James Stockwell Vaulkhard is is a london-based fine artist whose practice spans everything from classical portraiture to abstraction and collage, and his recent debut solo show at UNit london led to him being touted by gentleman's journal as 'one-to-watch' in 2018. Given the increasing level of excitement that surrounds his work, it is unsurprising that his ongoing series of collage portraits of controversial icons such as muhammed ali and donald trump are fast becoming must-have prints among his collectors. While the pop-art nature of The collages is something of a departure from the more classically-inspired paintings and sculptures he is know for, all of them are incredibly intricately crafted, and employ many of the techniques and attention to detail that were instilled in him via a classical training in Florence. here, the most recent LCD ambassador tells us why the best first dates always begin in museums, and explains why those who don't learn from history are always doomed to repeat it.

If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which ONE would it be ?

I wish, that I could have been the first discarded chip of marble in the creation of the Laocoon, like the prisoner that Michelangelo created, held captive, present, but not a part of the genius. 

How do you believe museums will impact future cities?

I think the best first date starts with a painting, where better than a museum. I always have thought that and call me old school but I think I always will. Although re reading that makes me self-conscious, so who knows really, actually I stand by it, it all starts with life imitating art.

Who do you think are the cultural innovators of tomorrow?

I recently watched an interview with Martin Scorsese, who said something I thought was interesting, ‘There is no such thing as an original shot.’ Upon hearing that I was touched by it, I took from him, the thought that in the artistic environment of film originality of frame, of shot, of setup has been done before, it’s the re-framing, the re-shooting, the new setup that allows modernity to respect history that provides the motivation which I endeavour to do in my work Who do I look to? ‘Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ Let’s hope so when it comes to art.

Who inspires you?

After my last exhibition at Unit London, my father inconsequentially banged his knee on a wheel barrow, laugh as you might, it cost him 6 months in hospital, with the brilliant staff at UCLH. Two positive things came from that, one my father who loves institutions, and through treatment enjoyed his institutionalisation enormously, and two, without sounding pithy, intonation on page forgiving, it made me readdress my relationships, with family, with friends, through cities, spanning continents, and made me crave to hold them in my hands. So, no person, not one nurse, doctor, brother, mother, but all who allowed me to be with the ones I love and in turn how they have been there for me on this exciting yet intrepid journey. 

What are you up to at the moment? 

In between painting private commissions from my studio in Barons Court, I’m still building my collage series. I’ve started to introduce landscape and some surreal work as well as the portraits. They demand a huge amount of time and concentration so the plan is to create 30 or 40 and then put the series to bed, which may take a few years. I’d like to create a coffee table book of them at some point.