Drawing is at the core of James’s work. For him starting a drawing is like excavating something already there under the blank page, digging away with the pencil until it starts to take shape. On an abstract level James is purely interested in mark-making but within the context of depicting and illustrating the natural world. Each piece is an exploration of the drawing surface and the stuff that makes the mark, be it ink, charcoal, pastel or whatever comes to hand. In the process of his printmaking the metaphor is extended as he literally cuts away the surface to create the image, though it is by no means certain what will be revealed. However clear one’s intentions, there are always surprises.
His most recent work brings together the formal preoccupations of his work with the recurring subject of the natural world and endangered species. The process of making the work, cutting it out of a surface, is like excavating something from a lost world. In the printing process this notion of ink on the page, analogous with book production, makes the medium active in the meaning of the work – the vehicle for something lost, existing only in the memory, immortalised in books.
Born in Bradford, in 1973 James is a self-taught artist. His work has sold all over the world and he regularly exhibits in London and his home city of Bath.