James Austin Sillavan (JAS) was born in Cheshire in 1950, and studied Advertising at Manchester Art School. He spent a year travelling and working in Central and South America, before returning to London where he found work as a layout artist on adult magazines Knave and Fiesta. He then moved to IPC and Titbits, before becoming art editor of teenage magazine Pink.
In 1980 Sillavan joined the art desk of the Daily Express, where he worked for seven years, his responsibilities including “correcting small errors with Giles cartoons”. Whilst at the Daily Express, he and Peter Lydon created the strip cartoon "Trousers" for City Limits, which led to other similar projects, including "Jerry on Line 1" in Sight & Sound, and "Saul Stories" in The Guardian. In 1991 Sillavan was offered the post of diary cartoonist on The Times, as replacement for Barry Fantoni, and he held this post until 1994.
In 1994 Sillavan moved to Paris, where he began to experiment with photography. In 1997 his work appeared in the “Collected” exhibition organised by The Photographer’s Gallery in London. In 1999 the design director of The Guardian, Simon Esterson, began to commission regular work from Sillavan, and, as he recalled, “this chance for reinvention” allowed him to develop the new signature JAS. In 2003 he also began five-years’ work as the Daily Telegraph’s second political cartoonist, working alongside Nicholas Garland.
Sillavan regularly contributed cartoons to The Guardian, The Tablet, and the Economist (where from 2009 he has also drawn political and economic cartoons for the home page Economist.com). His work also appeared in The Observer, Financial Times, Punch, Times Literary Supplement, and other publications.
James Sillavan died of a heart attack on 6 October 2013.
- James Sillavan's website at www.jamessillavan.com
- GNM Archive Collections in Focus James Sillavan [JAS]
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