Bradley James

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A sentence about your background?

After doing my A-levels at The Deepings School, I studied a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Right now I’m coming towards the end of my BA Hons Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University. So, that was two sentences – but…

A sentence about you?

Eek. Not sure what to write for this one! I’ve not actually always been the arty type. Coming out of A-levels, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. However, I always felt I had a lot to say about the world and one way to get this noted was visually. I’ve learnt to show my passions and to express myself, and what I have to say about the world, in a creative way.

But if it’s just the facts: I’m a 20-year-old aspiring illustrator based in Cambridge. I take part in my local Punk scene, helping out with gigs, promoting upcoming events and working to get my art out there. I’m currently trying to attain an apprenticeship in tattooing or piercing. Whatever it is I’m doing, making sure people see my work is my main priority.

Where do you find your inspiration?

From a variety of places. My art is heavily influenced by film and music; with the former, I draw on everything from the old-school black-and-white horrors to the more grindhouse films such the House of 1000 Corpses. Musically, I relate a lot to punk music but this is generally less genre-specific. Otherwise, it might be focusing on how I perceive the world, whether that’s from a political, emotional, or artistic standpoint. My own mind is also a big inspiration for me. I feel like I have had quite a difficult time in my life and my art provides an escape  – it’s a way to get my emotions down on a piece of paper.

Other artists you like?

I’m a big fan of Ivan Brun, an illustrator who creates a lot of political artworks. I found his style incredibly interesting. David Hartman is another of my favourites – he uses a cartoon style using photoshop and bases his pieces on the horror genre.

My current favourite is Jacob Bannon – he’s a potential to be my all-time favourite artist. His work is incredible; he’s a fine artist who uses mixed media and screen-printing. He’s also a singer of a band called Converge.

Can you describe a typical creative process for you? (Do you start with an idea and get straight to work on it? Or mess around with a few before settling on one?

My creative process can vary hugely. I usually settle on an idea quite early on and push that as far as I can visually. My problem isn’t getting an idea (I always seem to have plenty that I want to say in my work) but in choosing the suitable media. As such, I use a lot of media experimentation and push it before I settle on a final piece.

Three words to describe you?

Outgoing. Passionate. Playful.

Three words to describe your work?

Macabre. Provocative. Emotional.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently trying to explore every aspect of my style. Not everybody is always going to enjoy your work, but I’m one of those artists that make it regardless. I do my art because I enjoy it, not to make bags of money (though that would be nice!), and I would like to continue to make thought-provoking images. Even if I make just one person question one thing, then I have made a difference.

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Images by Bradley James

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