a word on art

Artist Spotlight: James Doran-Webb

James is one of the world’s leading driftwood animal artists and is unique among his peers in his ability to make monumental sculptures of long dead wood that will stand the test of time and the elements. His public work can be seen throughout the world both outdoors in highly exposed areas and indoors in the world’s best-known Botanical gardens.

Raised in Devon, James began his interest in wood through his parents’ antique restoration business. He became a fully-fledged cabinet maker in his late teens, years of whittling, carving and refinishing had made their mark. While attending college he had started his own antiques business with a weekend stand at Portobello Market in London. The exhilaration of being self sufficient with a large chunk of cash in his pocket every Sunday afternoon made college seem unattractive by comparison.

He first travelled to the Philippines in 1989 assisting a friend with his costume jewellery business. It was love at first sight. He was entranced by the countryside, the beaches, the wildlife and above all by the people with their natural flair for colour and artistry.

In 1990 he set up a company designing and making a range of wooden objects to sell which included large papier mâché animals and pieces of fine furniture made from wood salvaged from old, demolished hardwood houses.

In 2005 he started to explore the possibilities of driftwood as a medium. The natural and organic shapes he initially thought could be used for furniture, but he soon realised animal sculpture was an exciting way to utilise the form of the driftwood.