Jimmy Law Artist Statement - Jimmy Law Contemporary

Jimmy Law Artist Statement

I am a contemporary artist, painter, and sculptor from Cape Town, South Africa. I specialise in portraiture, figurative work, nudes, and sculpting.

As a child, I was always drawing. Throughout my teenage years and into adulthood, I continued to draw, illustrate, and make things. After completing my schooling, I studied graphic design. Almost every business I ventured into had a strong artistic or design element, from making clothing to designing and printing clothing, customising cars and motorcycles, manufacturing surfboards, and illustrating comic books. It wasn’t until I was 35 that I started focusing more on painting in my spare time.

Initially, I started with acrylic paint because I was impatient and couldn’t wait for oil paint to dry. But eventually, a friend and fellow artist introduced me to oil paint and methods started evolving. After a while, I managed to create some pieces that I felt confident about. I fell in love with oil paint and began painting a variety of subjects.

However, I struggled to break free from the restrictive, precise, and controlled design style that was embedded in me through my graphic design and illustration background. I wanted to create more expressive and painterly work. One night in my small studio, I had a breakthrough. I realised that my favourite brushes were all rather small brushes used to create detailed, clean, and precise strokes. So I pushed them all aside, grabbed all the large brushes I had, and forced myself to paint using only large brushes. It was such a frustrating process, but through experimenting, I discovered the answer I was looking for

One of my greatest inspirations is the human face. I have long been fascinated by people’s faces, which I feel expresses their identity. I started painting my favourite movie characters and celebrities in this newly discovered style, using only grayscale at first. This was the start of my career as a professional artist.

Over the years, I continued to push and challenge myself as an artist. I started working with full colour, doing larger pieces that would connect with the viewer differently, and doing artistic nudes. I experimented with other materials and different tools to create new techniques.

Eventually, I found a new tool that could deliver strokes resembling those of a palette knife. It was then that my unique style emerged and has carried through into my artworks going forward. This resulted in my signature style that incorporates expressive, realistic, abstract, and design elements in my work.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown of 2020, I started producing my first astronaut art. These were produced in a far more realistic style, and most were quite conceptual, combining the astronaut with elements of nature like animals. I suspect that isolation and the vulnerable state that the world found itself in influenced the creation of these works on a subconscious level.

In 2022, I started sculpting and produced my first bronze sculpture based on one of my astronaut paintings. Working in three dimensions is challenging but also exciting, providing me with a totally different perspective from the two-dimensional paintings I produce. I plan to produce more sculptures in the future.

As a contemporary artist, I continue to push and challenge myself, experimenting with new techniques and materials to progress my art.