James Bullough

James Bullough is an American born artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. His paintings, and huge monumentally scaled site-specific murals, are phenomenal combinations of realist painting technique and graphic punctuation. Inspired by gritty urban graffiti as a young artist growing up in Washington, DC, Bullough harnessed its energy in his work, and perfected a […]

Biography / James Bullough

James Bullough is an American born artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. His paintings, and huge monumentally scaled site-specific murals, are phenomenal combinations of realist painting technique and graphic punctuation. Inspired by gritty urban graffiti as a young artist growing up in Washington, DC, Bullough harnessed its energy in his work, and perfected a realistic oil painting technique from his study of the Old Masters. Combining the momentum of the one and the technical precision of the other, his work is about staging compelling contrasts and juxtapositions. Working in everything from oil, spray paint and ink on canvas, Bullough’s paintings strike a balance between realistic figurations and stylized interruption. Disjointing the realistic elements with graphic areas and fractured or striated planes, Bullough intends to challenge the viewer’s perception. (credit by Marieke Treilhard)

As a child growing up in the suburbs of Washington DC, James was enamored with the edgy, “in your face” graffiti art that he saw through the windows of the DC subway. In his teens he began sketching and eventually devouring anything he could find with even a hint of graffiti inspirited imagery on it. As he began feeling the need to make art of his own, it was no surprise that this was the type of imagery that came naturally to him. His obsessive graffiti sketches and graphic paintings eventually gave way to a new interest in realism and oil painting. He began studying the techniques of the Dutch Masters and painting highly rendered oil paintings of contemporary imagery.

“In my current body of work I explore the balance between these contrasting styles. Graphic graffiti inspired elements are met with intensely realistic images. Contemporary street art techniques and materials collide with those of a realist oil painter.”

Since moving from the US in 2010 to Berlin Germany, Bullough finds himself reaching more and more for the spray can rather than the paintbrush. His seamless transition from photorealistic oil paintings to photorealistic spray-paint murals has gained a lot of attention. In 2011 he co-founded the painting collective JBAK with fellow American born/Berlin based artists Addison Karl. Together the duo has been creating quite a bit of buzz with their various projects and large-scale murals throughout Germany and America.