James P. McNamara is a poet. To understand McNamara's practice more, we asked him a series of questions before the exhibition. The following are his replies:
What comes first – the medium or the message?
It always come from an idea. Maybe just a line scribbled on a random page from a few months ago, maybe it’s something that has to be finished right now and the entire world has to stop on a dime until it’s done. The idea is where it starts. The song has to have drums. SOMETIMES though, the idea is actually something else the entire time. You thought it was this little jewel and you just had to polish it, but it was actually a knot that you had to untangle. This long never-ending knot and you tear out pages of pages of knots until you find that little loop that’s keeping the whole thing together. You find it through form. So long story short: what comes first? I dunno, man. What day is it?
What do you feel is your role as an artist?
My role as an artist is to be a plain and as grandiose as any man who keeps giving the world things it didn’t ask for and didn’t need: to be a perspective across when the perspective is from above.
What influences your practice/works?
I draw ideas from lots of places. I think mostly about framing in my pieces now. The context of an object or subject is paramount to finding the emotional tone of a time and place.
Who are the other artists you look to for inspiration? And what about their works do you like?
Someone who has had a heavy influence on me lately is the film essayist, Adam Curtis. His ability to pull together tiny threads from years apart to build a historical narrative is something that appeals to me greatly. Locally, Jeanette Powers, Jason Preu, and Iris Appelquist are poets I look up to and often ask for guidance in regards to me work.
What other writings do you recommend reading to have a better understanding of your artworks and your art practice/process?