In the 1980’s James spent ten years as a decorative painter creating the successful partnership Kerr & Erskine and his clients included many of London’s best interior designers. Although not formally trained, this is where he learnt his craft, to understand the use of colour, paint & materials, and has painted ever since.
James explains: “I have, over the years, built an enviable reputation for gutsy abstracted work. To quote the illustrator and commentator Ralph Steadman: ‘The paint itself is also an object – it is subject to its own motivation, rules and dynamic which the artist must overcome, ignore or amplify’. This in so many ways expresses so much the ‘why and what’ I paint. An admirer of many of the great 20th century masters from Cezanne onwards, it is the likes of William Scott, Paul Feiler, Patrick Heron and Roger Hilton that have had the greatest influence. More recently I have fallen under the spell of painter Nicolas de Staël, something which is becoming evident in my more recent work.”
James paints in oil on board, working occasionally from pencil sketches. His studio is based in Warwickshire.