introducing the work of James B … artist and teacher

Last Sunday, the first day of February, I took the kids down to the Loop A gallery in America-Mura, under the fly-over near Yotsubashi, to see the work of James Baker (James B), who, of course, works with me at the British Council, and whom some of you might know quite well.

The Loop A gallery in Ame-mura

The Loop A gallery in Ame-mura

The gallery is quite a small space, but very intimate, and James’ sculpture exhibition looked fantastic. When we arrived, he was showing a group of visitors how to carve wood and letting them have a go themselves.

James shows the kids how to carve a piece of wood

James shows the kids how to carve a piece of wood

The group included three young children, and this really impressed me. It was immediately clear that James has a strong passion for his art, and enormous enthusiasm to encourage others. It was wonderful to see young kids so keen to listen to his words and try to carve the wood themselves, using what looked like, potentially, very dangerous cutting tools.

Hugo and Irie getting a feel for some sculpture

Hugo and Irie getting a feel for some sculpture

During the hour and a half or so that we spent there, the kids were encouragd to touch the sculptures and feel the stone with their hands, both by James and his wife, Natsuko, and by the gallery owner, who seemed very happy with James’ show.

Inside the gallery

Inside the gallery

Quite a few visitors popped into the Loop A space while we were there, and all were welcomed with a big smile and encouraged to interact with the work and ask questions.

During a quiet moment, I asked James to tell us a little about himself: how he became interested in his art and what influences his work. If you click on the link below James’ photo, which was taken by Hugo (a budding photographer), you can hear our short conversation. I will try and produce a transcript in the next few days. 🙂

Portrait of the artist as a youngish-looking chap

Portrait of the artist as a youngish-looking chap

LISTEN TO JAMES DISCUSSING HIS WORK AND HIS INFLUENCES

After chatting with James, I asked him to briefly describe 6 of his pieces and you can try and match his descriptions to the 6 photos in the box below. Listen as many times as you want and don’t worry about understanding everything, listen for the key words. Again, I will produce some transcripts in the next couple of days

Picture 1

Picture 1

 
Picture 2

Picture 2

 
Picture 3

Picture 3

 
Picture 4

Picture 4

 
Picture 5

Picture 5

 
Picture 6

Picture 6

 

Piece A

Piece B

Piece C

Piece D

Piece E

Piece F

JAPANESE INFLUENCES

In the interview, James talks about a daruma he once found in a shop in the UK, and describes how he created his own daruma, which was displayed in Japanese shrine in London, before he had ever come to Japan. Below you can see a couple of photos of another daruma which James has created, much more recently. This work is made out of clay, and the first photo, again, was taken by Hugo, the five-year old photographer!

Hugo's photo of James' daruma

Hugo's photo of James' daruma


Detail of daruma

Detail of daruma

BIGGER SIZE PHOTOS OF THE WORKS DESCRIBED IN THE AUDIO TEXTS, AND SOME OTHER WORKS FROM THE EXHIBITION

A clenched fist

A clenched fist

Abstract nude

Abstract nude

Words carved in stone

Words carved in stone

Actual size study of a human head

Actual size study of a human head

An upright figure of a woman eating an apple

An upright figure of a woman eating an apple

Hugo checks for lighting and the best angle

Hugo checks for lighting and the best angle

Contemplation of peanuts

Contemplation of peanuts

Reclining woman

Reclining woman

Seed

Seed

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2 Responses to introducing the work of James B … artist and teacher

  1. makingclear says:

    I particularly like the piece where words are carved in stone. At first, I thought the words were hieroglyphics, but on closer inspection, I noticed it was English. I just had to look harder and the English revealed itself.

    I enjoyed listening to the recordings and looking at the pictures. Excellent work!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention introducing the work of James B … artist and teacher « honTony -- Topsy.com

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