CV \ James Hudson M.A.
I am an artist, photographer & lecturer. My art practice centres on creating fictional narratives through combinations of images & text. The work is usually publicly funded, site specific & often involves conducting practical workshops with members of the community where the work is set. Outcomes are physical exhibitions, printed zines & digital media. I undertake commercial interior & architectural photography, & am also an associate lecturer at the University of the West of England. You are very welcome to contact me to discuss a potential commission or collaboration.
In my late teens I was a skateboarder & a professional BMX rider. I rode my bike in competitions, at live demonstrations, on TV & in the circus. The whole skateboard & BMX culture drew me in because it was new, creative & there was a wonderful camaraderie. The physical sensations of doing the tricks was intense, often scary & sometimes painful. Riding out on the street, exploring the built environment provided a raw sense of creative freedom. An activity, I would only later realise, that resonated with those practiced by the Surrealists & the Situationist International art groups.
Having started photographing my friends & the tricks they were doing, I began contributing images to magazines &, when my professional biking career came to an end, working in publishing & then producing, & eventually directing, digital media projects. There is a thrill in publishing: like performing, it is going to be seen, you are going to be judged - so it needs to be good.
I then moved into commercial photography, undertaking assignments in different countries for a variety of companies. However, this kind of work was often slightly at odds with what I liked most about the medium. Understandably, clients want predictable, clear & realistic images, but what I eventually realised was that I liked photography's unpredictability, its blur and how surreal images can be.
Being out on the street, reacting to situations rather than constructing them was where I needed to be. Embracing the way a camera can create images that were not what I imagined when I pressed the button. With the help of an intense workshop, I developed from a purely commercial practice to a primarily artistic one.
My first major project as an artist was a residency at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where I produced a book prompted by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Blackwell’s ‘Inspired by Blake’ exhibition then included my work & I went on to create several personal projects including one about a poetry brothel & another about fear of terrorism, urban alienation & suicide. The images that were the backbone of these projects were not staged but they did not pertain to be truthful either. Around this time I also began to get interested in how black & white images close the visual gap with typography & illustration.
To consolidate my practice I undertook an M.A. in Graphic Arts at the University of the West of England. My final project was to develop Mary Wollstonecraft’s 1787 unfinished story ‘The Cave of Fancy’ into a new, 300+ page photo-text novel.
Inspiration for my work often comes from literature, history & philosophy. In particular, work with a surrealist & gothic flavour. My projects usually result in narratives with gaps for readers to fill in. The relationship between the words & images in the work is non-mimetic: the images do not simply illustrate, or mimic the text. They aim to carry the narrative weight with the words. I believe the entertaining & accessible character of fiction, when printed in cheap zines, gives it power in engaging people in art projects & the issues they raise. Particularly people who are not regular gallery visitors.
I have received commissions from Ffotogallery & the Welsh Assembly, exhibited at the Format & Diffusion festivals & completed residencies in The Dee Valley & at The Leadenhall Market in London. In 2022 I received funding from Arts Council Wales to produce a project about migration, crypto-currency & our evolution into ‘digital' humans. The first chapter of the project was made in Newport & included organising and conducting several walking photography workshops with refugees & asylum seekers. Future chapter of the project are now in production, including one in Berlin. I’m also finishing a large personal project set in a very non-digital late 80’s sub culture.
During my years working in the creative industries I regularly had to make presentations & this activity has continued into my fine art practice. I have spoken about issues facing artists & my own practice at The University of Derby, Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff & the Royal Automobile Club in London. Since graduating from UWE, I have been a regular associate lecturer there on the M.A. Graphic arts course: presenting, holding tutorials & assessing students work. I really enjoy contextualising my own experiences in art & commerce & helping students develop their ideas & practice.
My involvement in commercial photography & digital media still contributes to my fine art practice & lecturing. Although I have no desire to ride BMX or skate at any serious level these days, that original approach still resonates in my current working practices.
Ladders & Snakes \ Printed zine, 40 pages, 100 copies \ 2023
D.H.M: Newport \ Printed zine, 48 pages, 100 copies \ 2022
Vale Voice \ Printed zine, 48 pages, 100 copies \ 2021
Nothing To Worry About \ Printed book, 130 pages, 33 copies \ 2020
Volution \ Printed book, spiral bound, 112 pages, 83 copies \ 2019
The Cave of Fancy \ Printed book, hand bound, 364 pages, 10 copies \ 2019
Some death I have known \ Printed booklet, 3 copies \ 2018
@ a poetry brothel \ Printed booklet with laser cut windows, 22 copies \ 2018
London \ Boxed set of 12 Lambda Prints with silk screened text, 9 copies \ 2016
Three Encounters \ Printed booklet with folded card envelope, 99 copies \ 2016
Skate Park Life \ Printed, hand folded booklet, 300 copies \ 2016
3 Muses \ Printed booklet with folded card envelope, 99 copies \ 2015
Metamorphosis \ Duotone hardback book by Bardwell Press, 350 copies \ 2015
References available on request.