James Edson is a founding member of the P.W.B.C. (Palace Wayward Boys Choir to those outside the Big Smoke’s skate elite), owner of East London’s own contemporary art space, The Wayward Gallery, and is set to flip the art world 360.
From getting by and getting high with a little help from his friends in Brixton to travelling Europe, board in hand, James has led a pretty exciting life with a DIY attitude and an eye for artistic talent. Now he’s exhibiting 20 years worth of his own photographs. Visual anecdotes of a life full of memorable moments and pretty places, Observations Whilst Rambling in the Field opens today for one week only at that place next to Bardens where the palace shop used to be. i-D online catch up with the South turned East London skater-boy turned artist.
Where was the best place you visited on your travels? I don’t know really, I’ve always been a bit obsessed with America. It depends a lot on the people you are with I think as well.
Who were the best people you met? The nature of skateboarding is that you meet a lot of like-minded people without necessarily trying to make friends. A lot of friends of friends who you stay with end up being good friends. I guess those people.
How did you narrow 15000 down to 78 photos? It took about a year of editing them down. It was really difficult. I tried to make some sort of order that made sense to me without missing any important times or people out. I don’t think there will be much of a narrative other than for me. It’s quite a selfish project! I want people to like it visually and people who were there or involved to be stoked on it.
Was this exhibition something you had in mind whilst you were taking photographs over the last 20 years? I didn’t really think about it. A few people have been kind enough to say I should do something with it. It just feels like it’s ready maybe. And maybe closure for some of the images I’ve been looking at for 20 years. I never have to look at them again!
What’s your most memorable anecdote from your P.W.B.C. days? These are the P.W.B.C. days. Everything, all of it.
What’s happening at the Wayward Gallery now? We have a few shows coming up starting in February. I’ve been taking it slower this year, working on this exhibition and not rushing to fill the gallery. Good things will come in time.
Where’s the best place in London to skate? It’s hard to say, ask one of the youngsters out in the streets.
What are your 3 rules to live by? Rules?
Text: Felicity Kinsella
Photography: James Edson