For more than three decades James Milroy has painted in every kind of genre – portraiture, landscape, still life and even abstraction – but he keeps returning to his favourite subject, the human crowd. In the summer of 2011 he had a major retrospective at Salford Art Gallery of 60 of his crowd paintings which was seen by over 25,000 visitors...
Comparisons have been made with L S Lowry but in contrast to the painter of industrial poverty Milroy likes his paintings to be packed with people enjoying a wide variety of activities. From sports such as marathon running and cycling to more everyday activities like shopping, sunbathing and working in factories and call centres, the artist’s aim is to represent contemporary society in all it’s diversity...
Increasingly Milroy’s paintings have included caricatures of real people, especially in his Painters Painting
collection which shows crowds of artists painting their iconic works. In July 2012 he was selected by the BBC to paint the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and this lead to his interest in painting the Royal family in various humorous situations. He also painted a picture for the Marine Society which is being used to raise funds for a new flagship for the Sea Cadets...
Milroy describes his recent work as ‘multi-portraits’ - where interesting individuals come together to form a lively, colourful composition. They are also what used to be known as ‘conversation pieces’ – some of them even have a puzzle element which involves guessing who all the characters are, and the artist often includes himself hidden in the paintings. Unsurprisingly, several of his paintings are now published as a range of jigsaw puzzles by Jumbo Games Ltd...
With so much detail there is always something new to be discovered in Milroy’s paintings and the artist is very open to suggestions for new crowd scenes and commissions for group portraits...
1976-77 Foundation Course, Kingston University
1977-80 BA Degree: Fine Art, University of Brighton
1986-87 PGCE, Middlesex University
1996-98 MA Fine Art & Media, University of Gloucestershire
1977 Foundation show, Kingston
1980 Degree show, Brighton
1984 The 1984 Show, Brixton Art Gallery
1989 Cotswold Connections, Red Herring Gallery, Brighton
1991 Clay Bodies, Workshop Gallery, Chepstow
1992 Melksham Court, Stinchcombe
1992 National Garden Festival, Ebbw Vale
1993 International Garden festival, Stuttgart
1995 One From the Heart, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
1997 Interim MA Show, University of Gloucestershire
1998 MA Show, University of Gloucestershire
1999 Ida Branson Bequest, Atkinson Gallery, Street
2004 GANET show, Guildhall Arts Centre, Gloucester
2005 Nailsworth Festival, Gloucestershire
2006 Open Studios, Oxford Artweeks
2007 Venice, Fusion Gallery, Wotton-u-Edge
2009 ByLocal, Regency Arcade, Cheltenham
2010 Firenzia, Fusion Gallery
2010 Oxford Artweeks
2010 Cotswold Craftsmen, Nailsworth
2011 Northern Sights, Fusion Gallery, Wotton-u-Edge
2011 Oxford Artweeks
2012 The Jam Factory, Oxford
2012 'Active Art' Abingdon Leisure Centre
1983 CND Bookshop, Finsbury Park, London
1985 Foxes Wine Bar, Stoke Newington, London
1985 Clissold Swimming Pool, Stoke Newington
1986 Housing Office, Stamford Hill, London
1986 St Leonard’s Hospital, Hackney, London
1987 North Street Potters, Clapham, London
1988 Showcase Exhibition, Prema Arts Centre, Uley, Gloucestershire
1993 Prema Arts Centre
2010 Guildhall Arts Centre
2010 The Lion Gallery, Leominster
2011 Salford Art Gallery & Museum
2013 The Acorn Gallery, Pocklington
Paintings, prints and cards selling in shops and galleries throughout UK - see Links section.