James McQueen brings four new limited edition prints from his witty Non Fiction collection to Castle Fine Art. The private, provocative artist continues to produce his work inspired by classic paperback covers, emblazoned with sometimes outrageous, sometimes thoughtful, titles.
Read on to find out more about James McQueen’s work and shop from his full collection here. Many McQueen's sell out on launch, so to secure your piece, you’ll have to be quick. McQueen is also open to commissions, so if you would like something totally original, please contact one of our art consultants who will be happy to discuss your requirements.
McQueen explains the witty new works from the Non Fiction collection.
“Love is universal, we have all had that overwhelming sense of exhilaration. The heart wants what it wants, but it can make us intoxicated, crazy and stupid in love.”
“Do things for the hell of it, life is short - but can the fun go too far?”
McQueen’s love of vintage books which have been much-read and showing signs of wear has translated into his mixed media pieces influenced by Penguin paperbacks. “Everyone who owns it has put their little stamp on it, like a tea mark, pencil scribbles, or folded page corners,” he says. “I want to reimagine the dust jacket of a classic book, retro aesthetics with a provocative modern twist.
“I want to celebrate books as treasured objects and the deep affection we have with them. I want the viewer to create their own stories and make their own unique connections to each title. The colours I use can have very subversive powers, and there is a certain significance and emotion that each shade can bring to the interpretations of my work that throws emphasis on the title.”
McQueen, who famously operates under a pseudonym, proudly admits his artistic influences, particularly Harland Miller, who originally created paintings of Penguin covers in 2001 – McQueen endorses Picasso’s famous idea that “great artists steal”. Influences which can also be seen in McQueen’s pieces are Banksy, whose trademark rat occasionally appears instead of McQueen’s famous top-hatted monkey on the work, and Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings are echoed in pieces such as ‘It Is What It Is’. And like Warhol, McQueen celebrates everyday items and makes them monumental and impressive.
James McQueen is a British artist who works between London and New York, and his technique involves layering the canvas with an abundant application of paint in many colours and shades. Once dry, he sands the work down so that a multitude of layers are visible in the finished piece. Finally, the surface is covered with lacquer to add extra richness and vibrancy.
Consequently, these paintings are as much about paint and colour as they are about the Penguin covers. The visible layering of paint creates a sense of depth and dynamism which, combined with the complex interaction between colours, shares affinities with the Abstract Expressionists, particularly Mark Rothko. McQueen’s artistic methods include the use of spray paint which gives the pieces a contemporary, graffiti-influenced feel and urban edge.
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