British-based artist James Choules was born in London in 1969, where he continues to live and work. One of the first generation of English artists to work exclusively in spray paint, Choules began writing graffiti under the name SheOne in the early 1980’s, when he started focussing on developing abstractions with his moniker. During the nineties, he was an original member of the Transcend Collective with Joker, Poesia and others who experimented with what became known as Abstract Graffiti.
He also has run a successful design company called RockGroup with his friend, O.Two, who recently has become a member of Transcend as well. Choules has exhibited his paintings for over a decade, but has yet to leave his graffiti roots behind. Most notably, he was invited to paint illegally in New York City’s abandoned subways as part of the Underbelly Project.
"I discovered New York Subway Graffiti as a fully formed culture in the early 80's. I took the idea of painting in public under an alter-ego and have been abstracting that idea ever since.” – SheOne 2012
Since SheOne’s first exhibition in the early 2000’s, the artist has carried the theme of abstraction from his street work inside to function as an obsessive theme within the body of his legal work as well. When creating pieces for his exhibitions, Choules does not limit himself to one specific medium. Instead, the artist experiments with painting on canvas, furniture, paper, and even salvaged car parts.
His work can be seen as an exercise in contrasts. From the influences that penetrate each painting to the types of pieces he creates, the artist combines multiple sources into his cohesive aesthetic vision. SheOne cites his artistic influences as ranging from metal music and drag racing to Eastern calligraphy. These influences come together to form two starkly different styles within the installations and paintings of SheOne.
In his abstract paintings, SheOne focuses on using monochromatic colors and a sparse use of space. These aesthetic choices can be seen as directly influenced by Eastern calligraphy and philosophy. SheOne says that their philosophies have influenced his creative processes in that, “they have a very different perspective on what my works are about compared to a western view which is rooted more directly to the culture of the painting rather than the expression or the feeling of the works.” Through hearing interpretations of his spatial use as emotion rather than process driven, SheOne has been able to further develop how this style of painting interacts with different surfaces. The artist has since applied his abstract, black shapes to furniture, such as armoires, and entire automobiles in addition to the more traditional walls and canvases.
2012: The White Canvas Project, iam8bit Gallery, Los Angeles, USA. 2011: The Underbelly Project Exhibition, Scope Art Basal, Miami, USA; White Canvas Project, Leonard Street, London, England; Rudementary Perfection, Recoat Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland; MaSAT, PublicAdCampain, Madrid, Spain. 2010: Letterheads, RedBull Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Underbelly, New York, USA. 2009: Pop Crimes, Opus Gallery, Newcastle, England; Modart, Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; No Comply, Redbull Gallery, Sydney, Australia. 2008: Late at Tate, Tate Britain, London, England; Bravearts, Whistler Cultural Centre, Whistler, Canada; All Right Pal?, ReCoat Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland. 2007: Exit, UnionWorks, Southbank, London, England; SheOne, Toykyo Gallery, Gent, Belgium; SheOne, Chapel Gallery, Vancouver, Canada. 2006: SheOne, Dragon-I, Hong Kong, China; Live paint installation and artists shoe release. 2005: Beautiful Losers, RedAssembly, Vancouver, Canada; Girls, MyymalaGallery, Helsinki, Finland; Graffitiwindows, Hankyu, Osaka, Japan; Black & White, Selfridges Store, London, England. 2004: Public Property, REFILLGallery. Sydney, Australia; OneTwo, rGallery. London, England. 2003: Protocol, TheLAB101 Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Streetwise, Kunsthof Gallery, Berlin, Germany; Rockgroup, Centre for Contemporary Art, Charleroi, Belgium. 2002: J-Series, Ambush Space, Singapore; Sound Republic, Womb, Tokyo, Japan. 2001: Newsflames, AIRGallery, London, England; Collaboration, TriiadSpace, Paris, France. 2000: Graffiti Retail, John Leguizamo Studio, New York, USA.
Sources: Information and texts compiled by Rhiannon Platt from the artist’s website, blackatelier.com; a SheOne artist statement from 2012; and an interview on Letterheads blog, 2010.