Exhibiting in Shape Gallery has opened doors for artist James Lake. In this post, James talks to Shape about the new commission this resulted in, and the unconventional medium that has become his signature.

James Lake Butler sculptureHow does the new commission (image right) relate to or depart from your previous pieces?

I have retained my working process of cardboard sculpture, and to this effect it retains my identity within the mark-making techniques I employ in my work. However, it is a commission piece, so I have been able to transfer this to a commercial arena.


What was the process of creating this commission like – did you face any particular challenges?

It was a known process, but as a strict commercial commission, it had a set of requirements and criteria that I had to fulfil, such as time constraints.


How has working with Shape affected your career as an artist?

Shape has given me the opportunity to exhibit work, and Shape have looked after work on my behalf for a number of years and exhibited these as opportunities have arisen. As a result of someone viewing my work (‘Sitting without Purpose’) at Shape Gallery in Westfield shopping centre, I was contacted and approached to do the current commission.


How would you like people to respond to your art?

I don’t want to dictate directly how people respond, but I want people to be aware of the medium/material that I work with to create the sculptures, and I hope they would ask interesting questions about how we value artistic endeavour.


What role do considerations of accessibility play in your works and artistic practice?

I work with the medium of cardboard as this is the most accessible medium for me; it’s low cost, doesn’t require a studio or specialist equipment and I can work on it in sections. All of this means I can overcome mobility issues that would otherwise mean that working on this large scale would be difficult to achieve.


What direction do you see your work taking next?

Obviously I’d like to undertake more commissions as well as continue my work in schools/other settings. I normally work to briefs rather than specific themes, whilst retaining the method/medium that’s part of my creative identity.


Find out more about Shape Gallery and how to visit here.

Banner image: James Lake 'Sitting Without Purpose'
Inset image: James Lake, new commission