James Cyril Gardiner –

seeing the world as A, B or C…


Despite an incredibly tough and troubled upbringing – or maybe because of it – James Cyril Gardiner excelled at art during his school years, passing O and A-levels with ease. He explains: “I didn’t really think about drawing. I just did it, because I could.”

James declined a place at Chelsea School of Art to look after his autistic brother instead and before he knew it, 16 years of office and warehouse work had passed by. But in 2001, a life-threatening car accident left James in a coma for two weeks with a traumatic brain injury. It was during the following years of physiotherapy and rehabilitation following his near-death experience that his life-affirming passion for art was rekindled.

“Now, all I think about is drawing, because I can,” he muses.

James’ months in hospital and subsequent stages of recovery have led to a yearning for travel and a fascination with urban spaces occupied by people – past, present and future.

He feels he now sees the world through his favoured media and creative techniques- as in A, B or C… Abstract Elemental Ventures, Blue Ballpen Bictures or Copic Colour Captures.

Abstract pieces utilise concentrated watercolour paint and acrylic paint pens, often using unconventional application techniques in order to introduce an element of randomness and chance into the painting.

Blue Ballpen pieces explore differing rendering processes, challenging when working only with a Bic blue pen. These works are labour intensive but require the gentlest of touches, often taking over 30 hours to produce.

Copic colour captures are primarily James’ signature captures of city life which feature the outlines of people, describing that space as something individual and peculiar only to that person. And yet, that figure is sometimes lost in layers of other similar occupants. Maybe from a minute before – maybe from more than a century previously, spirits conjured from the mists of time.

James’ works are offered for sale only as original, one-off pieces. He says: “I create a piece and as soon as it is finished, I am only interested in the next piece – this one is done. If someone else can then enjoy owning it, then that’s fantastic – I like the idea of the paper I worked on, and the marks I made, then existing in another’s world…”
Should you wish to own any of the pieces displayed on this site, or indeed some of his other, earlier work, please visit


He looks forward to continuing to capture the essence of the world’s major cities, and the residents therein, whilst displaying his works in twice-yearly exhibitions around the globe, whilst offering the originals for sale via the links in this website.


James is happy to undertake Commissions, be they Abstract Painterly Ventures of your idea, Blue Bictures of your heroes or Copic Colour Captures of your city. In the first instance, and to receive an approximate initial quotation, please contact here