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Q&A with visual artist James Paddock

Since joining the Digital Arts Programme Eastleigh earlier this year, James Paddock has featured in Average Art magazine, shown his debut video piece ‘Thanks!’ at the Eastleigh Film Festival and will exhibit his work at two London shows over the next two months.

James Hibberd caught up with him to find out how his experience at Tec Hub has been so far:

JH: Hi James, so can you tell me a little more about the recent exhibitions you’ve been chosen for?

JP: It’s always a bit of a surprise what you get selected for, sometimes you think that you’ve definitely been selected for something and it doesn’t happen, but this time it was a much more positive surprise! I really appreciate being selected for the National Open Art Exhibition in London, because I’ve been wanting to do more in London, and the exhibition comes at a perfect time for me. I applied for two London shows, the other being Bad Behaviour at Brixton East Gallery, so it was fantastic to be successful in both applications.

JH: How does it feel to have your work recognised in this way?

JP: It feels great, it’s nice to be appreciated and to have people say that they like your work. It’s especially flattering to be exhibited nationally and in London, and it has given me confidence that I don’t have to move out of Eastleigh in order to be recognised. In the digital age, I can work in this region and pop up to London on the train in the evening, so I’m very pleased about that. I was worried that I would have to move to London for that to happen at one stage, but I feel comfortable here now.paddock-who-would-have-thought-it-2015-30x42x3cm

JH: After becoming an associate here at Tec Hub, do you now feel more engaged with Eastleigh’s creative community?

JP: Yes, definitely so; even though I live on the outskirts of the borough, I’ve learnt so much more about what’s happening here and I feel confident with the support of Cheryl Butler and the Digital Arts Programme team. The agenda that is being put forward is incredible, and there is a really positive connection between all the hubs. The artists in the region are so positive about the future and I feel like Eastleigh is a good place to be right now.

JH: How have you personally interacted with the creative community?

JP: I often do video or still photography work, and rather than using models I’ve been using actors and actresses in the pieces, so it’s great to know that I can work with such talented performers in the Eastleigh borough. The logistics of bringing in an actor from London would be a nightmare for me, so it’s lovely to be able to work with actors in the region. I have met a couple of actors through the Creative Conversations events, and I am also planning to hold auditions for the next installation I want to do, so being able to work closely with The Point Youth Theatre is just perfect for me. The Creative Conversations evenings have allowed me to meet people from all walks of life and types of creative industries, and it’s great to know that these people are around.

james-paddock-taken-out-1JH: How has the support of the Digital Arts Programme helped you so far?

JP: Making connections in the area is brilliant, and working around people who work with digital is important because knowledge rubs off on you all the time and you learn more about new technologies and what’s possible or not possible. Another important thing for me was learning about grant applications, and I have now made the first step towards applying for Arts Council funding. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to Bristol for a day at the BBC Academy, which was really eye-opening and informative, despite not being in exactly the same field as my own work. It was great to be around successful people who have been making their way using digital technologies, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

JH: What else are you working on at the moment?

JP: If I am successful with my Arts Council application, I will be working on my next two installations in the Production House at The Sorting Office over a three-week period, opening it up to the public for the last six days, where I will also lead a workshop for people with mental health issues, and give a talk on my work. I have always been interested in presenting conceptual and contemporary art in layman’s terms, and the installations that I want to create will take a gritty look at everyday life in Britain, working on several levels.

James’ works ‘Who would have thought it?’ and ‘Taken out’ are currently on exhibit as part of the Bad Behaviour Open 2016 at Brixton East until 19th October. ‘Thanks!’ will be shown at the National Open Art Exhibition in Mercers’ Hall from 27th October – 4th November.

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