James Relf Member Since February 2009 Artist Statement Background:
From an early age I had been surrounded by art and artists as my dad is a sculptor. And over my childhood years I always had an interest in art and enjoyed making things. It was during college when I did a major project on Jackson Pollock spending several month looking at his work and understanding his methods that I felt that a career as an artist was what I really wanted. Although I had a brief spell with Photography at university, it was painting that I came back to as my chosen medium.
Between 2004-2007 I managed a contemporary art gallery that was set up with family members. A real passion for art grew further from this experience as I was meeting artist from all over the country as well as Europe and Asia. I was able to see how they work and develop their ideas as I set up their exhibitions. This gave me a great deal of insight into how I needed to approach my work and future as a practising artist.
Within these past 5 years of working professionally as an artist I have exhibited in several group exhibition and held a solo exhibition in Birmingham. I have also been asked to complete private and corporate commission.
My work is contemporary by nature, but follows traditional subjects such as still life and landscape. The most popular paintings purchased by clients have been still life paintings i.e. chairs, wine bottles and figurative compositions.
The inspiration for my work has been drawn from capturing the atmosphere of a quiet place set in the midst of the bustle and noise of the urban city. My travels to places such as London, Amsterdam, New York, Edinburgh and Hong Kong have broadened my cultural awareness of differing communities and their activities such as tea drinking in Hong Kong and coffee drinking in New York. My landscape work has been inspired mainly from my time spent in Cornwall where natural light adds vibrancy to every scene or in the Lake District where the hues of greens, ambers and oranges filter through the landscape. I'm inspired by the little details of life that are often overlooked in the greater scope of things, such as an empty coffee cup on a stained table or a chair that has been left vacant. These images may appear insignificant in a busy environment like a restaurant or a hotel room, but they are filled with latent energy of what had taken place previously or what is to happen next. Narrative is important in my work as the image is not used solely as a still life composition but as a means to create a balance between human interaction and activity.
Jackson Pollock, William De Kooning, Jack Vettriano, Sir Terry Frost, Edward Hopper, Ben Nicholson, Marc Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani.