Artist Spotlight: Jake Cochrane

This artist spotlight is about Jake Cochrane, world traveler and the creative mind behind jakewashere.

My quest for awesome artists to collaborate with has taken me high, low, in, out, and upside-down. In the course of something, sometime, I came across Redbubble, a site for artists to sell their work as prints, apparel, and other random stuff. There are plenty of great things to look at, but for the most part it isn’t a great place to find illustrations for children’s stories – or anything that matched the feel that I was working on. Then I came across Jake’s work.

Where Spirits Play by Jake
Where Spirits Play by Jake

The Heart of the Forest by Jake
The Heart of the Forest by Jake

His art had a distinctive style, but not so much that it got in the way of the subject; it was atmospheric (which sounds like a bit of a cliche, but seriously, look at it); it had its own voice and life inside it; and more than anything, there was a sense of darkly luminous wonder and mystery to it. When I saw his Redbubble portfolio, I knew he was the artist I needed for my story Little Drifters.

That story itself had its roots in a song of the same name, written by electronic artist Mimosis. The song was short and floating and glow-y, and I tried to write a story that conveyed exactly what I felt when I heard it. I had always been very happy with the result, and had a pretty specific vision for the art.

When I got in touch with Jake and told him my idea, he turned out to be on my side of the world: he was in Thailand, taking a break from normal life and seeing the world, as well as lending a helping hand on sustainable housing construction. Despite vicious mosquitos, unreliable electricity, and intermittent internet, he still managed to get me three pieces for the story Little Drifters. He had captured my ideas flawlessly. You can read the story and see his pictures here.

Little Drifters 1 by Jake
Little Drifters 1 by Jake

Jake is a self-taught artist, working mostly in the digital realm. His art tends to find itself onto t-shirts, and he enjoys finding the fantastical in the world around him.

NC Wyeth - The Giant: Probably more of an influence on my life than I know.
NC Wyeth – The Giant: Probably more of an influence on my life than I know.

As I delved deeper into the process of making The Crown of Secrets become a reality, I kept struggling to find a collaborator for The Last of the Giants. The story itself had been inspired by what, in my mind, must be a famous painting by N C Wyeth, the one of a bunch of children playing on the beach looking up at the giant casually walking down the coastline. I don’t even remember when I first saw the picture, but it’s been a part of my imaginative backdrop for so long that it must have been in a story book that I had as a child. Or something.

From the Deep by Jake
From the Deep by Jake (unrelated to The Crown of Secrets)

This was one of the first stories I had written for the project, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to connect Jake’s style with it. As he finished the three Little Drifters images, I mentioned the prospect of his illustrating a second story, to which he replied that he was about to bike across Turkey (the country, not the bird). If I didn’t live in China, I might have found this a little unusual, but it seemed like a good thing to do, and I sent him the story anyway. I was rather excited when he emailed me back to let me know that he was excited about it, too. I’m delighted to have his art for this second story, and can’t wait to see what he does with it.

Third Eye by Jake (unrelated to The Crown of Secrets)
Third Eye by Jake (unrelated to The Crown of Secrets)

Jake is currently back at home in Seattle, Washington, working toward raising awareness of important environmental issues in business and political contexts. You can follow him on wordpress, facebook, and twitter, or pick up some sweet sweet t-shirts and prints at his Redbubble site.

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