Art, // July 25, 2016
James Mylne — ARTIST
Interview with artist James Mylne –
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is James Mylne but my friends call me Milny. I’m an artist based in London. I think my genre is Alternative Contemporary Art; I specialise in photorealism through the use of ballpoint pens.
2. Why art?
I’m lucky. I was always drawing and making marks with whatever was at hand like all other kids except I never stopped. I kept on with it and my friends persuaded me to go to art college instead of the army (which I am ever thankful for!) and I’ve not looked back.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
Well about the same time my friends were telling me I should go to art college (around 17 years old), I saw the film “Basquiat” and fell in love with the idea and possibility of being an artist. I never knew then that artists could have such cool lives! It’s a great film; if you haven’t seen it you know what to do!
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I like to mix ideas of urban culture with elegance and beauty. It’s difficult to be more specific because I am still working to find the subject that I feel most effective within. I think I’m almost there. I’m currently mixing classical European styles and imagery with modern urban art inspired techniques.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I use my technical experience with ballpoint pens to draw photo realistic images but slightly skewed using other media such as spray paints and markers to mix styles. I like to think this creates a unique approach that has become my signature style.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
Jean-Michel Basquiat showed me that a playful style could be just as relevant as a serious one. KAWS (Brian Donnelly) has showed me how having a consistent nature within the work can become an unstoppable force over time. And I love Takashi Murakami for proving that innocence/beauty and positivity can still go the distance in today’s art world.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
The most common response I get is “Wait. You did that in ballpoint!?” After 15 years I still love hearing that!
I also often have students get in touch with me because they’re doing their art essay at school on me. That’s always flattering, it’s nice to think there’s a grass roots audience/appreciation for my work growing out there.
8. What do you like about your work?
I love how I get lost in it. After a time of drawing in pen the focus ends up sending me into a kind of meditative state where I’m watching myself work. It’s peaceful yet fills me with a deep energy at the same time.
9. What advice would you give to other artists?
• Go to exhibitions. See how other artists in areas you want to work in present their work.
• Spend time thinking about what in your life you can use to express yourself in order to be individual art wise, this helps in standing out from the crowd and trends.
• Stay playful; try not to take your work too seriously. There are always better artists out there, but then, that’s what every artist knows also, so there’s no point in thinking you can be the best at something. Just enjoy creating your own work.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I honestly don’t know. I just want to stay focused on what’s in front of me now, and at the moment that’s my solo show, Grandly Grimey, which opens in September in London.
Westbank Gallery, London W10 5XL
22-29 September 2016