With a BA degree in History of Art from Leeds University, James Vaulkhard has both trained and taught at Charles Cecil Studios and Studio Della Statua in Florence, Italy. Gaining a formidable reputation for his ability to embrace and manifest traditional techniques in both portraiture and sculpture, James was commissioned, in 2013, to participate on a bridge project between Italy and Kenya. Collaborating with local Kenyan sculptors, he also conducted the preliminary studies for The Sacred Heart Cathedral Kericho.
Relocating to London in 2014 James continued to develop an artistic style that reframed his classical training, moving towards a more experimental category of visual expression. His first work exhibited in London was a series of collage works, featuring seven representations of the fictional hero, James Bond, which comprised of found erotic and pornographic imagery. In the wake this success, he created a series entitled Icon, which employed the same techniques. This series included his acclaimed unauthorised 2017 portrait of then-President of The United States, Donald Trump, created from cuttings of historical dictators and political tyrants.
Returning to oil painting in 2019, James created a large-scale series of dystopian landscape paintings entitled Echo Chambers – a collection of algorithm-inspired ‘cave-paintings’ that posed questions about human identity in an era that the artist suggests may prove to be the dawn of guided evolution. These abstract forms blended a primordial past and potential future, depicting fingerprints and crude depictions of beasts veined in algorithmic code.
Most recently, James has combined techniques developed in both Icon and Echo Chambers of works and married them to the aesthetic arena of Japanese art, specifically addressing the mysterious concept of Ma or negative space. The result is a series of abstract landscapes intended to draw the viewer deeper into nature via an overwhelming visual cacophony that seeks to communicate the vast potentialities that exist between the elements.
BY James Vaulkhard