James Springall is a collage artist based in London, England. His process begins with the collection of printed materials, which he then reassembles – using a scalpel and some glue – to take out of context. In keeping forgotten images alive but giving them an entirely new identity, this reordering of existing material ultimately strives to create a disturbance of what is; to offer the viewer a surreal yet playful encounter with otherness. You can see more of his work at: www.jamesspringall.com.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Whom do you look up to?
Mother Nature and Bill Murray.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path? Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
My girlfriend has contributed plenty. So many people, places and things have heavily influenced my thinking. A small selection of which includes: Haruki Murakami. John Wesley Harding. Henri Matisse. John & Yoko. David Hockney. Rene Magritte. Gruff Rhys. Down and Out in Paris and London. The Old Man & the Sea. Japan. The Internet. Vifärnaholme Island. Sergei Sviatchencko. Tadanori Yokoo. The Boo Boo Bird. Guy Bourdin. Beatlebone. Finders Keepers record label. Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. You’re Dead! King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Anais Nin. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. JG Ballard. An Incredible Monstrous Bubble Exploding in Your Mind. Stanley Kubrick. Lost in Translation. Wes Anderson. I Am Love. The Sex Pistols. The Clash. The Dalai Lama. Water-Lily Pond. Captain Beefheart. Siddhartha. T-Rex. Deià. Dogs. David Bowie. The news. Old men. The sea. Oxfam. eBay. Objects of Myth & Memory.
How did your art career start? What made you want to become an artist?
I don’t really think of what I do as a career and I guess it’s just the way my brain is wired that makes me want to make things. I’ve always worked in creative jobs but it invariably involves doing things for other people. As time went on, I felt the need to express myself without having to consult anyone else. As more time passed, I felt comfortable sharing some of that with the wider world. There certainly wasn’t a particular ureka moment in which I stood up from my chair and declared to anyone that might have been listening: “I want to be an artist!”. At some point, I just started making things purely for the pleasure of making them and it evolved from there.
What has been your favourite project and why?
My favourite project is always the one I’m currently working on. At the moment that involves pictures of dogs and old advertising slogans.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
Juggling. Focus. Answering questions in interviews.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in? What`s your personal motto?
I don’t have a particular favourite quote or a personal motto but the thinking behind ‘This is not a pipe’ appeals to me greatly.
How do you define creativity?
That’s a difficult one! Many have tried and everyone has their own take on it. I would add to that mix: Creativity is the filling of an otherwise blank space.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him or her?
If you’re ‘seeking’ to lead a creative life then you may well have problems. By all means, try it – have fun, experiment and produce as much interesting stuff as you can but if you have to seek in the first place then I would suggest that it’s going to be hard for you to find. You should be making whatever it is you want to make because you have an inherent desire to do so and not because you’re trying to achieve some mythical lifestyle or live in a way that you can label as a ‘creative life’.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
I’ve really thought about this and, honestly, nothing. I think it’s good to learn as you go along.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
I have a feeling that being enormously weathly might hugely distract me. But I still like to think that, once the novelty of extreme luxury had worn off, I’d pick up an old picture book, get inspired by an image and want to make something. So, no.