We sit down with James Bates to discuss his new prints 'Sunshine Supershine' and his life as an artist.
'Sunshine Supershine' is a graphic exploration and celebration of shape colour and movement, celebrating sheer joy, exuberance and ceaseless optimism. There is a lot going on in there, I like to let the images speak for themselves and for people to draw their own conclusions and discover connections and ideas.
When creating, the images tell you what they want you to do next, very much in the same way when painting, you are merely the ever willing drone-droid slave to the unseen masterful or misressful force of the pixel and brush. Like a million neon demons battering your synapses and eyeballs for their own amusement. Survival of the furthest.
The print is in itself almost alive and feels like it’s moving, and it demanded that I also created an animated digital version to accompany it. I’m always looking at space and movement when image making or painting, for me it’s a fundamental part of the creative process.
What was the inspiration behind Sunshine Supershine?
An amalgamation of sampled and recycled images from my ever evolving archive, there have been many variations of this piece on the way, but it’s only with distance that you can look back again and see the value, character and individuality.
Do you see this work as a continuation of previous work or a series, or a new departure in your practice?
A bit of both really, partly a collage in a way - sampling and revisiting my own work and re working to create something unique and new from discarded and hand finished pieces. Creating new ideas by looking at old ideas in a new way.
Which artists inspire you, or you admire?
Too many to list, I am constantly discovering new inspiring artists and continue to be amazed at new discoveries.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a life in art?
Probably drawing my own comics or watching Terry Gilliam animations as a child.
What is your earliest art memory?
Probably my parents artworks (my dads abstract paintings and my mums illustrations for greeting cards and painting animation cells), or graphics and illustrations in books, comics and packaging and record sleeves. I found out recently the steel-pipe playground outside Habitat in Wallingford in the 1970’s was actually an Eduardo Paolozzi sculpture (Suwasa). Me and my brothers would spend hours climbing them, weirdly I recently found a grainy old catalogue photo of them with what I’m convinced is us 3 playing on them.
What’s your favourite creative work (artwork, music, play, film, etc)
There’s far too much goodness out there for one thing to get the prize.
What’s next? Your next project, hobby, goal in your career
We’re building a print studio, but it’s a very long term project, so a time machine and a lottery win would be handy with that, exploration into the world of NFT’s and more painting, painting big things, I’m happy to coexist between analogue and digital.