“Are you an artist?”
It’s the first thing New York-based illustrator Jeremyville asks me when I walk up to him at the Kiehl’s store on Robson.
“Oh, no,” I say with a laugh. “I’m a terrible drawer.”
Standing in front of a large artwork he has just completed for Kiehl’s, Jeremyville shrugs and says with a slight smile, “So am I.”
The Australian-born artist has designed the holiday packaging for Kiehl’s, lending his signature bright and cheerful characters to the American brand’s best-sellers and special Christmas box sets. “It’s an absolute dream for any artist to have a client who is as into art as Kiehl’s,” he says. “It was an absolute pleasure as a project.”
Jeremyville animated everything from snowmen to shooting stars for the packaging, bringing a distinct sense of playfulness and youthfulness to the beauty world that is so often these days dominated by simple white or black labels. Certain favourite items—such as the Kiehl’s Creme de Corps—are given limited-edition treatment with Jeremyville designs, while the group packs, such as the Face Essentials, offer customers an array of products in festive Jeremyville keepsake boxes and toiletry bags.
Jeremyville was just 12 years old when he was first introduced to Kiehl’s, thanks to a family friend who was the first in Australia to import the brand. He loves the Midnight Recovery Concentrate (as do many; it’s one of the most coveted items), and appreciates the freedom the company gave him for this undertaking. In addition to the holiday labels, Jeremyville drew a special mural inspired by Vancouver—he even put some Kiehl’s oil into the ink of the pen he used—that will be gifted to the BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre.
Despite his success, Jeremyville never went to art school; rather, while studying architecture, he worked on the campus newspaper and would doodle little characters and scenes when sections of a page needed filling. The joyful characters, now seen on everything from T-shirts to colouring books, became his calling card. Since then he has been part of group art shows at places including Paris’s Colette, Pittsburg’s Andy Warhol Museum, and Napoli’s Madre Museum; he has even designed special Chuck Taylors—the iconic high-top sneakers—for Converse.
Because his art career took off, the quirky Jeremyville has never held a traditional office job. “I am fascinated by offices because I would be terrible at them,” he says to me. Maybe so. But drawing? That, I say with confidence, he can do pretty well.
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