When did you realise you wanted to be an artist?
I was about 7-8, on the way home from school, I gave my mother a present, a small bird that I made from things found on the pavement (an old spark plug, a ripped up coke can and the guts of a lighter) and she loved it. That was the first time that I can recall making something and having people so highly appreciate it, according to my mother though I have been creative since the beginning. I have been lucky enough to have such a supportive family, so I owe a lot to them.
You have a lot of mechanical motifs in your work. What is it about the mechanical world which inspires your work?
It was by accident actually, it all started with learning to ride a bike. I didn’t learn to ride a bicycle until I was about 18, the bicycle gave me this sudden freedom to explore the city. One day I came across an old beaten-up bicycle frame and I decided to take it home to renovate it. Eventually I found more parts and slowly spent the next few years building up my own Frankenstein bicycles. During college I spent my time drawing and photographing the half stolen remains of bicycles in the city, I found them to be very sculptural - sculpted by the city. I began to question why these once everyday, function-driven objects were suddenly tapping into a different part of my brain. To this day I’m still exploring the mechanics of people and their relationship to objects.
Where do you normally discover your “found objects”?
I am very good at finding things and I can spot something interesting chucked out from a mile down the road. Days off work are spent cycling around the city exploring new places. The things I find are very representative of the community I find them in and the most materialistic communities are those that have the most waste (Boxing day is a great time to go scavenging).
I also love charity shops; they are a great assortment of cultures and themes, which can only represent the diverse society we live in. London is a very complex machine indeed.
From which artist’s work do you take the most inspiration and why?
My first big inspiration was Mona Hatoum; subverting the mood of objects is something that has always interested me. The next great influence was Rebecca Horn, her work made me think about the dependence we have on machinery and the relationship we have with objects later on in life. In regards to style, I am a fan of Kris Kuksi. One of my favourite pieces of his is “Caravan Assault Apparatus”, it was the first one of his works I had ever seen and to me it is pure beauty.
I like how your sculptures are painted black; this seems to focus the viewer’s eye on the formality of the piece. Was this your intention?
My work has lots of layers in regards to subject matter. I like to refine my work as much as possible before presenting it. Monochrome has an air of simplicity but creates a lot of depth. So you could say that my intention involve formality entirely in that respect.
What has been the most pivotal moment in your creative career thus far?
Getting a studio was the birth of my art career. After creating a space dedicated to my art, I found that I took things to a whole new level, both in making and promoting my work.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to create a career in the arts?
I would recommend any upcoming artist to get a studio space, somewhere separate from your home and personal life. Don’t be afraid to show people your work especially if you don’t like it. You will have to learn how to deal with all kinds of feedback; you have to learn that both negative and positive feedback should be held with equal regard. If you are serious about a career in the arts, presenting your work is the only way to get further opportunities
Art is what it is. Art is bigger than all of us, when fueled Art is a machine that has exponential growth regardless of our input, your art is great, give it the space it needs to grow and let the world see it.
James will be exhibiting his sought after sculptural work and drawings in The Londoner's Compass this October.