Q + A: James Dale

Artist James Dale disembodies landscape to lattice together the memory of space.

Describe your practice in one sentence.

Abstract landscape to a degree, with more of a focus on built objects as opposed to natural.

Did you attend art school or are you self-taught?

I had always been encouraged to paint growing up and had the seed planted that I would go to art school after completing high school. I didn’t get there immediately but eventually enrolled at UNSW College of Fine Arts in Sydney at the age of 27. When I reflect on that period now I’m glad I had the opportunity to focus on painting for three years, it seems a pretty luxurious concept at my stage in life now.

When do you feel your most creative?

Once I have had an idea that I can’t stop thinking about. It could be from an object I see, maybe a composition idea that enters my head or even just a colour. Once I get excited about an idea that I’m visualising I have to follow it through in order to stop thinking about it.

Your work disembodies landscapes. What effect does this process have on your sense of place?

My works are based on what I see through my travels and in turn memories created. For me it’s all about what I may think of later when reflecting on a place or time. I find I usually reflect on an object that stands out as opposed to everything else in between. My artwork creates a lattice of memories of the objects and places from my day-to-day surroundings. My compositions highlight the structure, shapes and detail of familiar objects.

What materials do you use?

My preferred medium is graphite and acrylic on wood. I have always preferred wood as you can treat it harshly. I scratch and sand back into my work to create varied tones and textures. I use acrylic on board, mainly due to impatience. I prefer to have a plan and work quickly.

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