I’m S James and I’m a contemporary artist,
born in London in 1980. I moved to Brighton in 2008
because I like being by the sea.

I think that the viewer should have as much control over the story behind an artwork as the artist does. On the surface, many of my paintings might seem like traditional, contemporary portraits, but there is always something more going on – a certain mood, a curiosity, a subversiveness – all for the viewer to discover.

Drama and horror are important themes for me. Since I began creating, in early childhood, I have wanted to get a reaction from my work, and in recent years I have used colour and size (large and small) to achieve this, pushing what’s expected and being playful with it.

For me, being an artist is about connecting with other humans and clearing the mind, even more so in recent years. The act of painting brings me a sense of freedom and hope, and this is the reason I continue to create.


Brighton-based contemporary painter, S James is best known for her unique portraits and subversive themes, using a surreal and neo-expressionist style. Inspired by horror and colour (two of her favourite things) she creates work that is both playful and curious, using mainly acrylic paint on canvas, wood, and clay.