Karl James

A multi award winning artist working from Whyalla in regional South Australia. Karl’s oeuvre is wide and ranges from expressionist still life to narrative allegories, mixed media collages often incorporating the written word, portraits, industrial oddities, brooding charcoal, pastel, ink drawings and expressionist mono prints and linocuts His work has been exhibited throughout regional and metropolitan South Australia and in the USA, with works held in various private and corporate collections in Australia, Canada and USA.

He has been the recipient of a Foundation SA arts development scholarship, winner of the Whyalla art prize, Hummock hill art prize and One Steel industrial art award. He has exhibited throughout South Australia and in Chicago and California USA.

Artist Statement

There’s always something more isn’t there, that little nag, lurking; that unanswered question that begs to be asked; that shadowy itch tickling tender nerves. Some search for answers in theology or science, some in philosophy or quiet meditation. The beauty of this search through the creative arts is that there are no boundaries and the possibilities are endless. For me painting is a record of that exploration that search for understanding.

This evolutionary journey as an artist has been one of slowly peeling back the layers of self and plumbing the depths of soul. There’s the intriguing paradox in this search as a visual artist and that is reaching out, the pawing and clawing at the tangible to find the intangible. The works themselves become outpourings of ideas, arteries, feeding a love of discovery and a new language for emotional, spiritual and intellectual activity.

This journey continues to be essential in leading me to the point of matching emotional and spiritual development with technical ability, thus enabling me to get out of my own way and allow the paintings, to flow through me onto the tactile surface of the canvas and become visual evidence of discoveries made.


It’s a tough love though, painting in a blue collar industrial paradigm where artistic ideals and thoughts are trampled underfoot like discarded fag ends, so my paintings seem to lurk in a shadowy twilight contemplating answers to softly spoken questions and they stare at you and question back. They dare you to engage. The heavy industrial work-a-day world of which I’m a part is however a wonderful foil for explorations into the realms of Soul, Hope, Temptation and humanity’s journey.