Jon Burgerman


Written by Liz Cookman
11 Monday 11th February 2013

From Pepsi cans to his own iPhone app, Inkstrumental, Jon Bugerman is a man on a mission to make the world a far more colourful, wibbly sort of place. Cartoonist, designer, sculptor, street artist, mole lover, rapper even - we caught up with the mixed-media doodlemeitser.

How’s tricks over in New York, New York?

We have just endured a heavy snow fall. Apparently it was be of 'biblical proportions'. I don't remember there being a lot of snow in the bible. That's one of the fun things about living in America, everything is bigger. Even the weather. The language here is fun too, people invent phrases like 'snowpocolypse'. All is good here though, I've enjoyed living here for the past couple of years.

It must be an inspiring place, has your work changed since you decamped across the Atlantic?  

Yes I'm sure it has. I've tried doing a lot of different things since moving here. I've tried out more materials and see many more art shows, performances, talks and things like that. It's all got to have an impact on my little brain in someway. It's been good being unfamiliar and uncomfortable too (initially), comfort kills creativity - put that on a t-shirt!

You recently collaborated with photographer Kirsten Becken on Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, a project combining your doodles with her photos.  How did you two meet?

We met on the internet, that's how everyone meets these days. Kirsten emailed me and we chatted a bit about working together. Last year we did a few little tests and then we worked on the Lucy collection.

What was the idea behind the project?

I don't really know. For me it's about day dreaming, about transforming yourself and your environment through what you wear and how you've decided to look. The hallucinations are brought on by the imagination of the model. Overall it's about play and having fun.

On your Facebook group, Burgered, you create Burger-characters from photos uploaded by members. Are you inspired by your fans?

Sure, I'm inspired and interested in anyone with something to say. I love doing projects where people can put their own spin on things and surprise me.

East 1st Street, NYC

You’ve been involved with a few renovation projects including everything from street art to doodling the toilets of a probation facility in the Bronx. Is this something we’ll be seeing more of in the future?

If I get the offers to do more, I'd certainly consider it. I didn't set out to draw in a probation centre, but someone from the Mayors office in NY invited me to help out and I heeded that call. Like a drawing superhero... or something.

If you could give any landmark the Burgerman makeover, which one would it be?

It might be fun to turn the London Eye into a giant spinning pizza. It's round to start with, which is half the work done already. I love pizza. New York pizza has totally changed my opinion on the stuff. It's totes amazeballs.

Home Slice

Right. It’s time to come clean: moles. Just what is it about those guys? You’re an artist, they’re almost blind, but you mention them a lot – we’re confused.

Did you see those naked mole rats on the David Attenborough show the other week?

The amazing BBC documentary series Africa, we most certainly did.

They're amongst my favourite animals. I've no idea why I like them, perhaps because they're small and furry and a bit blind. Are those acceptable redeeming features?

Not just an artist, he does poetry too,

Now you’ve had one from us, can we get one from you? 

I'm waiting for the L train

To trundle me home.

There's rats on the platform

As I type this on my phone.

My jacket was once yellow

But like a bruised and ripe banana

it's now turning black.

The rats scatter for cover

The train is on the track.


For doodles and mischief from Jon Burgerman, head to his website

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