James Scott is a Los Angeles based artist trained in England who has been living in Los Angeles since 1990. He studied at the Slade School in London when the cutting-edge Slade was one of the hotbeds of an English artistic explosion. Trained in theater design as well as painting, and adept early on in filmmaking (he began his cinematic career producing documentaries, including several about artists), Scott cultivated multiple visual/manual skills. After a career in films including the Academy Award winning "A Shocking Accident" based on a story by Graham Greene, he returned to painting, drawing and print-making. Scott's figural work, with its raw passions expressed in an almost incongruously insouciant manner, ups the ante on `80s neo-expressionism, bringing its conceits more in line with the biting caricatures and bitter complaints of a George Grosz. With these often ribald pictures Scott depicts a comically venal contemporary world, the world that has presented itself to him (indeed, at him) since he came to live and work in that most craven of all milieux, Hollywood.
James Scott in these paintings gives vivid expression to the horror that L.A.'s critics have long perceived there. This "bright guilty place," as Orson Welles called it, was described in the 1930s by the writer Morrow Mayo as an "artificial city pumped up under forced draught...[it] heaves and stains, sweats and becomes pop-eyed like a young boa constrictor trying to swallow a goat." Most succinct is John Rechy: "you can rot here without feeling it." The rot that James Scott discovers is a form of rot that paradoxically announces itself in images of health, youth, beauty, and plenty.
Distinguishing between authentic ‘personal art' (which hinges on the maker's ‘imagination') and power-seeking ‘trophy art' (a marketplace commodity which amounts to ‘the gold-plated turd'), Scott has probed the boundaries of his painting so that it periodically swings back and forth from one mood and mode to another. In this oscillation, the limits of any particular direction in Scott's trajectory tend to segue into the opposing conditions of the next, rather like the antithetical yet conjoined parts of a yin-yang symbol.
He is now preparing the presentation of a series of paintings (2008-2009) entitled, "A Flock of Birds".