“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”
William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Harriet Verney interviews JJ NOKI Artist, Ethical Designer…

After 15 years of pioneering ethical fashion in a ever expanding commercial industry JJ NOKI has once again expressed a positive critique on globalization and consumerism through promiscuous, phallic and playful sketches of thumbs at the WHISPER GALLERY.;
The exhibition entitled “UNFAIR” hosts works from EINE, WILLIAM BLANCHARD, and MARK ELEY. NOKI produces detailed pencil drawings of severed swollen thumbs, inspired by Allen Jone’s erotic furniture and sculptures
A series of one colour screen-prints taken from NOKI’s original pencil drawings will also be complimented by an edition of his works re-worked by Mark Eley.
The man behind the mask sheds some light on his new venture…

Is this the first exhibition of your sketches?

JJ: Yes I haven’t drawn in this way since 1988 to get into Edinburgh College Art..

Harriet: You are renouned as a forward thinking ethical designer…pioneering a movement in fashion that today is internationally recognised. Now a collaboration with Mark Eley and provocative sketches of thumbs…how did it come about?

JJ: Why thank you for that prestigious platform ha ha but that is precisely why I needed to connect with my artist again.. Fashion is an easy expression for me, something that evolves naturally everyday, to make it more enjoyable day. To create the NokiNHS you need the collaging of the brand its textile, graphics and brand value. These drawings liberated me from all those global shackles.
The “Co-Lab” piece with Mark is a fun piece, a celebration to his dedication to the craft of screen printing..
“The drawings are a whole different fear factor to accomplish.
A blank bit of paper can be a dark wilderness to failure… At any point the pencil will expose the inability to draw at a competent level. Something I aspire to, is the perfection to the manipulation of light shade and proportion…

Harriet: Who was your thumspiration?!

JJ: My mum needs that title. I drew our family dogs in 1988 for her birthday present and they have hung by the fireplace ever since.
Every time I go home I would always think ” Did I draw them” I said this to my mum and she blew her top and blackmailed me into drawing her new dog Mr Bloo..

The reason for the Thumb was a visual symbol about pressure: being under its fetish of want, need and desire.

Harriet: The sketches are described as a positive critique on world globalisation. How so?

JJ: They are originally very small drawings blown up by 2011% to represent my journey since 1988… The world we now live in since then, has scarily come true to me. When your from darkest of Scotland and denied brands i.e. things, and you dream of the multiple choice of those things but realise the dark consequences the world goes through to provide those ‘things’ these drawings were my natural reaction to the love/ hate I feel towards my globalised life…

Harriet: At public and press events you usually adorn yourself with a mask, but didn’t for the launch of UNFAIR at WHISPER GALLERY?

JJ: I wore my trusty New Era cap that pulls down at any given camera moment.

“Im also so proud of these pieces”

I felt a sense of liberation from the NokiSOB mask..

Harriet: In the end what makes your cocks stand out in comparison to the other artists?

JJ: Harriet, Dahling! This is not a competition its a celebration of original East end artists that colonised a run down London area to express their individuality for it to be overrun by charlatan artists and desperate brands. We just decided as a group (curated by Martin Tickner and Dave Dorell) to take our originality, to the west end in reaction to the mediocracy!
But I do appreciate the compliment to liking or wanting to lick and sit on my thumbs ha ha..


by Harriet Charity Verney.



  1. Awwal says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring this back. I wnetad one for my wife and one for myself and I am depressed to see it gone. This is SOOOOOOOOO cute. So in closing PLEASE bring this back.

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