'AVIFAUNA' The Coningsby Gallery, Bloomsbury, London 18th - 31st October 2020
Powered by Jim Starr’s lifelong passion for birds, 'Avifauna' is a new collection of paintings and prints showing in central London this October.
Each bird portrait, up close and personal, is inspired by Jim’s extensive experience of observing his subjects in the wild. He has spent a lifetime travelling the world in search of his feathered friends and the new show features British, European, African and American subjects.
“This collection of paintings is attempting to elevate and transform birds into Iconic subjects. With these new paintings I am experimenting with scale, composition, cropping and a more painterly technique to produce powerful and contemporary portraits of birds”.
It is his background and artistic journey that gives the work its uniquely fresh appeal. He has pioneered mixing classic brushwork with contemporary and street influences to produce large scale impressive studies. During his 25yr career, Jim has always painted birds but he’s also successfully worked in pop and urban art, exhibiting alongside Banksy, Damian Hirst and Basquiat - to name a few. This pedigree gives the work a unique and distinctive flourish.
"I have thousands of ideas for paintings – there are 10,700 species of bird, after all – and I want to bring my pop and urban art inspirations to depict the birds as powerful, contemporary images.”
An urban artist enduringly drawn back to the natural world, Jim has decades of experience on which to experiment. His obsessions for birds, drawing and painting started early.
“I joined the RSPB and junior bird clubs at the age of seven. I devoured every guide book and reference book I could get my hands on from Audubon and Peterson to Tunnicliffe and Thorburn. I also spent a lot of time searching for birds in the field, excited about the next discovery, enthralled by their variety and beauty but also frustrated with their ability to just take off and vanish into the closest thicket or just over the horizon”
As a child on the Somerset levels he’d search for Marsh Harriers. Family holidays took him to Norfolk for avocets, Scotland for ospreys and Cornwall for migrants and rarities. These early adventures in bird observation and painting led to later roles as Expedition Artist in the US, Svalbard, Lesotho and Iceland. He has also sketched and studied birds on trips to the Pakistan Himalayas, the Gambia, Tanzania, Norway, The Canaries and his home county of Devon.
Avifauna is his latest step in a lifetime’s exploration.
“I continue to seek a deeper connection with nature and share my interest to foster a better appreciation of the birds around us”
Jim Starr studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Kingston University. He has exhibited In London, Paris, New York, Chicago, Palm Beach, Venice, Rome, Singapore, Tokyo and most recently at the Chengdu Museum, China with BVLGARI. Having been based in London and Bristol he now lives and works in a remote corner of Exmoor National Park, closer to his birds.