Meet Worthing artist James Chasteauneuf

James Chasteauneuf

James Chasteauneuf - Credit: Archant

James Chasteauneuf never had aspirations to be an artist, because in his mind it wasn’t a choice, but simply who he was.

“I have always been an artist,” he says. “I have expressed creativity in very different medias. Many might resonate with this self-assured state of being rather than ‘wanting to be’.” James does however recognise that while to his mind it may be a way of being, it is also a career. “As an artist must produce, producing art is work – often hard work to get down to. It has never been a hobby – I don’t even necessarily enjoy doing it, although I get a sense of well-being when I have been creating, and the result and reactions of others brings satisfaction and reward. I understand what I see and record it to communicate this understanding of what I see to others.”

The son of a London “ad man” art director father and art teacher mother, James has been painting for as long as he can recall, and has been an occasional oil painter since studying art in his hometown of Worthing under John Stanley-Clamp, Neville Dutton and Mike Skinner during the early Eighties at West Sussex College of Art and Design. “Between paintings I have worked creatively in design, music, lyrics and dance.”

James says that his portraits are inspired by “sincere admiration”, and as such the one he’d “grab in a fire” is one of his daughter, but he’s also very fond of his dancer paintings. “I think they encompass my passion for dance and people.”

For others wanting to work in the same way, James says “paint passionately with love for your subject. Look and be able to draw! Maybe be prepared for a somewhat Bohemian lifestyle.”

In the past James has taught both groups and individuals, but says that he would still gladly share his artistic process “and I am always willing to give instruction.” In terms of inspiration he says that it comes from light and people, and their reactions to his work. “I love people. Painting outdoors on location in the environment as the impressionists did is great too - many people stop and say nice things - maybe I am really an entertainer at heart!”

Sussex locations including Worthing’s Dome Cinema and the River Arun at South Stoke have featured in James’ work, alongside places that hold personal significance. “Worthing’s long-serving GP Dr Richard Callaghan and many less well-known people who have sat for me are good people of Sussex.”

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James keeps as much of his own work as possible. “I will only produce a finite number of paintings in my lifetime and ideally, I would rather they would be viewed in exhibitions, public premises or galleries, than hidden away in various homes – so that – while I’m here - myself and others can experience them whenever desired. Some I paint over.”

In terms of commissions he says that while he paints firstly to please himself he does take commissions, provided that he loves the subject and the setting. “I would love to hear from anyone interested in commissioning a piece.”


From 9-27 June 2015 James will be exhibiting at The Waverley Room, Haslemere Educational Museum, Haslemere GU27 2LA.

To contact James please email



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