Interview with James Reynolds
Exploring figurative themes with a sense of abstraction: An Interview with London based artist James Reynolds
We are a huge fan of James Reynold's work. James explores landscape and figurative themes with a sense of abstraction. His bold paintings show intensity, depth and a sense of perspective that captures and draws the viewer in. He has exhibited widely throughout the UK.
SG: Where do you draw your inspirations from?
JR: Generally, I take my references from an environment I’ve been in and my response is then a process of deciding how best to engage with that space as a painting process. I’m also influenced by figurative aspects and this again is way of exploring often personal concerns through a process of painting. I’m very interested in making work that is pushed to abstraction but then retains a recognisable reference to hopefully pull the work back
SG: Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Are there any current artists who you really admire?
JR: I admire so many artists and see a great deal of fantastic work it’s difficult to state a definitive moment or artist that has had the most influence on me. Two artists who I look at time and again would be Richard Diebenkorn and Hughie O’Donoghue. I love Diebenkorn’s application of paint, his conflict between abstraction and figuration and that he went through periods of change in his work that, to me, really show he was exploring and trying to resolve colour, space and form through process. I like using large areas of flat colour in some of my work and Diebenkorn was certainly a large influence in this regard. O’Donoghue because I really appreciate the way he uses the surface and materials to explain the figure and narrative. Technically he’s an inspiration also, using different techniques and layers to evoke a strong sense of emotion in his work,
SG: Describe your studio/work space
JR: I’m lucky as I have a studio at home in the garden, which is not huge but comfortable and has everything I need to work. I like to be surrounded by my references so there are lots of photos, sketches and working drawings up on the walls. It looks completely chaotic but works for me and as time is at a premium, any I can spend painting is precious - as long as there is enough room for an easel and palette, I’m quite happy.
SG: Is there a specific theme or concept you keep in all of your work or does it change with each series?
JR: The themes will always remain the same, those being the processes of painting as the driving force. I’m a traditional artist at heart and the spaces or people I paint become a vehicle for the painting to struggle with and create an experience that is always changing and evolving. The paintings are never really finished, I just end up at a point where it seems a good place to stop.
SG: Tell us about the materials and techniques of your latest work. Is there a specific process and set up for creating your work?
JR: I spend quite a lot of time absorbing as much information as possible about different materials and techniques and so my work is quite varied in both application and starting processes. I’m quite obsessed with colour so typically 90% of my time is mixing colour and I will over paint pictures several times revealing elements of went before. I use oils mainly and sometimes mix with a variety of extras such as encaustic, damar varnish or gels to affect the properties and impact of the surface. Currently I’m working on more landscape based art and I tend to work on four or five pictures at time.
SG: Are you a part of any artists groups or organisations that have been beneficial (to your work in general or career as an artist)?
JR: I belong to the FPS (Free Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers) group of artists. It’s a group that has been around since 1952 and has had a healthy association with some influential artists over the years. As a participating artist I get the opportunity to exhibit in high profile exhibitions twice a year and it also provides networking opportunities that can reach a much larger audience for my work.