United Kingdom

James Hudson



James Hudson (b. 1970) is an artist working primarily on fictional projects that combine 
unposed B&W photographs, text & collage. In the late 80’s/early 90's, he worked as a BMX rider, some of his appearances include the Paul Daniels Magic show & in the Gt. Yarmouth Hippodrome and Blackpool Tower & Krone circuses. His career developed into a Skateboard & BMX photographer and then moved into magazine publishing & digital media production in the late 1990s. He relocated to Oslo in 2001 & became a full-time freelance photographer. He then returned to the UK in 2006 and developed his personal practice and undertook an MA in Graphic Arts at the UWE & now based in South Wales.

His early personal work included photographic projects about the circus, skateparks, industry & vintage cars. In 2010-2011 he completed an artist residency at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford producing a book inspired by Ovid’s stories of Metamorphosis. He also documented a number of creative projects for Urbonas Studio, RWCMD, Peak Arts & others. Prints from his Last Days of the Abergavenny Livestock Market project were purchased by Monmouthshire Museums & his illustration of the poem London was included in Blackwells' ‘Inspired by Blake’ event in 2014. Work has been included in the Format & Diffusion festivals & a number of other exhibitions.

His practice recently developed to incorporating text & collage into sequences of unposed photographs. Work founded in documentary practice but then developed & presented back as fiction is now at the root of his practice. Chance encounters & the dérive are still key to his working process, history and literature often providing the thematic inspiration.

In 2019 he completed a postgrad in Graphic Arts at UWE related to how complex visual graphic narratives are read. As material for the investigation he developed Mary Wollstonecraft’s 1878 unfinished story ‘The Cave of Fancy’ into a new 300+ page photo-text novel.

He is currently completing a long term project about urban alienation, suicide & perceived terrorist threat titled Nothing To Worry About. In April 2019 he received a commission from Ffotogallery & the Welsh Assembly to participate in their ‘Many Voices, One Nation’ project which is now on show at the Senedd from 4th to 29th Sep 2019.


Volution/Semi-fictional Off-road Cycling

Volution is James Hudson's response to the 2019 Ffotogallery and Welsh Assembly Commission Many Voice, One Nation. He was one of the six artists to produce a body of work, using photographs and lens-based media, to mark the first 20 years of devolution in Wales. James' work is a semi-fictional account of an off-road bicycle journey from the historical Machynlleth Senedd, briefly established by Owain Glyndwr in the 1400s to the present day Senedd, Cardiff.

Ideas and material for the story have been created whilst cycling along the route, engaging in the physical environment and being open to chance encounters. This modern pilgrimage reminds people that there was a Senedd in Wales’ past and also celebrates Wales’ democratic history and progress. Cycling is a positive, inclusive activity and a key part of the Active Travel Act passed by the Senedd in 2013. Off-road cycling has both an interesting history in Wales and a growing future throughout the country - which is already considered one of the best places for off-road biking in the UK. As a work of graphic art fiction, as opposed to more straightforward documentation, the project aims to expose to new audiences the activity, history and value of both off-road cycling and the Senedd. 83 copies of books were printed, one for each mile between Machynlleth and Cardiff. The A5 book contains 3000 words and photomontages with the theme of revolution graphically expressed in many of the images and in the spiral binding. All photos were taken during May, June and July 2019. Copies of the book were sent to people whom James met during his journey.

After the Senedd showing, this work will be on tour to Aberystwyth Arts Centre (06/11/2019 - 06/01/2020), then to RedHouse in Merthyr (27/01/2020 - 24/02/2020) and Galeri Caernarfon (11/05/2020 - 06/06/2020).


The Cave of Fancy

Evolving an unfinished 18th-century story into a 21st-century photo-text novel.

In 1787, whilst living in Bristol, Mary Wollstonecraft began writing a story she titled ‘The Cave of Fancy’. She wrote three chapters but never finished the book. Her narrative explores themes of knowledge, death, spirits, duty and education. The environments she describes, although mythical, have their inspiration in Clifton Gorge and Leigh Woods.

James became aware of the story in 2016 and the project of continuing it became the subject of his MA in Graphic Arts at UWE. Visualising Wollstonecraft’s narrative and themes through new photographs of Bristol and evolving the story into a complete book being the aim. The design of the book was developed with a non-mimetic graphic strategy: images do not attempt to simply illustrate parts of the text, they are equal to it in terms of advancing the narrative. The gap between their respective structures reduced so they could start to be read as one form.

A number of semi-structured interviews were then conducted to gauge the success of the design and how people from different ages and reading backgrounds (i.e. primarily textual or primarily visual) would approach it. The research highlighted several issues that were addressed in the final version of the book. Overall conclusions suggest that although the design was frustrating at times, the extra effort and time required to decode multi-modal narrative does result in a richer experience.


Last Days of the Abergavenny Livestock Market

After 150 years on the same site, the final sale of cattle and sheep at Abergavenny Livestock Market took place on 10th December 2013. Monmouthshire County Council, which owned the site, sold it to the Morrisons supermarket chain and then opened a brand new livestock market nearby at Raglan.

James was commissioned by Monmouthshire Museums to document the final few weeks at the old site which was just around the corner from where he was living at the time.