WORKAHOLIC // FEBRUARY JAMES
A look into the world of artist February James is a journey of boldness. Created by colorful oil pastels, her pieces are dichotomous; they are both childlike and communicative of deep emotion. As February feels, so do her paintings, each one dripping with humanity. The act of creating provides her an outlet for inward expression. Sentiments diffuse and take residence on the paper, released to live a life of their own.
In sharp contrast to the trend of exhaustive self-promotion that permeates the culture today, February is reserved and private, pushing the work out into the limelight while attempting to retain an air of personal mystery. One foot in the world and one foot in the shadows, she strives to create art that speaks for itself. And it does.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am February James and I am a walking contradiction. I am a creature of habit, yet I crave change. I’m the sun-drenched wilting flower and the fertile ground. I’m speeding into the future trying to re-write the past. And I paint too.
How did you get to where you are now?
A straight flight from Los Angeles to New York City, and a cab.
What made you turn to this direction?
My rebellious nature.
How much of the week is work, how much is play?
February 2016 marks my one year anniversary in NYC and to date it’s just been a string of hours. No beginning. No end. I’m learning to play, again.
Find it… find it… find it… hmmm; it’s just there. Dormant in me sometimes… but always there, always around. You know, like that little puppy at your feet following you throughout the house until you pay it some attention. I have been extremely fortunate enough to work with some really great individuals as I navigate life. Amazing teachers. As far as organization some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned came from my time working with Vivica Fox, watching her maneuver and deal. She could be at the same time… running to catch a flight, reviewing a contract and phone her assistant and tell him where to find that tiny pink book hiding in the back of the closet upstairs and be spot-on accurate. I was always impressed by that ability. What I took away from that is for me to completely immerse myself in my craft, to loose myself in the work… it’s imperative that certain things in my life be in exact order. It helps that I’m slightly neurotic too.
What has been the most exciting thing you have done with your work, and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?
I think the most exciting thing for me right now is the public’s response to the work. I didn’t have any expectations from the public when I began to share so when someone has a connection to the work, it’s still a process for me. And I process things very slowly. I compartmentalize things. It’s like planting a seed, and immediately seeing the flower bloom … then thinking to yourself, “Oh Shit, I forgot to water it.” You pay attention to it then. You want to make sure you’re nurturing it properly … yet you’ve still got a garden to finish seeding. It’s interesting and it can be overwhelming. That said, I have a genuinely great respect for people whose craft forces them to live a very public life. I think as a artist I always expected to be off painting in a room and that be that. Sharing the work kind of pulls me out of that place as people begin to want to know about me. I never anticipated that. This studio visit is even kind of weird for me. Someone phones you and says “Hey, let me look at your stuff and ask you some questions.” I don’t know when I’ll get used to it, yet I adore and appreciate the intimacy of it.
And as far as “Dream Situations,” experience has recently taught me to keep thoese a little bit closer to myself. I can show you better than I can tell you, is also the double edge sword for me. Reason being, I’m still learning how to maneuver, how and where to truly find the right help, alignment and direction for me while blind-folded and feeling my way around.
How do you define your personal style, work and clothing, etc.
Do you listen to music during your work day?
Constantly. It’s a great source of inspiration for me. Lyrics especially. It helps to evoke a mood or place I want to be in, because as much as I evolve, I’m constantly re-tracing a memory.
What’s something someone may not know about you?
Love people. Trust actions. Be loyal to yourself.
February’s work can be found at her website: http://www.februaryjames.com and her Instagram: @februaryjames, as well as on display at 56th Studio in Bangkok in the form of limited edition silk scarves. Her interpretation of the AW16 shows at NYFW can be purchased through Show Studio.
Interview – Katherine Aplin