James Bouché is an artist living and working in Baltimore, Maryland. We visited him at his studio in Baltimore. We were fans of his work before the visit. He produces commanding and ominous objects that accentuate texture, form, and negative space, in addition to being a bold exploration of material. We were excited to learn that he finds inspiration in death metal typography, bondage pants, and “The Lord of The Rings.”
What is your relationship with color?
I admittedly don't have a strong connection to color. I'm colorblind and I think that, growing up, instead of getting frustrated I learned to not really take notice. I generally don't remember objects by their colors.
As a colorblind person how do you differentiate between the various nuances of colors? What draws you towards the monochrome black, white, greys and the bright blue? Is it a specific shade that you use?
Working in black and white comes really naturally to me. I think that what I lack with tonal sensitivity, my eyes make up with understanding value. I heard once that colorblind artists generally gravitate toward printmaking and sculpture and I feel that. Only recently have I started thinking about using color. I think that black/grey became too much of crutch for me and I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little. Just one color at a time though. Blue just seemed like a good place to start and I think red will be next. When picking the shade I've been asking friends to find me the most basic "blue" they can. I know a color expert would say that's impossible but for right now it's fine. Just getting my feet wet.
You use very "masculine" materials such as concrete, chains, sportswear, etc...what is your relationship with this materials and your draw to working with them?
Actually, I wouldn't describe my work as "masculine". I understand the associations but I don't like assigning a gender to objects and materials. I think "aggressive" or "dominating" are words that can sometimes be used when people talk about traditional ideas of masculinity. To be honest I spend just as much time at Joann Fabrics as I do Home Depot. I like that relationship and I like that employees from both stores have no idea what I'm talking about when I try to describe what I'm doing.
What are the themes that you embrace most?
Is Magic the Gathering a theme? Lord of the Rings?
Absolutely! In your print work how do you choose the forms that appear in your images?
A lot of my print work is from college and during that time I developed a style of drawing that heavily referenced architecture and drafting. The images were mostly just simple shapes but I think what people appreciated most was the focus on craft. Even with my current work, I like to get comfortable enough with a material to come up with "tricks" to make people second guess the process.
Does architecture play an important role in your work? You have such an astute sense of space!
Thank you haha. Architecture has and will probably always play a big part in my work. In the past it's been mostly representational but I currently try to treat space as a medium. I really enjoy the process of building and like controlling the way my work is looked at. Creating architecture is such a subtly aggressive act.
What are the upcoming pieces that you are working on and what can we expect in the future?
I'm working on some collaborative projects right now and lining up a couple shows in the fall. Too early to say too much though ;)
Who would you want to collaborate with if given the chance?
Right now, Robert Morris.
What music are you listening to right now?
LeAnn Rimes, My Chemical Romance, Celine Dion