric sekki about their ideas, and developed the concept together with them after creating a few samples of the Superga girls.
How did you find the inspiration for each of your 'Super Superga Girls' characters?
I started by thinking about if someone wore Superga's , starting with the 2750's, what would this someone be like, and then went from there. It ended up that all these girls have a real attitude, which attributes to their choice of Superga styles. I'm sure other people have this experience, but when I am drawing a character's face or expression, I find myself making the same face while I'm drawing them. I'm pretty sure I was making the Zoolander face the whole time!
Do you have a favourite 'Super Superga Girl'? Why her?
I love Antonia, because she looks like a total bitch. It must be because I feel such a strong emotion towards her that I like her the most. I also like Wei-Lin, her kind of cute elegance makes me want to take care of her forever.
Visit the Superga flagship store to pick up your pair today:
Shop 2607, Level 2, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Kowloon.