How I Work: Jimmy Turrell

The graphic artist talks to CR about creating enigmatic album art, trawling charity shops for inspiration and putting a contemporary spin on collage

Jimmy Turrell has a knack for finding beauty in unexpected places. In 2019, he worked with the designer Richard Turley to create an impressive graphic mural using a job lot of 1,000 books purchased on eBay – a haul that included everything from ski manuals to scrapbooks about the Norwegian royal family. The graphic artist works in a range of mediums – from photography to collage, screenprinting and drawing – and often repurposes found images and graphic ephemera from different eras.

Turrell studied graphic design at Liverpool School of Art in the 1990s before doing an MA in graphic communication at Central Saint Martins. After living and working in London for over a decade, he returned to his hometown in Newcastle in 2015 and now works from a studio in the city’s Shieldfield area (just a short stroll from his house). He has worked on editorial and advertising commissions for the New York Times, adidas and Uniqlo, as well as creating album art and lyric videos for Beck, and has worked on projects in New York and Tokyo as well as the UK. He also created a set of three covers for Creative Review’s Truth & Lies issue, creating layered collages which were digitally scanned. Here, he talks to CR about trawling charity shops and eBay for inspiration, collaborating with musicians and repurposing imagery from the past.