Who are you? (describe yourself your own way)
I am a 27 year old artist based in Adelaide, South Australia, who loves to learn and to experience life. Positive energy is my main drive.

What's your goal in life?
Like everyone, happiness, but achieved through true stimulation of the soul. I am driven to express myself through my art and it seems that the more I learn, the more humble I become. I hope to continue in this way with the passion that I already have.

What do you want to achieve with your images?
Firstly there is the challenge at arriving at a painting which I am happy with. As I make each painting new challenges and ideas are opened to me, so there is always an impetus for the next painting. So what I want to achieve with the paintings at a personal level, is an attempt to deal with the fragile array of ideas, sensations, and thoughts that float about during the processes in front of and away from the canvas.
Then there is the idea of what I would like to achieve with my images in relation to an audience, and this is basically to communicate an idea or relay a vision, which in my work, tends to be of a social and psycological content. Then there is the simple notion of sharing the gift of art with its historical implications and its relevance to the now.

How did you get interested in painting?
As a child I always drew prolifically and always loved art classes. As a teenager I found grafitti to be a pertienent form of expression and I eventually progressed in this way and took the opportunity to paint legal murals. After I worked for a year in 9-5 job I found that my soul was dying so I quickly made the move to commence a degree in fine arts or visual arts as its called here. That was the start of a more serious committment to art, but it was actually a 3 month trip to Europe in 94-95 which contributed to a re-invention of myself and a more humble and dedicated approach to my painting.

Can you describe the process of creation of your image? With the realistic paintings, it's pretty clear, but how about your murals or 'pieces'? Do you usually have a complete idea of the image before you start realizing it or do you just start painting and develop the image on the go?
With most of my work I have a general idea of the desired image and I am usually quite fastidious in my compositional planning. This is so for the oil paintings and also for the murals. The murals are often commissioned so in most cases you have to present a design to someone. I am more casual with mural painting and pieces and so more than often I make a presentable design for someone else. This is fine and is all part of the process of commissioned work.
The great thing about painting is that no matter how complete your initial idea is, the finished result will always be new and unexpected in some way.

Where do you get your inspiration?
It seems to come from the human condition or from the subject as a psycological and social being. This is the first glimpse of inspiration, then there is the currrent world context and historical narratives, which ultimately seem to be unified. This is why I see the human condition as constant and universal and why I can easily draw upon mythological or historical narratives to speak of an idea of today. The beautiful thing about art is how varied and subtle the forms of inspiration can be. It may be the expression of a sleeping homeless man on a bench or it could be the way a certain colour speaks at a given time.

A number of your images have biblical themes, yet they are people of today. Are they just modern representations of the ancient icons or is there a real story connected?
The Christian narrative has been recurrent in my work and it is true that they are modern representations of ancient icons and it is equally true that they are connected. I spoke before of historical narrative being relative today and there interest to me. So firstly there is an identification with these historical narratives in which the human suffers and often a useful story is communicated of ethical and moral value. Secondly I am adopting popular post modern methodologies of pastiche, irony and sometimes appropriation. Irony seems to be the main facet where the stories are evoked into a contemporary context without any obvious diadactic overtones. Then the paintings work more at a unconscious level where the viewer reads the work as a contemporary scene and may draw a more latent association to another narrative. But despite this play of narratives, I find an immense amount of power in religious paintings and I want to transfer that feeling and power into a contemporary context.

You have several images with the theme 'Invalid'. Is there a story you can share or at least an explanation why this is important for you?
The Invalid serious was inspired by an old friend of mine. We spent a few years as young adults together when drinking and going out was a favourite past time. As the years went by and I moved away from that lifestlye, I became intrigued but also disappointed how he continued to drink all the time, virtually like an alcoholic. I couldn't see the point of this repetitive process, and so the Invalid series was born, perhaps as to hold up a mirror to his own behaviour. Most people laugh at these paintings as there is an element of humour about them, but at heart, it is a tragic sort of humour.

On the painting 'Artist In His Studio', is it you?
Actually it's not, but it is a friend of mine who I shared a studio with for 2 years. The painting was my view of him during that period. We worked well together because he was a prolific expressionist always throwing paint around and making a lot of noise while I was quietly working away on small canvases with meticulous detail. The balance seemed to work well.

James Cochran interviewed by Jiri Matejicek
Jan 2001