Gerry Judah was born in 1951 in Calcutta and grew up in West Bengal before his family moved to London when he was ten years old. As a boy, the dramatic landscapes of India and the ornate architecture of its temples, mosques and synagogues with their theatrical rituals had a profound effect on Judah’s developing psyche. These theatrical elements were to resurface in his own later work. Austere London, still in its post-war drab, was a shock to the young boy, and he chose to spend as much time as possible in his bedroom conjuring up with pencils and paper imaginary landscapes, architectural fantasies and futuristic cars, leading him to want to become an artist.
Taken with the public nature of this work Judah decided to find settings for his own art in more public arenas than the rarefied spaces of conventional galleries. He built a reputation for innovative design, working in film, television, theatre, museums and public spaces. He created settings for the BBC, British Museum, Museum of Mankind, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, Museum of Tolerance, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, The Who and many other performers. He has also created sculptures for Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Ford, Rolls-Royce, Honda, Toyota, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo and Lotus at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed and bridges in London and Cambridge.
Mr. Judah answered our Inspirationist Q&A:
I ignored any possible evolution and went instead for revolution.
INSPIRATIONIST: Where are you from and where do you live now?
Gerry Judah: I was born in Calcutta, India and I live in London, UK.
I: What’s your background?
G.J.: Baghdadi Jewish and Tamla Motown.
I: How did you fall in love with art and why?
G.J.: The temples, mosques, synagogues and the amazing craziness of India. I was always told as a boy that God had something to do with all of it. I was, and still am, pretty impressed.
I: Where do you spend most of your time, and what does a typical day for you entail?
G.J.: Freewheeling downhill on my bike through Hampstead Heath from my home to my studio, searching for the shimmer in my paintings, feeling disappointed and struggling uphill back home only to return the next day in the hope of finding that bloody shimmer!
I: What is your favourite part of your job?
G.J.: Not having one.
I: Can you describe an evolution in your work from when you began until today?
G.J.: Ignoring any possible evolution and going instead for revolution.
I: If you had to choose one single artist who has provided a source of inspiration for you personally – who would it be and why?
G.J.: Rembrandt, and my father. Both conveyed soul.
I: Which is your favourite design/work of art?
G.J.: Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier.
I: Which of your designs is your personal favourite and why?
G.J.: When I find that bloody shimmer, I’ll tell you.
I unwind by working even harder.
I: How do you unwind?
G.J.: Working even harder.
I: What kind of music are you listening to at the moment?
G.J.: JS Bach – Mass in B Minor.
I: What is your favourite colour?
G.J.: Black, white and everything in between.