Meet the model with a penchant for street art.

All clothing SCOTCH AND SODA

Do you want to start my telling me how you go scouted?

I actually didn’t get scouted. I started dating a girl in college who was modelling. I was super-shy. I think if someone scouted me I probably would’ve said no. Hanging out with her and going to castings with her I figured out it was not a bad way to make some money while you were studying so I got told through her agency to give it a go, and a couple of other people, so I made a list of London agencies to try out for and Models1 was the first one on my list!

Tell me a bit about what you have been up to since you started modelling.

It’s been about ten years or so! I’ve been up to a lot. I built up my book for about a year before university, so I was doing a lot of editorial and bits and pieces and when I started studying things started to get busy, I was travelling a lot more for work, which was great. I got to go to some amazing places!

You mention that you’d kind of been able to do some travelling as a result of modelling. What are your favourite places that you’ve been to and why?

I love New York, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in New York over the last seven [or] eight years. I try and go for a few months a year, I was there for about six last year and I love the city, I love being able to spend time there. Sydney is another place I’ve done quite well in. I was there a couple of winters ago, managed to skip the whole British winter and live on the beach, which was a real touch and I guess just other random opportunities that modelling gives you like I’m quite into sharks, I love great white sharks, and I had a client that used to book me in South Africa so every time I got the job I’d stay for another day and go cage diving, which is a real treat and then I had a job, a client booked me out of nowhere in LA and I don’t really work there much at all and it just so happened to be the week before Burning Man, so the next thing I know, I’m in the desert at Burning Man for a week, which is something I would have never been able to do.

Which leads perfectly on to my next question: what are the positives and negatives of working in this industry?

The positives are the variety, meeting so many different people, very talented people in so many different fields, really opens your eyes, getting to live in different places, see different places. The main positive I’d say really is you can earn a living without having to work five days a week, which gives you the luxury of free time to focus on other things you’re interested in, other passions or careers. Then the negatives, I think, especially with guys is you can be in this prolonged adolescence, you don’t really have to grow up, a lot of your friends and family think you are incredibly flaky because you never know what you’re doing ever. I’ve had to let so many people down at times for work.


You’re also a keen artist – tell us how you got involved with that.

Well, I always did art and then had a bad art teacher at college and quit in a sulk. When I was in Sydney, wanted to get back into art but I realised it wasn’t fun anymore so I needed to find a way to make it fun and then, while I was working in Sydney, living on Bonsai Beach, they had these amazing murals on the beach front and I thought that could be a way to make it fun again and there was a plaque saying if you want to do one of these call the council. I did, got a wall, loved it, the feedback was really positive and it was really fun because I love painting big, every line’s permanent and you’ve got a time limit which forces you to actually finish what you start and then [I] just really liked it. When I was in New York last year I had a couple of commissions for some bars over there and since then I’ve done a lot here in London, another one in New York and I’m actually flying next week to do another one in New York again so um, I don’t know, I just finally got back into it. For years I did nothing and wanted to get back into it, I just needed to find a way to make it fun again, so yeah painting murals has just been a lot of fun.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I’d say it’s kind of pop art, illustration meets kind of doodles and patterns. I had an American art teacher [who] came to my school, when I was about seven, eight-years-old and he showed me Keith Haring and I just fell in love with Keith Haring’s stuff and really loved the bold outlines and strong, like playful characters. I mean that was a huge influence from a young age and so I try and do that fun, character based stuff.

My final question, what are you kind of hoping to achieve in the future, both in modelling and in art?

Well, I feel like I’m very lucky to have been able to support myself and do this job as long as I have so I’ve done a lot with modelling I’m very grateful. I feel like I’m just getting back into my art. I hope that I’m able to do this job long enough so I can support myself in the early days of doing art so that I can build up my artwork. You know, it’s hard to make a living out of art so I’m lucky that I can support myself with modelling and invest so much time, at the same time, into my art. With art, I want to do more and more and get better and better and with modelling, I hope I can continue to be lucky enough to do it!


You can follow James on Instagram here and click here to view his website.
James is represented by Models1.

Bartek Szmigulski
Kamran Rajput
Alex James

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