James Green (British, b. 1989) paints indulgent, abstract images that critique (rather than celebrate) a system that favors the fortunate and neglects the less-so. Rooted in a balance somewhere between fine art tradition and contemporary practice, his paintings often include obscured faces, within spontaneous compositions. The works reject hierarchy and revel in their physicality, showcasing a thick impasto and bold colour to challenge the notion of beauty in art. James exhibits his work internationally.
'Throughout my early years (primary/secondary school, college, art school) I could only, for whatever reason, see value in 'art' that displayed a high level of technical ability. I would spend a month painting a face to make sure it resembled the subject or sitter precisely with no compromise whatsoever. If the result wasn't 'perfect', I'd scrap it. Following art school I took some time out to purely experience life and in doing so began to become much more open minded. Having lived a little, I began to realise what art actually is. That's when things (my approach) changed quite dramatically. For some reason it wasn't art school that educated me on what art was; it was life.
See, art is the only thing that ever really made sense to me, however realism felt more like maths than art i.e working out where the eye goes in relation to the mouth in relation to the photo or sitter. It wasn't fun nor interesting, and it didn't allow me to express myself or my life - which I now believe art should. I had so much to say but was met with frustration at my then 'art' not providing some form of release during creation or at the moment of completion. A turning point came in visiting Museu Picasso, Barcelona. I could see that Picasso started off in the same way as me; but wanted to put his stamp on the world of art and so began to develop his iconic style. A style unique to only he. This helped me to understand that the only way to make a significant impact is to make art that only you, the artist, can make. Only then does it feel authentic.
Realism was a good place to start and I'm hugely grateful to possess a decent level of traditional technical ability. The last decade has really been about dissecting the human form in a process unique to myself - chaotic, spontaneous, and what's more, organic. I now find it much more powerful to capture the essence of a person rather than to accurately convey. The paintings I make are entirely one-offs that neither myself or anyone else could ever replicate. They are uniquely personal to that specific moment alone, and authentic to me and my life. I don't look for or seek inspiration; I just live my colourful life and allow that to lead the path for my practice. My paintings are part of me, and it can be hard to let them go. But it fills me with joy that so many people love these things enough to want to look at them everyday.
James Green x Monsieur Jamin
Jamin's best friend (Francois) spotted my work in a pub in London and instantly messaged me a note saying, “You need to meet my best friend - I think you think the same”. A pretty strange email I initially thought, so I assumed this to be something I'd most probably swiftly dismiss... However, a quick Google search 'Monsieur Jamin' and I was interested. Francois organised the meeting (Jamin to my studio in Stroud with Francois acting as translator) and none of us could believe quite how important the meeting proved to be. We have both said that it was like meeting a brother. I don't speak French, and Jamin doesn't speak English. Strangely, that didn't matter. We paint in the same way, and seemingly think the same. We have since painted together on multiple occasions (UK / Paris) and are insanely productive together. It's the most unique connection. Although we can't communicate with language, the process is natural and effortless as it is. We're reluctant to learn each others' language given how unique the connection is as it stands. Reliant on a visual language, running title is 'Painted Word'.'
Jamin is hugely successful... One of, if not the, most successful living artists in France.