Rowan James

  • Alumni, 2002


Rowan studied for his BA at Glasgow School of Art, 1994 -1997. He has won various scholarships and awards, including the RSA John Kinross Memorial Scholarship, the Julia Gompertz scholarship and the 'Arts Club Excellence in Drawing Award'. In 2007, Rowan had a solo show at Ewan Mundy Fine Art, and he regularly exhibits in the London art fairs with Ewan Mundy. Rowan’s paintings and drawings are in the Royal Collection, the Royal Scottish Academy, and private collections around the world.

On drawing

Whilst teaching, I view mark making as highly personal, revealing the sometimes intimate looking journey a student has traveled. So I hold each mark from a human being as a potentially precious statement about them and their experience. In a life room, I will always encourage honest marks, which are an immediate expression of their experience, linked closely to what is in front of them, as opposed to a stylised disconnected mark, one which feels to me like an affectation. Drawing is a discipline which opens my sight to the things around me, where colours and shapes become vivid, and I am dragged by that discipline into the moment, stepping away from my noisy thoughts into a brief rest, like the orthodox Jesus prayer. The process of stroking a surface or a colour with charcoal, feels like a probing of the essence of something, and for me is cathartic and healing. So however painful, if persevered at drawing from life is a great thing, like having a shower. Drawing also allows me to clothe and enter a credible world where my imagination can come alive, as light and form are investigated. I still have an uneasy relationship between my painting and drawing practices, but at best, my brush strokes take on the fluidity and sensitivity of charcoal.

Rowan James