JAMES W CULLEN – FRSPH, FRSA, GGAF Ambassador
1942 Born in Stafford
1956 Studied at Stafford College of Art
1962 Graduated in Fine Art
In the fifties art was recognised by way of a National Diploma of Design. It was a six year course which necessitated study in painting, life drawing, pottery, commercial art, creative design, calligraphy, illumination, book binding, leather work, layout and design, writing, recording, enamel, engraving, wood cutting, wood turning, sculpture, carving in stone and marble and casting in concrete. Prior to commencing the final two years, a choice would be made to concentrate on one of those crafts to support the main fine art subject. James chose pottery as his additional subject.
Having graduated in Fine Art and Pottery he left college to complete a post grad in Industrial Ceramics at Stoke on Trent Polytechnic. The course was limited to six individuals who were being groomed to become future employers in the local pottery industry. That was to come several years later but on completion of the course he left the North to free-lance in London.
In the metropolis he soon gained recognition both a portrait painter and as an interior designer, his clientele engaged him often for both services. The majority of the portrait commissions were for theatre people or those completing their duties in the guards some of whom were well known international names. He also did restoration work for museums and private galleries. Although he lived in De Vere Gardens Kensington, his studio was off the Bayswater Road a short walk across the Broad Walk in Kensington Park.
His Interiors were in the Hicks style mostly for officials of the Foreign Office, British Council and Civil Service. The majority of his clientele lived in the Montague Square and Seymour Place area giving the Artist free access to West End galleries,
His work has been described as;
“His paintings present us with a strange and personal mythology. They envelope us in a unique fantasy world, where his figures move through timeless dream like spaces performing strange and deep erotic plays that have a surreal and shakespearean quality”.
“His paintings are mostly large, imposing and present the onlooker with a potent mix of mysticism and sexuality all embalmed in a vital and powerful painting style.“