James Dodds was born in the east coast fishing town of Brightlingsea, and trained as a shipwright in Maldon. He then studied painting at Chelsea and the Royal College of Art, London. He has also conceived, illustrated and hand-produced a series of artists books.
A short film, “Shaped by the Sea”, about James Dodds, by Emily Harris for Classic Yacht TV was released this May 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDoPZf_Iooc.
“Looking at the paintings of James Dodds for the first time one is struck by the literalness of the work, the sheer specificity of plank on frame built outward by the practiced hand of a man whose obsession with the form and structure of boats had taken him out of school at fifteen and into a shipyard apprenticeship. Slowly, however, the force of his artistry begins to gather beyond this initial impression. In a striking and mysterious piece of visual alchemy, what once seemed specific now glides toward the abstract. Parts, once distinct, become a whole. A lyric buoyancy emerges. Our consciousness fuses with our unconscious. The eye and the mind’s eye become one.”
-Mayher, Bill. “An Eye for Boats, A Sense of Place: The Art of James Dodds.” Wooden Boat Publication 2008.
TIDE LINES, THE LIFE AND ART OF JAMES DODDS, by Ian Collins
In this richly illustrated volume Ian Collins charts the voyage James Dodds has made from boatbuilder to artist. Richly illustrated with pictures spanning more than three decades of inspired endeavour, the biography adds a supporting cast of artists, poets and other nautical characters.It also includes a wider study of “boats the sea has made” – vernacular vessels from the Shetlands to the Scillies and across the Atlantic to New England which punctuate the artist’s intriguing story.
James Dodds was featured in the June 2012 issue of Coast magazine: “An Artist’s journey: Maritime artist James Dodds talks to us about his early life in the shipyard, the symbolism of boats and the subtlety of the Essex coast.”
James Dodds is formally represented by Messum’s in London.