I have been a practicing artist for 20 years. My work comprises pencil and ink drawings for gallery exhibitions as well as book and magazine illustration, cartoons and comic books. I have exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent artworks have included a large-scale external installation at the Hepworth Wakefield (2012-2016), a solo exhibition of drawings at Maureen Paley Gallery (London, 2010) and illustrated publications ‘Dracula’ (2008) and ‘Wilf – A Life In Pictures’ (2005). In 2007 I took up a Rome Scholarship at the British School at Rome to visually research ‘Pinocchio’. I am completing a PhD researching British newspaper comic strips. I have a first class degree in Fine Art and at college made work in video, film, photography, sound and performance art. Over the last 15 years I have lectured across different media at Chelsea School of Art, the University of Huddersfield and Sheffield Hallam University on both BA and MA programmes.
My own artwork examines how identity is defined by social circumstance, geography and popular culture. Much of the inspiration comes from the British landscape and, more importantly, the British mindscape. My work is often about growing up on the English south coast on a diet of 1970s comic books, album covers, sitcoms, rock music and Saturday morning cartoons. This resource of childlike interests and adolescent pursuits is used as a language to communicate social ideas. In this way the work connects autobiography with contemporary political and cultural occurrences. Some of this work can be seen at http://www.maureenpaley.com/exhibitions/james-pyman/imagesand http://www.esopus.org/contents/view/205.
My teaching aims to encourage and support students to analyse and articulate their individual interest in image and picture-making in order to grow both their conceptual and technical skills. This can be achieved by addressing students’ personal, social and cultural background and how their personal influences and aesthetic has emerged out of these contexts. A relevant research and practical strategy can then be developed within this framework. I am fascinated by the differing degrees of provisionality and contingency within image and picture-making and support students to engage with all these aspects of 2-D practice, beginning with the doodle, sketch, cartoon, study and illustration, and to explore how these are communicated through sketchbooks, notemaking, reading and looking. In this way students can learn to develop and present their ideas and artwork successfully.