James Cocks

James Cocks

As a visual artist, my practice is multidisciplinary, taking the form of installations, large-scale fabric hangings, costumes, performances and video work, that focus on the adaptability of textiles. I am interested in how it can be both omnipresent yet also be forgotten, and how the purpose of fabric can change in how its material qualities are used, and the context into which it is placed.

In recent years, I have referenced the form of banners, flags and tapestries to explore not only ideas of family, identity, and community, but also how it can be used in a socially engaged manner. As a Cardiff-based artist, I have created such pieces to respond to key issues and events within the city, like the Cardiff Without Culture march in Feb 2016, Made in Spring’s Red Routes in 2015 & 16, and most recently with the Flags of Roath project made specifically for Made in Roath in October 2016. I am the Diffusion 2017 Volunteer Coordinator for Ffotogallery in Cardiff, and a presenter on the arts and culture programme Pitch Illustration Radio for Radio Cardiff on Thursdays 7-8pm.  In addition, I am a studio holder at Spit and Sawdust and a former Warp Intern at g39. 

Latest Posts

14.11.2017 / Remember your present  →

After the night's stormand in the clear present light,the marbled floor shines. 

[read more…]

12.11.2017 / What its all about...  →

Elderly Belgian couple listen to the entire sound piece and watch the whole film. It reminds them of their time during WW2. They recount how they were forced to relocate from Belgium to the UK to avoid the Nazis. It's how they first met. They thanked us for such a powerful exhibition and the memories it evoked. 

[read more…]

10.11.2017 / The Art Olympics  →

Before I left: "What are you going to do in Venice for a month?".                                    A common question from friends, family, and colleagues not accustomed to the 'funny world of the art world'. "I'm working at the Venice Biennale".                                                               Followed by a detailed and comprehensive description of the event.A confused look or a too eager nodding of the head usually follows. After repeating this conversation a few times, I settled on a fool-proof response. "I'm working at the Venice Biennale. It's like the Art Olympics".          No detailed and comprehensive explanation needed. It is understood.  I wondered why this was so that an art festival with a similar length of history as the modern Olympic games (the first Biennale was held in 1895 and the first modern Olympics was held in 1896) in its own right is needs so much explanation. Yet when compared or referred to as the Art Olympics, its understood. I wondered if this was because of the level of funding and media interest in the Olympics that the Biennale does not have, which leads to a wide-spread knowledge of the event in the public consciousness.  After arriving Once arriving here, I realised there was more to this 'Art Olympics' that I previously thought. The weight of history and the politics that plays out at the Olympic Games plays out here, with national pavilions jockeying for position and prominence. Also, there is a multitude of conversations based solely on the pavilions and not the artists.  "What did you think of Germany? or Ireland?" or "Have you seen Finland yet and don't you think it's weird that they are also in the Scandinavian Pavilion?' and "I wonder what the Catalan show thinks of the Spanish Pavilion?" I now wonder when the Biennale will be introducing an opening ceremony, the Biennale Torch, flag parade, national anthems, and international boycotts.  

[read more…]

08.11.2017 / A nod yes, but never a wink..  →

A wink  -  never use (unless winked at maybe).'Salve'        -  yet to use.                       -  will use today. 'Ciao'                -  a safe choice (probably the safest).                              -  not time specific.'Hello'                     -  either used mistakenly or in response to a 'hello'.'Buongiorno'            -  used too much. Remember it is time specific.                                          -  Use 'buon pomeriggio' for the afternoon and 'buonasera' for the evening.A nod  -  Universal. 

[read more…]

08.11.2017 / an incomplete chorus  →

an incomplete chorus                                         corws anghyflawn                                 un coro incompleto of 16 voices why a sweet 16?                        such a small number                                            out of an active 88 and a total of 139   why deny a harmony of 88?                   why not revive a chorus of 139?   are your voices sweeter?            more unique?                                                                                                                                                                                      have the others left?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  have they forgotten their voices                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    or have they broken? I wonder about                                                                                                                                                                                  this incomplete chorus               separated by distance                  and made up                                                                                                                             of different petals from different flowers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     some budding and some wilting   do your petals float down the canals and join in harmony?   ................................................................................................ Some notes: 139 churches across the city's 7 sections and surrounding islands.  133 (96%) are Catholic.The other 6 are used by other denominations. This are: Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Presbyterian, Armenian, and Russian Orthodox. 88 of the 139 are active, meaning they practice Mass at least once a week.The remaining 51 has been deconsecrated and or converted. Things they have been converted to are: schools, community buildings, and storage facilities. 16 of them are operated by the Chorus Association.                               

[read more…]

04.11.2017 / room togetherness - making the place your own  →

consider room togetherness and remember your ability to make a place your own remember the little things                                          your little things getting your house in ordermaking a meal from scratcharranging the room the way you want itcleaning the desk                                                              your new deskmaking it your ownputting a chair under it                                                 your new chair carve a little place for yourself             and              just be ................................................................................................ Settling in here now.  

[read more…]

04.11.2017 / My name is James, but I'm not James Richards  →

'Are you the artist?' 'No sorry, my name is James, but I'm not James Richards' Followed then by a smile or a perplexed look or a laugh. Sometimes all three.  On and off, this is followed by a conversation (hopefully). It's up to them. A few great conversations have started this way.  

[read more…]

Project

The Wales in Venice opportunity will continue to develop my skills within the gallery by gaining important experience within an international setting. I have worked/volunteered and shown in community or regional art organisations, but never internationally, so the opportunity is invaluable in understanding what is needed to work within this wider context. 

The opportunity will equally benefit my practice as I will use it to take my thematic concerns into a new context. I have not previously been to the city but, during my recent research, several questions and areas of focus came forward. What the dynamic is between the city’s past, its people and those who that come to discover it? How does that mix reflect on the experience of being there? As I make work about marches and procession, I wonder how one navigates the city? And what are the daily ‘rituals’ and ‘processions’ that happen within the city? Also, how do Venice’s own rituals and traditions, like for example the Carnevale di Venezia (Carnival of Venice), relate to the modern world and the work in the Biennale? It is these sorts of questions that I will respond to whilst in Venice, alongside continuing my ongoing research into textiles by visiting such places like the Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo, which is a museum of fabrics and costume in Venice.