Jill Strong

Jill Strong is rubbish at skateboarding. She's hopeless on a surfboard and in spite of 20-odd years living in France, still sucks at boules.

But she did get a PhD in photochemistry from the University of Sussex, spent two years as a motorbike road-tester for Performance Bikes and sang for French-English psychobilly-punk band The Rippers from 2005 - 2013. She also co-founded the underground French music venue Gigors Electric Sound-System.

But her life-long passion has been lettering. Starting out with Black Letter calligraphy as a teenage goth, she went on to painting jackets for friends, carefully copying lettering and logos from album covers with household gloss paint and cheap brushes.

All this got put on pause while she got waylaid by first the sciences and then by hooning around on sports bikes. But while she was at PB, she saw Damien Smith and Matt Lemon using Photoshop and realised that this was far closer to her true calling. She quit bike journalism, trained as a graphic designer and has been doing that ever since.

Working for various bands, record labels and Madame Tussauds Studios in London, she often drew logos and lettering by hand and then vectorised them with Illustrator, but she wanted to take it to another level. May 2015 and she decided to learn how to sign paint properly.

There followed the quiet study of many books and two lettering workshops with the American legend Mike Meyer.

Jill has been working as a sign painter in the Drome region of the south of France for many years now. The town of Crest and surrounding villages have many examples of her work on façades, shop fronts, windows and skate parks - check them out here.

Her favourite style is ali leaf fairground art lettering, something she learnt from Fred Fowle's apprentice Mark Gill. Not having much call from that style for the Provençal boutiques in the Drôme, she started decorating skateboards with it.

In 2009 David Basso made a short documentary about her work featuring music by Sons of Buddha.

In 2023 Jill was featured on the France 5 program Echappes Belles - La Magie de le Drome. Over 1,000,000 people saw the program.

But life as an artist remains precarious; if you want to support her work, please BUY something :-)