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Don't know the rules of rugby? These crapauds might help...

Don't know the rules of rugby? These crapauds might help...

Friday 08 September 2023

Don't know the rules of rugby? These crapauds might help...

Friday 08 September 2023

Ahead of the start of the Rugby World Cup tonight, a local artist has taken it upon himself to help educate islanders on the rules of the game – with the help of a local icon...

Express spoke to Theo Jenner about blending two of his passions together with the help of the Jersey crapaud...

Tell us a bit about your background.. was being an artist your original plan?

I was a lawyer in London and had planned to travel, but covid put a stop to that.

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A post shared by Theo jenner (@jerzilla_art)

I returned to Jersey and worked in the finance industry until last year where I pursued being an artist full-time. 

Where did the inspiration for this project come from?

I wanted to make something fun. I was inspired by an exhibition on the Japanese artist, Kyosai who illustrated frogs doing whimsical things, which really appealed to me. 

How did you think to combine art with rugby?

I have been into rugby from a young age – I've played for the Jersey Rugby Academy through the age groups, and I still play touch, support the Jersey Reds and watch [the sport]. 


Pictured: Local artist Theo Jenner, who has a passion for rugby, and some of his previous work.

Art, I got into later in life when I started drawing during [the pandemic]. I am now a self-taught artist and illustrator, drawing a mixture of pop culture and Japanese-inspired Jersey landscapes, so this was a great opportunity to stretch my artist legs lets say and have a little fun.

Have you created any other educational pieces before? If so, what are they? 

Earlier this year, I helped out with the Lunar New Year Festival and made some educational material for children to learn about the event and their Chinese Horoscope.

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A post shared by Theo jenner (@jerzilla_art)

I’d like to be involved in making more educational things for children or the general public.

How long did this project take, from concept to completion?

I would say two months on and off. The idea was conceived earlier this year, but I put it off to entertain other projects.

I am also new to using digital tools so it perhaps took longer then [first] anticipated but I have learn a lot along the way.

Is digital art your preferred medium? How difficult has it been to navigate? 

My preferred medium is pen and paper. I use mostly ink and alcohol marker pens.

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A post shared by Theo jenner (@jerzilla_art)

There is a huge learning curve regarding these [digital] technologies, but it's in an artist's best interests to learn them. I do still prefer pens and paper, as I love the texture, the weight of the pen and the smell of the ink. 

What reaction do you hope to receive from this collection?

Grassroots rugby is the life-blood of the game, so, if I can interest kids to take up or try rugby, I will have achieved my goal.

Many adults will have grown up not having had the opportunity to try it, or perhaps understand it, as there are a lot of inane rules which would put anyone off. I'd love to help pave the way for them to become a fan.

Finally, I'd just like everyone to have a laugh! Life's too short not to enjoy and have a good laugh.

Do you think that there should be a wider interest in international rugby then, and the game itself?

100% – it’s a tough but fair game based on respect, hard work and teamwork. I have learnt a lot of life lessons and gained many life-long friends [through rugby]. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Theo jenner (@jerzilla_art)

Jersey is fortunate enough to have the highly competitive [Jersey Reds] but international rugby is, in essence, the crème de la crème of [the sport], and we have an entire buffet of good rugby for the next two months. It would be a shame for people to miss out.

Any predictions for the competition? If England win, will the crapaud be your good luck charm?

Maybe... I may be chastised for this but I hope France win overall at home as they are great to watch and have some fantastic fans.

[The other teams] are also in great shape in the lead up to tournament. So it’s looking to be a competitive tournament.


Anyone interested in viewing Mr Jenner's toads, as well as his other works, can do so at an exhibition being held on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November at Grève de Lecq Barracks, facilitated by ArtHouse Jersey. 

His artwork can be seen viewable on his Instagram account or on his website.

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