Taking his influences from sci-fi, surrealism, fantasy, futurism and graphic novels, Junior Tomlin is one of the best known artists associated with the early rave scene, having worked with seminal rave promoters such as Telepathy, Dreamscape, Slammin’ Vinyl, One Nation, Dream Odyssey and Ravealation, as well as record labels such as Kickin’ Records, React, ZTT and Mute.
Throughout the 90s, Tomlin’s work was a fitting visual accompaniment to a revolutionary new movement, as acid house and rave immersed themselves in popular culture.
His flyers alone, with their imaginative representation of alternative planets, alien species and otherworldly landscapes, have become collectors items’ – leading to bidding wars among ageing ravers on social media platforms and Internet forums.
Tomlin’s comprehensive body of work is the subject of a new book, Junior Tomlin: Flyer & Cover Art, offering a unique insight into the London-born artist’s incredible back catalogue.
Published by Velocity Press, the book marks the first time that Tomlin’s work has been documented and presented in such a comprehensive fashion, across 160 pages on high quality 130gsm paper, with a hardback cover.
Divided into two sections – Record Covers and Flyers – the book also features an in-depth interview with Junior himself and a foreword by Chelsea Louise Berlin (artist, flyer collector and author of Rave Art), as well as commentary from members of the public, former clients and, of course, the wider rave community.
As he explains in the book, “The first record cover I did was in 1989 and the first rave I did was 1992 – Raveworld with the three heads floating in space. I enjoyed the rave era, it was so new.
“Especially when you’re listening to the music and also listening to it evolve, from the bleeps to the hardcore to the jungle and drum & bass, it kept on evolving.”
And as for the influences that inspired him to create such iconic art?
“I was sketching a lot, coming up with new ideas all the time. Things like taking a centaur, which is half man-half horse, and making a centaur biker. Exploring fusion a lot. You can take one element out of context and create something totally new.
“The lovely thing I do know is because I have such a massive backlog of stuff, I can mash up my own work. So you’ll see recurrent themes and characters in what I do, but there will always be a new twist or evolution.”
At a time where division and conflict seem to be more prevalent than ever, Junior Tomlin: Flyer & Cover Art offers a peek at a galaxy full of fantasy worlds, from an era when social barriers were being broken down.
Junior Tomlin: Flyer & Cover Art can be purchase at www.velocitypress.uk. Check out a selection of sample pages below.