James Bonnici currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. His father was a hobby painter and as early as he can remember he would sit and watch him paint. Being exposed to art at such a young age made making art seem like a normal thing to do. When it comes to his work, Bonnici is always drawn to the image first. He looks for something evocative that has a sense of ambiguity or strangeness.


If it sticks with him for days he’ll translate it to paint or charcoal to bring it to life. He always works in the medium of oil painting and drawing. He admires the history and evolution behind the two processes, in particular their relationship with figurative realism to see if he can add something interesting to that dialogue.



The imagery he chooses goes through a process of obscuring, distorting and manipulating of reality to invoke a sense of rupture, challenging the representation of the physical world, hitting at the more ambiguous nature of being and existence. Bonnici first developed his impressionist style studying at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He records an interprets urban landscapes and human faces.


“I find [painting] quite meditative. It’s one of those things where I [don’t] know how to do anything else.”


Bonnici has also intentionally tries to separate himself from the technological world. He’s more interested in the real world rather than social media. Many of the images for his pieces come from photos he takes on his phone. This allows him to interpret his immediate surroundings and the subjects that are close to him. “For me... how we experience our physical reality, no matter what, is generally through mood, depending on how we feel that day,” His critical analysis of the psychological impact of perception comes through in his work and leave his audience in a contemplative state