Shattering the image, James Bullough mesmerizes with large scale murals and female subjects
"I honestly don’t know why I started painting women other than the obvious reasons; but once I started I got addicted."
We've been wracking our brain over and over on how James Bullough comes up with such an amazing style of artwork. From the realistic subjects to the shattering / splintering effect he adds gives his look something uniquely his own, and honestly, makes us only want to see more. We talked with the Berlin artist on his Seinfeld binging, social media in the world of art and the use of females in his work.
39/yes please/Berlin by way of Baltimore and DC.
What are you binging on TV lately?
I have never stopped watching Seinfeld since it originally aired. I watch them in order and when I finish them all, I start over again. It honestly never gets old.
You work a lot with the female form, any particular reason why?
I honestly don’t know why I started painting women other than the obvious reasons; but once I started I got addicted. There’s something about painting skin tones and flowing hair that is just exciting. It’s not at all easy and personally I don’t think I’m very good at it, but that’s probably why I like it so much ... it’s a challenge and I gauge the quality of each of my paintings on one simple criteria: is it better than the last painting I did?
What are the challenges you often face working on large scale mural type work?
Unpredictable weather and the tools I use to paint my murals. If I’ve got a week to paint a five story building and it rains for three of those days — or even worse, if it’s really windy, or if the lift breaks down (or the granny across the street doesn’t like what I’m painting and calls the city council). The list is endless.
What do you think the world needs more of?
Wealthy art collectors
Did you ever get any great advice as a kid that you still remember today?
My memory isn't so great after all the questionable decisions I may or may not have made at warehouse parties back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, so specific words of advise anyone may have given me would have been lost long ago. But I can say I grew up in an amazing family with a ton of support and people around me who believed in me which allowed me to experiment in life and be confident in myself.
When you made the jump into ‘full-time artist,’ how scared were you?
I wish I was scared. That would have been a more appropriate response to what I was doing.
Tell us a bit about your Vantage Point Radio: how'd that come to be?
It was an idea I had after living in Berlin for a few years and meeting so many different and interesting artists. I found myself time and time again sitting in a bar in deep conversation with an artist about their work and techniques. I found it really inspirational and informative. It just seemed logical that other people would be interested to hear these conversations so I started recording them with my friend and producer Tom Phillipson; it was that simple.
Social media: is it tearing apart society or has it been helpful in your eyes?
This is a tricky topic for me because I feel that as a visual artists, social media, especially Instagram, has honestly helped launch my career. Being able to put my work in front of millions of eyes that would never have been able to see it otherwise is just an incredible tool to have in my belt. On the flip side, I have been pulling more and more away from social media in my own life and really only use it as a business tool and can see the effect it has on younger people and that does scare me.
Can you put into 5 words or less how art has impacted your life?
… in absolutely every single way.