Collective 013: James Wilson And His Tender Illustrations

Collective 013: James Wilson And His Tender Illustrations

Welcome back to the thirteenth feature from the Collective Series by The Idle Man. We meet up with interesting men who either work in the creative industry, or we just admire the work they do. Styled in our most recent collections, drops, and written in the words of our Editor Georgia Jackson, read the full feature below as we believe it's more about what we do, rather than what we wear. To shop the products James Wilson is wearing simply click the images.

Meet James Wilson, an abstract artist living and creating art at his studio in Brighton. Breaking the scene recently with his creative designs, Wilson has always had a creative side which has dominated his personality. Starting out as a musician, Wilson played and performed for a few years in his home town but after nothing coming from it he turned his creative spell over to an equally practical creative output.  

From painting to clothing, Wilson has used his talent to create designs which can be painted and then printed onto paper, clothing and accessories. Spreading his wings, Wilson enjoys experimenting with bright colours and unusual textures to create bold and striking art. Finding his inspiration from “the natural world, human form and colour itself” he explains on his own website (where you can find all of his work).

Having a passion for the natural world and not wanting to harm his inspiration, Wilson prides himself on using only eco-friendly water-based ink on CO2 neutral organic 100% cotton items. His unique designs have been used on tote bags, phone cases and a range of jewellery. Clearly showing his eye for design, Wilson enjoys the idea that people can find joy in his work in a variety of ways. 

All of Wilsons creations are open to interpretation created with a minimalist design, his original painting are far from pretentious. His simplistic yet elegant designs are easy to read at face value with little deeper meaning behind strokes on the paper. Believing that everything doesn’t need a deep meaning to it, instead, Wilson allows the owner of his work to create their own interpretation of the painting. The straightforward creator fears that by placing his own thoughts and concepts into his paintings he will impose on other peoples thoughts and connections with the creation.

Remaining simplistic his paintings has helped him become accessible to all who wish to bring a little culture into their homes and lifestyles. 

Wilson’s work quickly began venturing out from his studio once his Instagram account put his work into the public eye. Finding himself catapulted into the people’s discourse, Wilson was picked out for a place in both Paris and London Fashion Week 2018 where he was able to showcase his finest collections of original paintings plus his wider range of creations. Not slowing down after fashion week, the minimalist artwork was also featured in the likes of Vanity Fair, Trouva and Habitat Show Home and Catalogue where his work was pictured for home inspiration. 

After such a busy year in 2018, The Idle Man is getting the chance to sit down with the artist to find out if 2019 is set up to be an even busier year and to see what else the future has in store for his work. 

You say you’re inspired by the natural world for your paintings, when you’re out and about do you like to capture what inspires you on a camera to take back to the studio? 

I have literally thousands of photos on my phone, camera, and polaroid prints. I’m constantly capturing images of the world around me.  If it were more affordable I would easily use a roll of film a day.

What do you think has been your most obscure painting? 

Everything that I don’t post or share. I have collections of abstract art that one day I will release for the world, but in the mean time its just for me.

If you could print your paintings onto anything what would it be? 

My dream was to see my work on jewellery something that a person can wear forever and cherish, now that I have done that I think the next step is workwear or chore jackets. A piece of clothing truly designed to last and and take on the story of the person. rips, stains, and all.

What has been the proudest moment in your art career so far? 

Being able to support my family by working for my self.

Do you ever base your portrait paintings on people you know? 

Not specifically on an entire face or person, but more prominent features or poses and gestures some one takes on.

Who would you love to see one of your original pieces in their homes and on the walls? 

This is an interesting one. I don’t specifically want anyone individual to own them, just as long as the love them for the art. Obviously it would be amazing for a well known collector or art critic take one though. 

Do you have a routine/ritual that you follow before creating work?

 I never force myself to create new work, it has to come from an impulse or sometimes frustration. Art for me is a way of getting your emotions onto paper without using words.

What did you do before painting for work? 

I used to be a recording engineer, and a musician. I cant remember the exact day I decided to try and pursue art as a career but I think it was really just out of a need to create something new and I was getting tired of music. 

If you could describe your style in one word, what would it be?


Photography by Cal McIntyre.

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