James Barrett paints from a studio overlooking the river Dart in the village of Stoke Gabriel, near Totnes in Devon. He divides his time between painting and music composition: "I'm interested in constantly searching to further myself as an artist, and in developing ways to express myself both through music and paint. The two disciplines complement and feed on each other. I'm both fascinated and energised by the interplay between the two, and constantly excited by what might be thrown up creatively by the dual journey I'm immersed in."
Having graduated in music from the University of Leeds, then as a post-graduate at the Royal Academy, Barrett attended the Bristol School of Fine Art, intent on developing his painting in order to express himself through visual means alongside his music. Painting is in his blood, with several generations of artists on one side of his family - he learnt much about painting technique from his father's cousin, Pat Jobson, who was a marine painter and one of the founder members of the Wapping Group of Artists, which was formed in 1946 and still continues.
He is interested in emotive painting; colour; instinct; and harnessing energy through the brush.
"The subject matter and light obviously form an important and integral part of each painting, but it's not the most important thing for me when working. What really gets me going is the delivery of the paint as an expressive tool. In recent work this has thrown up an interesting correlation between the emotive processes of musical creation and how a brushstroke is delivered to the canvas. My subjects have combined two main areas: firstly, my response to my local environment, including a visceral love for all things boating; seascapes; landscapes; and secondly, a reflection on the relationship and interplay between music and paint – the juxtaposition of, and build-up to both processes; and how the result of both is a living entity and a direct physical representation of the creator."