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The Essential List: Jon Burgerman

The king of doodles on his fear of the Monopoly man and his love of The Bartman

The Essential List: Jon Burgerman

The title of Jon Burgerman’s first monograph, published in 2008, is ‘Pens are my friends’. Ours too, Jon, ours too. It’s on the basis of that sense of stationery kinship that we invited the artist, who doodles his way between pop culture, street art and fine art, to get involved in this week’s Essential List.

His work is bubbling over with vibrant characters and that energy has taken him in all sorts of wild directions on his journey from Birmingham, England to Brooklyn. The gregarious artist has collaborated with brands from CocaCola and Pepsi to Sony and Nintendo and his work has been shown at prestigious galleries all over the world. He’s co-produced documentaries and once created his own pop-art band, Anxieteam. There’s a lot going on here.

And to our absolute delight, Jon has even illustrated his Essential List, sharing the scariest interpretation of Rich Uncle Pennybags we’ve ever seen...


o Place of birth: Planet Earth

o Hometown: Brum
o Staycation: The exclusive resort of Bed, with daily sightseeing tours to Fridge and Sofa.
o Vacation: Korea, Japan, Berlin. Anywhere with good food or cheap beer.
o Pet: My brother’s dog Noodles

o Place of work: My studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
o Place of workout: The walk from my apartment to my studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
o Side project:  I only have side projects.
o Mode of transport: My fallen arched feet.
o Bonus Travel Essential: Someone else paying for the flight.


o Artist: Jean Dubuffet
o Musician: DJ Boring (this is a real musician, not a flippant answer)
o Commercials / music video director:  Michel Gondry 
o Film director: Right now can only be the brilliant Agnes Varda
o Photographer:  William Eggleston
o Film: Alien

o Series: Bilko
o Commercial: Anything with stop-motion animation.
o Music Video: Do the Bartman

o Video Game: Gunstar Heroes 

o Board Game: Monopoly

o Book: Into the Woods by John Yorke
o Graphic Novel: Shenzhen by Guy Delisle
o Podcast: Scriptnotes
o Newspaper (off or online):  I guess the Guardian 
o Magazine: I think my days of regularly buying a magazine are over sadly.
o Bonus Culture Essential: anything by the NY performance group Bankrukt 

Food and Drink

o Breakfast: Rather than try impress you I’m going to be honest. Either cereal, oats or popcorn.
o Restaurant: Vinnie's Pizzeria, a slice whilst walking somewhere I’m late to.

o Cheap bite: See above. Or Xian’s Famous Foods – MILD spicy. Anything higher and I’m in big trouble for the rest of the night.
o Working lunch: The Garden in Greenpoint. I grab a sandwich from there most days.
o Favourite Dish: Anything full of garlic
o Signature Dish: Garlic, in the oven for an hour, then eaten like an apple. Perfect for avoiding all human contact for a day or two.
o Snack: Cheez puffs.

o Guilty Pleasure: Cheez puffs in my underwear. (I mean eating them whilst unconstrained from outer clothing).
o Bar: I go to a bar so cool and hip I can’t reveal its name less other people start going there and ruin it for me.
o Booze: Hot Toddy
o Not Booze: Water from New York's East River. Fresh and full of vitamins.
o Bonus Food: Pizza with a slice of pizza on top of it.
o Bonus Beverage: Gin and tonic and Gin. It’s like a gin and tonic but more.


o Phone: a really old iPhone
o Computer: a really old iMac
o TV: I do not have a TV
o Headphones: I have many and I don’t know where any of them are right now.
o Camera: Some Canon model.
o Soundsystem: Some south London system playing in a rooftop carpark
o Pen / pencil: Felt tip pen.
o Where you document an idea: I email myself, which sort of works but I always put off replying to myself.
o Casual Clothing: Patterned hoody with all over printed graphic
o Smart Clothing: Patterned hoody with all over printed graphic that’s just been washed.

o Footwear: Please
o Watch: out.
o Collection: of belly button fluff.
o App: le’s are a healthy snack.
o Website:  I try and stay away from the internet 
o Blog: Instagram?

o Work program: Photoshop CS3
o Digital work tool:  iPad pro – it is pretty amazing
o Analogue work tool: Sketchbook and pen. I’ve been using that setup for over 20 years!
o Morning grooming / makeup essential: Scratch, rub, stretch, wash.
o Bonus Kit Essential:  Kit Kat

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