q) What is your name and what do you do?
a)I art James Roper
q)When did you really get into art?
a)The typical (and boring) answer is “from a young age” but I think most people liked art when they were young they just stopped doing it because more emphasis is put on academia in most schools. I really got 'into art' properly when I was about 17 when I discovered art isn't just about visuals it's also about ideas, it's really a branch of philosophy i.e. aesthetics.
q)How did you come to the realization that you should try your luck at art on a more serious level?
a)I hate the mental dullness that seems to arise from working 'real world' 9 to 5 jobs so that forced me to get serious about making a living from my art.
q)How did you discover the particular style that you have?
a)I used to always copy images out of comic books and love the visuals in Japanese animation (I don't care about the story lines that much!). I also love Christian art especially from the Baroque period, the billowing clouds, the streams of light, the flowing robes. It does have an emotional effect on me, and I guess I could say it 'stirs my soul' but I don't believe in all that nonsense. No matter how emotive you want to get it's just chemical synapses firing off in your brain.
q)How would you describe your style?
a)Polymathic hyperemesis. I'm basically regurgitating concepts and imagery informed from a variety of subjects and sources. Via the process of filtration through my own preferences and by channeling it into my art I try and create a synthesis of those different parts in a way I (and hopefully no one else) haven't seen before.
q)Who or what influences your art?
a)I could list a number of artists, films, books etc. that I love but to be honest a lot of the time I'm simply trying to avoid making the kind of art I hate – apathy inducing, unoriginal, introverted art about art, cynical, poorly conceived – it basically comes down to not being lazy both with what you make and the ideas you're trying to communicate.
q)How often do you create a new piece?
a)For my paintings, roughly once a month, but I'd like to start spending more time on each painting. I also try and do sculptural pieces, the last two took three years each to complete, the next one I have in mind will probably take the same amount of time, maybe longer. Ideas usually ferment in my mind for a while, sometimes if I trace them back I realise they've taken years to come to fruition.
q)What kind of success have you had with your art?
a)I just had a solo show in London which I guess you could say is successful but I'd rather be judged on a work by work, painting by painting basis, if the painting I'm doing now is bad, right now I'm a bad artist. I sometimes prefer criticism to praise, it creates a much more interesting dialogue.
q)What would be the ultimate goal for you and your art?
a)To keep earning enough money from it to live, it's up to the viewer (and the critics) to define where my art stands in the bigger context of the art world. Hopefully by being honest with myself I can avoid the things I listed above.
q)What do you see as an accomplishment in the way of art?
a)Making work that makes people think and not just thoughts about how good the work will look on their living room wall.
q)What kind of message, if any, do you try to convey through your art?
a)When you draw an object your mind is basically analysing the object, pulling it apart in order to understand it so it can reconstruct it on the page. I think most people take for granted the world around them, see it as concrete and unchanging to a certain degree, basically solid – it isn't, hopefully in my work by pulling things apart and restructuring them the viewer's mind will loosen up a little. I'm not sure I have done this successfully as of yet but I'm working on it!
q)Sum up your art in one word.
q)Any additional comments?
a)I bought a pair of jeans recently and on the inside label it reads: “Denim is dead. Long live denim”. I hope the person who came up with that can get to sleep at night knowing they've contributed such inane drivel to the world. But then again maybe I shouldn't be looking to something that rubs up against my arse for philosophical profundity.