James King

Find James at the back of the SHAC

James King, Painter

The year 2003 was a watershed. I won the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, organised by the South Australian Museum. It was the year that changed everything and I started to believe that painting was my true calling. Since then I’ve had shows in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Goulburn and the Southern Highlands. In 2007 I began my association with Becker Minty in Sydney’s Potts Point. Without their support and commitment I wouldn’t be where I am today. In 2011 I was the regional winner of the Goulburn Art Award as well as a finalist in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize.

My work has often been described as quirky, sometimes dark and often humorous. The subjects range from bleak cloud filled landscapes, to portraits of people and objects painted on old hard cover books. An undercurrent of unease unites my subjects, threading its way through all my pictures. The core of my subject matter is found photographs from the mid twentieth century that have been lost or discarded. They have an immediacy and veracity that I have difficulty finding in today’s media. Painting these images stems from an overwhelming desire to celebrate the forgotten life; I can’t help but form a narrative with subject while I’m painting, hence the importance of painting them on old books; the title often alludes to the story I’ve conjured.

Where to from here? The most important thing is to keep working and produce consistent body of work. To challenge myself constantly and not get stuck on a single idea. Painting plein air is the perfect counterpoint to my other work, requiring total immersion in the subject and being completely present in the here and now. It is a response to my immediate experience and in many ways is a purer form of painting than anything else I do…it may be the one thing I keep returning to until the end.

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