Artist Profile

David James

David James

Nelson New Zealand
Artist’s Statement

I am intrigued by both the fragility and the resilience of being human, and the complexities of our humanity in relationship to one another. Through my practice, it is my goal to engage with emotive and personal narratives as they emerge through the process of making, to create images of depth, weight, and connection. My working approach focusses on the sensitivity and discipline of traditional figurative drawing, disrupted by washes of shellac. The resulting images embody in the making, the tension we hold between what we can and cannot control.


Born in 1976, and living and working in Nelson, New Zealand, David is an artist, an art educator, and gallery director.
David James’ art practice explores the sensitivity and control of traditional figurative drawing, disrupted with expressive techniques to allow emotive and personal narratives to emerge. David's greatest interest is to explore the complexities of our humanity in relationship to one another.

As an art educator, David teaches contemporary and traditional approaches to drawing the figure, and has recently returned to Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology teaching critical studies, and studio practice.
David also directs the not-for-profit initiative ATELIER Studio|Gallery to support, represent, and promote emerging contemporary artists, from where he runs his private studio.

David holds qualifications in the Visual Arts majoring in painting and drawing, and a Master’s degree in Art & Design for which he achieved First-Class honours for his work exploring the human experience of transitory spaces.


Master of Arts (Art & Design)
AUT Auckland University of Technology

Certificate in Adult Teaching
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

Diploma in Visual Arts (Level7)
Nelson Polytechnic


Cretney Award for Excellence in Education (2009)

Selected Exhibition History

Solo Shows

2022 Psalm
2019 Speculum Humanae Dei
2018 Song of all Songs

Group Shows

2020 Stations of the Cross
2019 Downscale
2018 Quality of Life

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