Have string, will travel…

Over the last few weeks I’ve been touring a few Art Fairs, mainly with the ‘Your Words:Your Pictures’ portrait series. The most important lesson I’ve learnt is that, when attending an outdoor event, take string.

A particularly windy day in Lincoln would have been impossible to continue at without what became a serious feat of structural engineering [right]. The force exerted by a metre high print when it catches the wind is incredible, and when said print is thrown into the air and onto the unsuspecting artist’s head then, well…if I hadn’t used perspex for the framing instead of glass then I might now be quite a lot shorter than when I began the day.

At this point, the string, hastily dropped into my bag that morning as an afterthought was put to good effect. Crisis averted, the buskers were great, I met some very nice people, and in the quiet parts of the day I learned that, after string, the second most important thing you can take to an art fair is a chair.






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A New Public Art Commission

I’ve been commissioned by the Bullring to produce a piece of artwork which will be on view in the centre of Birmingham for the next six months!

The St Martin’s Square area at Bullring is currently undergoing a transformation as building begins on a development to bring new restaurants to the centre. Bullring have taken the opportunity to do something a bit different with the hoardings surrounding the building site – effectively turning them into a blank canvas.

I can’t reveal too much about the final piece, as it’s all under wraps until the grand unveiling in St Martin’s Square on the 20th April but the process has involved a couple of weekends interviewing passers by in the city centre. I’ve learnt about the power of clipboards to inspire fear in those I’ve approached, but more importantly I’ve found a huge breadth of experience, thought and feeling in the people who did, kindly, take a minute to stop and chat.

The whole process has been a catalyst for me to push the boundaries of some unique techniques for image making. The core idea in the piece is one which I can’t wait to develop further. There will be more…

From Bullring directly:


“Locally exhibited artist Tom Tebby and We Are Birmingham’s Matt Murtagh will have their creations showcased on the hoardings, which will remain in place for much of the build. Joining them is James Thomson who has adopted an original technique, which allows Bullring’s shoppers to become a part of the art.”


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Prints from the ‘Birmingham Characters’ series are now being stocked at the We Are Birmingham shop in Dale End, Birmingham. What appears, from a short distance away, to be a photographic portrait resolves into discreet words as you look more closely. The prints really have to be seen in person, but here’s a sample which might convey the overall effect (this is from a 70cmx100cm print of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi):

Of course, this is applicable to any photographic portrait, and I’ll be taking commissions soon so get in touch at james.s.thomson@googlemail.com.

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We Are Birmingham

Over the last three months I’ve been involved with establishing We Are Birmingham, a shop intended to create a sustainable outlet for local artists and creatives in Birmingham to sell their works.

We opened on 13th November, to a hugely positive response, and the shop now looks rather nice:

I’m stocking a few items there, including Sketch Country prints, and the rapid-prototyping bowls:

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Metro Re:Create

I’ve just recevied news that the Paper Project has won first prize at the Metro ReCreate design awards.  The judges moved my installation from the art to the design category – which is of course open to all kinds of discussion! More information on the Paper Project can be found at the link above…

The timber arch on the left is an installation from Glenn Howells Architects, and well worth a look at its new home on the ground floor of their offices in Digbeth…

The photo that convinced the judges

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Paper Project

I’ve been leading a project in Birmingham to use recycled materials in creative ways, more here:


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Refine and develop

I’ve been refining and developing the use of the ‘waffle’ type cosntruction, exploring a wider range of applications – a new table concept shown below:


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