“I am heir to the underwater city of Atlantis” – Aquaman
With a practice that draws upon the street art aesthetics, refined illustrations of the natural world and a collection of bold, bombastic sculptures, James Lesjak-Atton has been making a name for himself through a fluid, consistent portfolio of work that by all means centres itself around ‘play’. For what has been almost a decade, he has been drawing and painting large-scale works, participated in group shows and had his own solo exhibitions and taken on a Bachelor of Visual Arts (majoring in Sculpture) at the Sydney College of Arts. The young artist has also co-curated three mammoth fundraising exhibitions, One for the Road, Put it on Wax and Slab Slam Jam, and worked with various mural heavyweights around Australia.
James’s process when it comes to painting is one that continually unfolds, with the very last mark dictating the next. “I would call my practice in its early stages very similar to that of Mr. Squiggle... I generally try to use bright, strong colours in my palette, choosing 3-4 colours before I start”. When it comes to his sculptures, James approaches each work as if it were a puzzle, like a giant game of Lego. He uses timber, with trademark splashes of bold acrylic colour, and spends hours negotiating the composition, often with a playful image in mind, like food. “My last series of sculptures consisted of steam bent timber and acrylic paint. In order to bend timber I built a timber sauna and, one by one, shaped the timber to my ideal curve. This process is similar to that used by timber boat builders.”
James creates his works between two studios, situated at Callan Park in Rozelle and the Toxteth Hotel in Glebe. His materials a wide-ranging and include acrylic paints, aerosol cans, timber, canvas, paper, felt-tip pens and markers. James is already living part of his dream, working full-time as an artist, and hopes to travel the world with his trade in the future.