Jamie Chapman lives in Weston-super-Mare and graduated with a BA from Weston College in the summer of 2017 following a two-year Foundation Diploma. He was awarded Creative Arts Higher Education Student of the Year 2017. He has an artistic soul; naturally finding beauty in the urban environment of Peckham, South London where he grew up. Camberwell College was at the end of his road and gave him a dream of studying art, which took a couple of decades to become a reality. In the meantime, employment on building sites involved practical work with metal, fasteners, plaster etc. Hospital ducting for instance needed to be clean and dust-free for its functional purpose, but new structures like that don’t have the same potential which Jamie sees in ugly, decayed, dirty, rusted objects and buildings. Things which are discarded or overlooked by most people; things which are part of, but get lost in, urban environments have meaning for Jamie. He is interested in how to give them a window, an audience, a different context; to somehow allow them to be seen as things of beauty in their own right.
He started using materials in his artwork which were waste or ready to be recycled, and materials which could rust or otherwise change their appearance and form in a chemical way. He found rusted incinerator dustbins down an alley at the back of someone’s house they had thrown away. He felt they needed to be given a different context as part of his artwork and had the idea of entering a finished piece to the Royal Academy Summer Show. It was accepted and got through the first and second round of the selection process. His work has also been exhibited through the Longford Trust in Church House, Westminster.
He has experimented with soaking nails in different solutions like salt water, lemon juice and coca cola. Salt water produced a warm autumnal colour which he chose to work with further. He uses whatever scale seems appropriate and has no apprehensions about making larger work. He has an intuitive and confident way of working with materials, allowing them to retain their natural appearance and properties, often intervening just enough to push them or combine them or change them or form them in ways which result as art. It is an interactive process in which he observes and learns from what is happening as he works. Huge canvases covered in white plaster combined with nails rusting into its water content create uniquely beautiful and poetic works which approach imagery but remain being the raw materials which make them up. Rusting metal cubes piled on top of each other are open to interpretation. They could be a representation of city tower blocks but there is no literal meaning. His experimental approach has led him to make prints from the rust on metal plates and from dead leaves, to stitch bark onto paper and to make films. Ideas run parallel with experimentation and sometimes cross over in his work. These can be new ideas for minimalist work or more subject or pictorially based.