Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Off The Wall

On the Line with Paul James

Generally when we wander through a shopping centre we don't expect a high street gallery to throw up something interesting. Well we stand to be corrected, one of The Collective team spotted something beside the Rolf Harris and the Hazel Soan hangs!

The work that inspired us to contact Paul James is an interesting juxta between street art and wildlife...he was kind enough to give us a ring and have a chat about his art.

RD; Hey Paul, wicked to meet you, tell us about yourself – where you are from and where you’ve been please?

I was born and grew up in Leicestershire. For a few years I had a bohemian existence floating around the Inland Waterways of Britain on my narrow boat before I moved to live in the Republic of Ireland where I am now based. Being something of a nomad I do like to travel and I like warmer climates; I particularly enjoy the Canary Isles and Spain. In Europe, I also like Monaco & Venice. I have quite an affinity with the USA; I’ve driven across it several times and think I’ve visited about 41 of its States so far. One year I travelled from Ireland to Australia without leaving the surface of the earth (which I thought was quite an achievement) stopping at Hawaii, Pago Pago and New Zealand along the way. I was very saddened about Christchurch as it was one of my favourite cities.

RD: Yes we agree, a real tragedy!

RD; Could you fill us in on what artistic media you use, we understand a piano sometimes?

I paint mainly in acrylics on canvas or board, sometimes I’ll use oils and yes as often as I can I play the piano.

Urban Gorilla

Up the Swanee

Spray it again Charlie

RD; What inspired you to concentrate on the wildlife and countryside in your work and are you a self-taught artist?

I regard myself as essentially self –taught. I did go to Art College to do a graphic design course but I left as it wasn’t really what I was interested in. I wasn’t allowed to do a Fine Art course because I didn’t have the academic qualifications required!

I started painting landscapes as I was taken by the beauty of Charnwood forest and I’ve always had a soft spot for animals (even though I’m allergic to a lot of them). As a child I was impressed by the ‘Pink Floyd’ album cover ‘Atom Heart Mother’ and I believe that is my earliest inspiration for my cow paintings. I’ve since developed something of a quirky approach painting animals from different perspectives whilst capturing their personalities which makes them a lot of fun.

RD; Our eye was caught by your urban series of paintings, do you work from memory or does a photo help to stimulate the creative juices?

I’m really enjoying painting the graffiti pieces which were first inspired from boating through the industrial wastelands of Britain and I’ve been amazed at the wide appeal that they seem to have.

As a realist the main challenge for me was to re-create on canvas graffiti’d brick wall as convincingly as possible, whilst using traditional painting methods. The ducks and geese that wander along the towpaths just helped to create the perfect juxtaposition. Since the early pieces I’ve moved on to include cows and recently the gorilla in an urban setting.

I do use my own photographic reference as a basis for most of my paintings. Sometimes I just take an element from a photo or I use part of an image or I create a montage of different images.

RD; We understand you are musically inclined, what is your background in that, also what sounds are you into and do you listen to tunes whilst you are at the easel?

I was classically trained on the piano as a child but I do like to do my own thing. I have a penchant for the blues, jazz and boogie woogie. I enjoy experimenting and composing. My CD ‘From Palette to Piano’ is made up entirely of my own compositions. I’m currently working on my second CD, which I hope to have out soon. I think I‘ve probably got enough music for a third one.

I listen to everything from ‘Mahler’ to ‘Metallica’

Charlie on grass

Kred Gorden


RD; If brushes became non-existent, what other tools would you use to continue your work?

I’d probably use spray paints or my fingers.

Rd; A water and razor dude or an electric stubble cutter man?

Electric stubble cutter

RD; Where have you had exhibitions in the past and what have you got coming up?

I’ve been painting professionally for 25 years and have had exhibitions across, the UK, Ireland and the USA. There is a constant display of my work at ‘The Paul James Gallery’ ( ) in Daventry, Northants and my work is on display at other galleries throughout the UK including De Montfort Fine Art’s Whitewalls group and it appears in galleries in Ireland, America (currently Aspen, San Diego, Scottsdale (Arizona) and Texas. Some also made an appearance recently at Art Expo in New York it’s also appeared at a gallery in Toronto, Canada.

I’ve got some work appearing in the group show ‘Best of British’ at Clarendon Gallery in Mayfair, London April 18th – May 6th

RD; Would you like to give the thumbs up to anyone?

Banksey, Chuck Close, Dali, Gustav Mahler, Freddie Chopin, Liszt, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Art Tatum, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian, Tori Amos, Billy Connolly, and Lenny Henry - I could go on…..

RD: woah woah, we'll have stop you there man...It was great to talk please keep us up to date with any new stuff coming out... Thanks

Go see Paul...Here

Hip Hop Harriet

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