When BSSC Year 11 student, Jed Bloomfield, was around seven years old he began to develop the drawing style that has morphed into a serious interest in cartooning.
“Those early drawings were nothing but stupid scribbles in a scrapbook,” according to Jed. “But by the time I was in Grade 6 they were drawing-centred.”
By the time Jed had finished Year 8 he had filled ten sketch books.
Jed initially found drawing people a challenge so he substituted objects for faces or body parts he found complicated. These days, with his drawing skills far more competent, such substitutions have become a technique he can purposefully choose for special effects whenever he wants.
“And I often re-draw images until they are perfect, and I can reproduce them in seconds.”
Part of Jed’s current sketchings will also become part of his art folio.
So, the future is looking like cartoons, but Jed is yet to choose a pathway into this lucrative but highly competitive market.
In the meantime, his cartooning has caused him some problems at school when he has elected to sketch an idea in the middle of a class that has nothing to do with cartooning.
“I think I’ve really annoyed some teachers over the years,” he concludes with a wry smile. “I also draw all over my workbooks.”
Jed was somewhat disengaged from school in his early high school years and could not see the point of much he was obliged to do. He describes this experience as really draining.
“These days, I’m trying to live every day in the present and not be too daunted by having to come up with a future plan,” he says. “I do think it’s important to have things to look forward to.”
“Because I’m a massive collector, I’m aware of how good it feels to know something you want is on its way. In fact, I’m looking forward to something arriving soon and I think things like this keep your spirits up when you feel down.”
While Jed is now fully into the swing of life at BSSC, he initially found it a bit nerve-wracking.
“I felt overwhelmed by the size of the place,” he says. “E-Block was like ‘gees’! But I was amazed when I got into the swing of things how much the school had to offer and now I really love the freedom.”
When asked what he would offer as a study tip, Jed is very matter-of-fact.
“Seriously, if you miss a class, catch up,” he says. “Don’t bitch about being too busy. You need to get there.”
Jed is studying English, Maths, Indonesian and three art subjects: Drama, Studio Art and Media.
He was initially unsure about continuing Indonesian, admitting he has a love/hate relationship with the subject.
“I’ve been learning it since prep, so it feels almost a part of who I am,” he says.
Best of all, Jed is now able to focus more fully on art subjects, allowing him to develop his natural gifts. His family are really supportive of his art.
“Mum especially loves the ceramics I do,” he says.
As Jed’s art style has developed, he’s discovered he really likes the unique way a pen works with shading and other features in the images he creates.
“I use pens a lot now to scribble and highlight the images as I build them up,” he says. “I think about my art as ‘structured chaos’ but it’s the perfect means to tell the sci-fi stories I like so much.
“I grew up with Star Wars. My dad actually wanted to call me ‘Jedi’, but the compromise was Jed. I’ve also been really influenced by Mambo.”
Jed acknowledges that inspiration comes from all over the place—music, quotes… the weirdest places, as he puts it.
“The lead singer of the band, The Meanies—a guy called Link—designs the band’s t-shirts,” Jed says. “These are also a source of inspiration for my own art.”
However, for Jed, music is much more than an influence. He describes it as one of the most powerful forces in life, with a capacity to rekindle memories and emotions.
“I think music is also important for wellbeing,” he says. “I have a mate who is so good on guitar and it makes me wish I played an instrument. But listening to music is a big part of who I am.”
Recently Jed found some discarded cassettes and asked his Dad if they had a player. His dad found an old combination cassette and record player that was broken, but which he managed to fix. Jed’s parents also gave him some vinyl. Now, he and his dad spend time together listening to those old recordings.
“I’ve always loved computer games,” Jed says, “but now I find I’m playing cassettes and old records instead of playing games.”
When it comes to news from the outside world, Jed tries not to get too affected by the bad stuff, but gets frustrated by the trivial nature of so much mainstream media.
“I think a lot of news is designed for clicks and revenue,” he says, but there are bigger issues out there than Gordon Ramsey butchering some goat he is going to cook. There are wars and people dying in third-world countries, but people don’t seem to care about the real stuff.”
Asked what advice he would offer if he could go back and talk with his 12-year-old self, Jed says he would roll off every mistake he’s ever made or done—to get some closure—and tell himself to keep away from a particularly toxic ‘friend’ he made during his earlier adolescence.
“… and buy that Lego set you want!” he insists, “because when you go back it will be gone and the store won’t get any more of that particular one ever again.
“I guess a comment like that, puts into perspective just how little is wrong with my life.”