Thanks so much for sharing your work @ Local! Initial response has been overwhelmingly positive. Tell us about these images and especially the composition.
The series Wave is intended to draw the viewer in on a few levels. The ocean has a calming effect — a respite in nature from our busy lives. The image is at once familiar and unfamiliar. I’ve combined images to create something that is intended to pull you in, to make you look closer and ask if it’s real or imagined. I like to play with collage — to physically cut/paste/combine the images in a new abstract way.
Santa Monica has this really magical/ special mojo, what pulled you into using this location as your canvas?
I was traveling for work and woke up early one morning. The moment of sunrise is so special, especially when you’re alone — the quality of the light, the magnitude of it all.
Art is a passion project for you, yes? At what point in your life did you start putting concepts together?
Art is more of a way of living for me, and always has been. It’s a kind of meditation. My mother was an artist, and my two sisters and daughter are artists. I studied painting in college, with a focus on portraiture, and up until a few years ago I was exclusively into realism. Since 2015 I’ve moved to collage and abstract painting. I’m also lucky to have a day job that I’m passionate about (working for the furniture brand Knoll).
How, why and when do you take on a particular project?
I like to experiment and work in a multitude of styles and mediums at once. In my studio I usually have 3-4 projects going at any given time. Right now I just finished a portrait for a friend, and I’m also working on a large color block painting. I find that keeps my work fresh.
Is there a particular medium you prefer working with?
Oil or acrylic painting is my favorite — I love the feel of the paint, the excitement of a new canvas. It’s where I find my happy place.
Is there a project that you have been working towards for some time but haven't taken that next step? I ask this question because so many of us have thoughts to building a creative model or platform but just stop short before fully committing.
I start a painting series and usually stop after 3-4 pieces and start something completely new. At some point I’d like to find a language that I stick with for a longer period. I feel fortunate to have a passion and practice that I can lean into even more as I grow older — age presents no limitations when it comes to art.
What does living in Montclair mean to you as an artist?
I’ve be deepening my involvement in the community of artists here in Montclair. It’s an incredibly rich and welcoming group.
You are donating proceeds of sales of this project to Toni's kitchen which is an awesome gesture. Tell us more about your connection to this truly unique and valued organization right here in Montclair.
My husband and I both volunteer there. The mission is so important — the people who run it are incredible as are the people they serve. I like the idea of using my art to connect with the community.
What's next for you in the art space?
I’m working on an abstract series on paper and canvas. I’m inspired by the repetitive patterning of artists like Damien Hirst and Agnes Martin. You can find it on my website at colleen-james.art
What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?
I’m pretty simple when it comes to coffee. Good, strong drip coffee with milk.