Artist of the Month: James Earley

I was born in Southampton and from a very early age I was passionate about art. As a quiet and shy child I found art a good way of communicating, as well as an escape from the complex world around me.

I unfortunately turned away from art and followed a ‘traditional’ family route of a career in law. After spending 15 years on this career, not picking up a paint brush during this time, I started painting again when my daughter was born very premature and spent seven months in hospital. I found that painting gave me an escape from the stress and worry, and from that day on I have continued to paint and I am now a full time artist.

I am passionate about painting people on the edge of society, people without a voice, ‘invisible’ people such as the homeless, victims of war, those with mental health issues.

I have often been asked why I paint people on an emotional knife edge. I firmly believe there are some questions that you can not answer – sometimes your heart tells you something, and you just have to follow it no matter where it takes you. This is how I feel. My advice is always that you must paint from your heart and never compromise in your art.

My oil paintings start with meeting the sitter, getting to know the person and their story, sketching the subject and putting all this emotion on to canvas. I hope that my paintings will help raise awareness of issues such as homelessness and poverty.

I have exhibited in New York, Amsterdam, Madrid and London, I have been nominated for the BP award and exhibited with the Royal Institute of British Painters. I have been described by the German International Art Book and The Contemporary Art Curator as “one of the most important artists in the world today”.

In 2019 I won first prize at the London Biennale, the Giotto International Prize and the Leonardo da Vinci International Prize. I’ve also been awarded the Venice International Art Prize in 2020.

Working with Art Can is a tremendous opportunity for me and I am very grateful for the hard work of the team which allows artists like myself to be part of an inspirational group, which aims to bring art to everyone.

Instagram: @jamesearleyartstudio