filed under: art, let's chat!, paintings
look at these abstract paintings from canadian artist james fowler. the obsessive compositions are intricately crafted and orderly and are softened by the vibrant color palettes. unlike piet mondrian, the king of neo-plasticism, these pieces are less rigid with their looser lines, and break from the traditional exclusive use of primary colors. however, similar to others in the cubist-inspired movement, they tell graphic horizontal and vertical stories, which in turn create mazes in my mind. as my eye traces those details that twist and wind around, a gateway to mysterious stories opens that i could spend hours trying to unravel. let’s have a chat with james and find out a bit more!
q: where do you work?
a: i have a studio on queen street west, in toronto. it’s the birthplace of all that is cool in toronto.
q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i was not formally trained in art. my great grandfather was a commercial graphic designer and a water colour hobbyist, my grandmother also paints so i was born with a silver paintbrush in hand. by age six, i was doing paint by numbers adequately and by the time i was in the ninth grade i had surpassed the standard value exercises others were doing, and was stretching 4′ x 8′ canvases. i turned to the film for university and abandoned art for the film industry for many years. by 2002 though, i had had enough of the “type a” personalities in the industry, and after a friend asked me what i would do if i could never paint again, my path became pretty clear.
q: are your pieces made using acrylic paint exclusively or do you use some other types of media?
a: i’ve been thinking of switching over to oils. i’m currently working in acrylics, but also have another line of art that uses men’s business shirts and plaster in a low lever relief to tell stories of relationship.
q: how large are these pieces and what is their price range?
a: the pieces range from 8″ x 12″ to the largest (to date), 4′ x5′, but i’ve painted 3′ x 7′ pieces too. i do a lot of commission work and the work ranges from $300 to $2500 with the majority being 22″ x 30″ on paper unframed for $550 – relatively inexpensive in the art world.
q: what is your inspiration and message you want to send through these elaborately patterned pieces in these expressive color palettes?
a: i’m fascinated with the business world and what makes a strong capital market, what buildings are made of and what builds a city, who designs them and what makes good human traffic flow. i am also inspired by ancient decorative arts with a high level of craftsmanship, such as early chinese dynasty pots. there is something about steel and iron in molds too that is compelling, that frequently are used in the construction of cities or automobiles.
basically the collection consists of imagined cities from above, using color palettes to give a feeling of place or season or mood (winter in new york, paris in the spring, lost in the city, california, etc.) i’ve been doing the cities now for a while but i’m really encouraged from the attention my work has been gathering in the last six months. the work is also a lot about cities and traffic movement, about balance, a tough mix. i like to spend a lot of time away from the work and add in squares in fits and starts.
q: are you currently exhibiting in any shows or is there any other meaningful information you would like to mention?
a: you can see my work in the march 2008 issue of canadian house and home magazine, the special condos issue. it can also be viewed at toast restaurant and in stores on queen street east in leslieville. my new website is up, and i have a flickr stream as well.
thank you james!