James King: 'These People'

Mr Minty is excited to present this new body of work from an artist who is not only the longest member of Becker Minty’s family of artists, but the first. Mr Minty explains that, “from the very beginning, his work resonated with me, as his work has an element of nostalgia that makes me smile.”
Three Furs 2021, oil on canvas, 97x87cm, black timber box frame

James King’s signature subject matter is very much steeped in nostalgia and “ordinary” moments from the past. “I feel a deep connection with the past and where we’ve all come from. There’s something so theatrical and mysterious about an old photograph with a person as the central focus. We were never meant to see these images! They were very private familial acts of remembering a moment. Now images taken on phones are for all to see. There are times when I’ve found a new image that I’ve wanted to paint but it’s such a rarity and it never gets into my head like an image from the past,” says King. “The perfect photograph speaks to me. It has to be painted and brought to life without changing the original composition... I feel that would almost be a betrayal of the magic of that moment when it was captured. The more I do this I feel like I’m honouring the person/people in the image but also the act of recording an important moment in someone’s life.”
The show’s title, “These People”, is King’s way of ensuring his subject matters stories live on. He explains he wanted to “narrow down exactly what the show is about: ordinary everyday people just like us but born in another time. I didn’t want it to be “those people” as that removes them completely from our experience, “these people” implies that they’re still with us and their stories have relevance.”
Study for Dinner, 2021, ink on paper, 33.5x27cm, black timber box frame
Man in a hat, 2021, ink on paper, 36x29cm,
black timber box frame
For this body of work, King not only uses oils, but adds a few other mediums to the mix clarifying that he still loves oils and “will never tire of what they can do but watercolour, gouache and ink are so much fun, and the unpredictability of those mediums bring such delight.” Mr Minty adding that “his use of a soft, almost ‘vintage' colour palette is a signature.”
Mr Minty declares that, “there’s a fabulous quirkiness in many of James’ works. Sometimes extreme and sometimes subtle. James has an incredible ability to capture a moment with a lot of his works evoking a blink of the eye moment, a head turn, a look up or a click of the camera lens. He paints vintage photographs beautifully, but they always have his signature look and feel. James’ work really does make me smile.” 
Rebecca Khoury