Paul James’ inimitable ability to capture the personality and energy of animals has seen him hone his reputation as one of our most charismatic artists.

History and Background

With ambitions to become a concert pianist or a rock star, Paul has been creative since childhood. Defying his art teacher’s warning that it was a ‘silly notion’, he settled on becoming an artist and channelled his imagination into painting exotic cars whilst loitering outside his local Ferrari dealership.

“I lived in the hope that one of the many rich and famous customers would commission me to paint a picture of their car,” he laughs. “Unfortunately it was not to be!”

After dropping out of his graphic design course, Paul earned a living by painting people’s pets, playing the piano at cocktail bars, and even entertaining at a Butlins holiday camp. In 1986, he became a full-time artist and experimented with portraits of people, landscapes, bird of prey, sheep and cattle. As his paintings became popular, he focused his efforts on developing a style that he could call his own.

A decade later, he achieved his dream of combining his home and studio on a narrow boat. He explains: “Being nomadic by nature, this lifestyle suits me perfectly. I can be somewhere different every day if I choose, and I can concentrate my energies into my art and music.”

Ideas and Inspirations

Paul regularly visits galleries and exhibitions to explore the work of other artists, and is particularly drawn to the work of Salvador Dali, adding: “Nothing thrills me more than standing in front of an original. I’ve been lucky enough to visit his home at Cadeques and museum at Figueres in Spain.”

He is often inspired by the sights he encounters whilst travelling on his boat. He says: “I am lucky that I have a lifestyle which provides me with a constant supply of evocative images, and gives me the freedom to travel.”

Interestingly, Paul refuses to set himself a deadline as he believes this hinders his enthusiasm, explaining: “I hate working under pressure. I like to have the flexibility to choose what I want to paint, and when I want to paint it.”

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