Describe your work in 100 words or less:
The ways people are engaging with art is being changed by the adoption of the smartphone app Instagram. Audiences can lie in bed or be on public transport and receive daily updates from their favourite artists, galleries and critics to enough of a point that they feel ‘informed’ and involved. These user accounts are becoming a style of celebrityhood, with artists managing their own PR. The audience has also become a commodity, with the amount of likes or followers an account has serving as a sort of application of ‘quality’.
My work responds to the evolving nature of engaging with art through Instagram and the internet by playing around with these conventions.
Simple reasons. I feel I express myself best visually and it gives me a lot of enjoyment.
How has your artistic practice changed over time?
Incorporating the internet and Instagram has been the biggest change. It’s strange and addictive platform, and I would argue that no one really sees the work on Instagram but instead a sort of skewed imitation of it.
Which artistic movements do you most identify with?
How do you work? Can you tell us about your process?
I have two streams of work.
The first is the physical work. I come from a photorealistic drawing background and after many years the merit of it was lost on me. Explained within it’s name, photorealism is using a traditional medium such as painting or drawing with the intention of mimicking photography. Wanting to critique this method of working (i.e why not just take a photograph?). I started taking photographs that were then digitally manipulated to look like my previous photorealistic drawings by applying textures and slight distortions. The images are then covered in a layer of paraffin wax that creates a mask of the image and diffuses them. I call these works meta-drawings.
The other stream of my work is using Instagram. I take installation photos from existing galleries and edit my artworks into these photos, presenting them as archive photos of actual exhibitions that I have had (meta-exhibitions).
What is your dream project?
Being able to realise any project I want digitally is interesting as I really have no limitations on what I can do other than my own imagination – which is a bit daunting. There’s no gallery/venue I can’t stage an exhibition at and I could even place my work on the moon if it was relevant to the project.
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
I would like to incorporate VR (virtual reality) into my work. I am absolutely fascinated by it and it’s only a matter of time before the kinks are ironed out with the current technology and it becomes more accessible for public use. “Want to see my new work? Sure, just put on your headset, login to my gallery and I’ll show you through” – will become a common conversation.
What would you like people to experience or get from viewing your current exhibition?
I’d like people to question their inherent hierarchies when looking at a work and the differences between looking at something on your phone screen with all it’s implied contexts and qualities.
James Little’s solo exhibition FW16 can be seen at Artereal Gallery until 25 June, 2016.