Artist in Focus: John Charles

dot-art is once again taking a peek into the world of one of our artist members and this month, you can discover more about our featured artist John Charles. John is an artist born and raised in Kirkby, Liverpool who discovered art at an early age, and yet having faced some challenges with mental health and recovering from addiction, has now returned to a successful career as an artist, developing his own bold and vibrant style.

Palm House by John Charles

Which medium do you work with? What do you like about it specifically?

I work in acrylics. The main reason is because it dries rapidly fast, which allows me to add more and more layers at a fast pace. I don’t like to wait around when it comes to painting, I paint with a lot of energy and passion and acrylics are perfect for that.

Describe your style of art.

I’m not sure I really fit into a category of art. It’s messy, but a beautiful mess. I don’t have a “thing” like a lot of artist, I paint portraits, architecture, animals and abstract. I suppose my style is just JC style.

War of worlds by john charles
Pie Mash by John charles

Can you take us through your process? Do you start with a sketch or do you dive straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it’s finished?

It always varies. Sometimes I’ll sit just drawing in my sketch book and decide I want to paint it, other times I’ll work on my iPad designing specific images for a painting and then every now an then I’ll go in my studio (Tate Roby), blast some music and just start painting until something appears. I suppose they’re what you call ‘feelings’.

When did you begin your artistic career?

I started painting when I was 27 after a long life of drink and drug abuse which started at the age of 16.

Zebu by John Charles

Who or what inspires your art?

Local Liverpool artist Danny O’Connor is a huge inspiration for me. Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock and Rembrandt and artists I’m obsessed with.

What is your favourite piece that you’ve created and why?

I’m at a point now where I feel each piece I finish is my favourite, hah! It’s a bizarre feeling but a good one all the same. If I was pushed for a favourite I’d say it’s one that’s yet to be released… It’s a new liver bird painting, but this one is just me all over. I’ve painted the liver bird many times now and this one just seems like the perfection I’ve been seeking all these years.

flyover by john charles
stain-glass by john Charles

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a private series hopefully being released before Christmas. Also a large painting for WUS Worlds Ultimate Strongman in Dubai.

What was the best advice someone has given to you as an artist?

Stop being a sh*t house and just go for it. There are no mistakes, just a new avenue to create something new!

What’s your most unusual habit / artistic technique which you have learned?

I finish all my paintings with lines using different style pallet knives. I’m not 100% where this came from, I think I seen a technical drawing somewhere which had sketch lines similar and then i found myself doing it in my paintings.

…and finally music? Do you listen to anything whilst painting?

I listen to loads from Westlife to Slipknot, to Queen and motivational speakers!