With phases like ‘High Flyer, Chasing the Dream, Life in the Fast Lane’ and ‘The American Dream’ you’d be excused for thinking these are working titles to the second sequel to the seminal 1980s movie about the decade’s success, ‘Wall Street’. As opposed to simply the names of critically acclaimed contemporary cityscape artist, James Blinkhorn’s signature releases. Not that there’s anything remotely ‘simplistic’ about his illustratively towering visual odysseys which grab the viewer’s attentions in a way Michael Douglas just couldn’t. Widely regarded as one of the rising stars of the British contemporary art scene, Blinkhorn’s naturally gifted talent was spotted from an early age, not least by his artistic father and art teacher, Mrs Seagall. The latter going as far as to say that; “James is the most talented artist I have personally come across”.
Born and bred in Manchester in 1966, Blinkhorn’s artistry was in demand from the age of just 11, as his precocious creative talent was already commanding commissions as he laid illustrative waste to all manner of subject matter with the consummate ease of someone twice his age. At school Blinkhorn even had special dispensation to be taken out of certain classes so he could concentrate on his art lessons instead, such was the potential seen in him by his school. In fact, some of those first commissions he received came from staff and parents. Securing runner-up status in a major art competition underlined Blinkhorn’s fledgling ability and he recalls even back then that as far as career choices went, there weren’t any options other than becoming an artist.
Once he’d completed his secondary education – with that strong emphasis placed on his art subjects – Blinkhorn progressed to higher education, gaining himself a place at Tameside College of Art; after which he became a young newspaper artist, prior to setting up his own studio in his native Cheshire. Thereafter Blinkhorn threw himself into his art, and staged a number of successful one-man shows at prestigious venues and galleries in the locality, rapidly establishing and cementing something of a formidable reputation in the community. It was around this time that Blinkhorn forged a commercial partnership with two of his close friends, forming the ‘Incredoman’ illustration agency who bagged a collection of top drawer contracts with such illustrious, blue chip clients as Disney, Coca-Cola, Siemens and BT to name but a handful.
Recalling his early days, and Blinkhorn talks of being inspired by unconventional outdoor scenes, which melded differing shapes, colours and textures together in the more unusual ways and from alternative perspectives. One of Blinkhorn’s favourite haunts as he was busy crafting and systematically perfecting his own style for which he’d become later known was a local scrapyard, where he’d venture to on rainy days so as to explore the idea of man’s incursion on the environment. Blinkhorn harked back to his college days at this juncture by citing the manner in which one of his tutors there, the former Royal Academy alumni, Bill Clark, would implore the importance of reworking each painting, and revisiting with regularity to add more emotive weight and depth to the piece. This illustrative road and approach to his personal art inevitably led to the arena of cityscapes for Blinkhorn, and with his accumulative successes he was afforded the opportunities to travel to broaden his creative horizons and in his new bid to be privy to and ultimately absorb all the crucial sights, sounds and atmospheres of his chosen subject matter. Cue working trips and fact-finding missions to a range of European cities, with the accent firmly on cultures and architecture, as well as New York itself.
Today Blinkhorn is never happier than when he’s experimenting with art materials and trials and errors a plethora of mediums with the singular pictorial objective of defining his atmospheric images with the maximum visual impact. The hugely popular artist’s invigorating, uber stylish and art directed compositions which quite literally stop many of us in our tracks, such is their initial impact. And one of the fundamental reasons behind this is Blinkhorn’s insistence on achieving the optimum colour swatches that would portray his favoured cityscapes in this visually arresting fashion. Adamant that he would be frequenting his favoured pastels to manifest the look and feel he had in mind from the outset, Blinkhorn approached a bespoke pastel manufacturer who had in excess of 50 shades of grey individually created on his behalf; ranging in infinite colouration from Oyster and Ash to Iron and Dove, whilst passing Sea-washed Pebbles and Cloudy Skies en route to pastel perfection.
These incalculably important tools of his trade ensure that Blinkhorn can lend the graphical narrative of every inch on concrete, smoke and sky that shape his hallmark pieces, and subsequently create this unique, distinctive and considered ambience to every new compositional reveal. In essence Blinkhorn’s modern pictorial reveal a contrast and myriad of sidewalks and skyscrapers which echo and reflect in many ways the masculine weakness for the sexier trappings in life, particularly fast cars which are also graphically accounted for and tell the fuller picture of the male of our species striving for greater perceived success. The resultant ultra-stylish and powerfully enhanced compositions are produced in elaborate and painstaking detail, often crafted in pastel over a period of sometimes, several months.
Blinkhorn now showcases his individual pieces and collections throughout the UK, Europe and America, and boasts an impressive array of both private and corporate collectors who anticipate his every new release. Indeed, Blinkhorn’s work is currently the pride of place in the boardrooms of such prestigious companies as BT and Siemens, as well as numerous other blue chip organisations and companies far and wide.