James Owens is a South-East-London-based painter and a recent graduate from Camberwell College of Arts, who was recently shortlisted for this year’s Evening Standard Art Prize. By mainly working towards dramatic, large-scale pieces, his body of work presents an enchanting network of smaller sketches and studies, which participate in the construction of an overall narrative. This fragmented approach to storytelling is reinforced by the depth of each piece - created through a constant process of layering and re-working.
Originally born in Middlesbrough, James then moved to a tiny village in the Cotswolds surrounded by the countryside. This scenic upbringing played a large role in the development of his artistic practice. Yet, while the melancholic themes of isolation and loneliness are often embedded in his paintings, they are also laden with a variety of artistic influences, film references, points of interest and musings from everyday life.
Inspired by painters such as Graham Sutherland and Richard Diebenkorn, James’ work has a handsome, handmade quality to it. By delving into the past, he offers an intriguing amalgamation of fact and fiction that allows us to imagine our own versions of the story.