“I paint in watercolour, oil paint, and also digitally. Switching between these gives me a few seconds of unfamiliarity, suddenly seeing what I am doing with different eyes. Occasionally I find something, a random thought, a shadow on the floor…. I also rely on studio routines, making a watercolour every day, drawing from observation. Sometimes these exercises lead to a motif - a crow lands in a large painting. The groundwork means I can work rapidly where necessary, and at a larger scale. It is a matter of knowing when to let go, when to hold fast. I would like to give the impression – an illusion - that a picture has come about all by itself.
Paintings do not usually start from anything beyond the choice of palette and brushes. How they begin can have little to do with how they end up. Halfway through working on ‘Sheba’, I wondered whether I could shift the dusky colour to a different register, recalling 1920’s film posters that used dripping yellow-green lettering to signify horror. I found the precise colour for this on a bus handrail. Further ingredients went in: a photo of Crawley’s new town centre from a 1970 history of Sussex I happened to be reading; a twelfth century head I drew and photographed in the Musee Cluny’s ‘Naissance de la Sculpture Gothique’ exhibition last year. I have used photos of puppets before, so I had an inkling that this staring face, the Queen of Sheba, could do the trick. (None of this, by the way, need be of any concern to the viewer. It is just how the painting came about.)” James Faure Walker
James Faure Walker (b.1948) studied at St Martins (1966-70) and the Royal College of Art (1970-72). Solo exhibitions include Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery (1985), Colville Place Gallery (1998, 2000), Galerie Wolf Lieser, Berlin (2003), ARB Cambridge (2015). Group exhibitions include the Hayward Annual (1979), John Moores (1982, 2002), Serpentine Summer Show (1983), and regular appearances at SIGGRAPH, USA, since 1995, and DAM Gallery Berlin.
He began developing computer graphics alongside his painting in 1988. He won the ‘Golden Plotter’ prize at Computerkunst, Gladbeck, Germany in 1998. He has eleven works in the Victoria and Albert Museum, where his work was featured in ‘Digital Pioneers’ in 2009. His book, ‘Painting the Digital River: How an Artist Learned to Love the Computer’, was published by Prentice Hall (USA) in 2006 and awarded a New England Book Show Award. He was a founder of Artscribe magazine in 1976, editing it for eight years. Till 2014 he was Reader in Painting and the Computer at Chelsea, University of the Arts. In 2013 he won the Royal Watercolour Society Award. Currently he is the Honorary Curator of the RWS.