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Jim Starr studied at the Chelsea College of Art, and completed his degree at Kingston University. Having been based in London and Bristol, Starr feels he is an urban artist who is enduringly drawn back to the natural world, as he now lives and works in a remote corner of Exmoor National Park, close to his cherished birds. Starr’s obsession with drawing and painting birds started early, and he has always painted them during a 25-year career. As a child on the Somerset levels he would search for Marsh Harriers. Family holidays took him to Norfolk for avocets, Scotland for ospreys, and Cornwall for migrants and rarities. These early adventures in bird observation and painting led to later roles as Expedition Artist in the US, Svalbard, Lesotho, and Iceland. He has also sketched and studied birds on trips to the Pakistan Himalayas, the Gambia, Tanzania, Norway, and the Canaries. ‘I joined the RSPB and junior bird clubs at the age of seven. I devoured every guide and reference book I could get my hands on, from Audubon and Peterson to Tunnicliffe and Thorburn’. Even today, Starr spends a significant proportion of his time searching for his feathered friends in the field, whether that be British, European, African or American subjects. He is always excited about the next discovery, enthralled by their variety and beauty, but also frustrated with their ability to just take off and vanish into the closest thicket or just over the horizon.
The artist comments, ‘I am attempting to elevate and transform birds into Iconic subjects. I am experimenting with scale, composition, cropping and a more painterly technique to produce powerful and contemporary portraits of birds.’ Ever aware of man’s impact on the natural environment, Starr comments, ‘I continue to seek a deeper connection with nature and share my interest to foster a better appreciation of the birds around us.’ It is Starr’s background and artistic journey that gives the work a uniquely fresh appeal, and although he also produces illustrations and specialises in printmaking, the artist always returns to mixing his classic brushwork with contemporary & street influences to produce his largescale canvas studies. Starr’s experimentation with pop and urban art has seen him exhibited alongside Banksy, Damian Hirst and Basquiat, which has given his work a unique and distinctive flourish and pedigree. His most high-profile shows have been in Paris and New York, but he has also exhibited in Chicago, Palm Beach, Venice, Rome, Singapore and Tokyo, and most recently at the Chengdu Museum in China with BVLGARI. His current series of paintings is the 'AVIFAUNA' collection, recently seen at the Coningsby Gallery in Bloomsbury. ‘I have thousands of ideas for paintings – there are 10,700 species of bird, after all – and I want to bring my pop and urban art inspirations to depict the birds as powerful, contemporary images.’
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