Carhartt WIP AU Community Feature: Jim Roche

02 / 29 / 2024

Jim Roche is a Melbourne/Naarm based artist making uniquely vibrant paintings and sculptures.

Starting out making art ten years ago while dealing with a skateboarding injury, Jim has since refined and perfected his practice of painting and sculpture to evoke a feeling of nostalgia inspired by the early days of surfboard shaping and other aspects of his personal tale.

Carhartt WIP AU visited Jim in his studio and asked him a few questions about his practice.

Can you please tell us when and how you started making art?

Since I was a kid, I always enjoyed making things, but I really got obsessed about art ten years ago. During that time, I was injured from skateboarding and had lots of time to kill. I needed something to put my energy into. It made a lot of sense to me.

Has it been a conscious effort to form your unique style or is it something that has developed naturally over the years?

I would say it is a combination of intentional and natural direction. I am certainly conscious of what I would like to make and everything that surrounds those decisions. It all develops naturally as you learn and make more.

Your most recent artworks have a similar construction and aesthetic to a surfboard. Can you shed some light on the influences and process behind creating these works?

My paintings incorporate techniques of shaping. The materials and aesthetics I work with were initially inspired by my Dad. He has been a shaper on the Gold Coast for over 35 years. I grew up surrounded by surf culture; my first job was with him, shaping boards. I consider myself very lucky and honoured to have had that.

Could you touch on any mentors and inspirational figures that have contributed to your art making practice?

A lot of my mentors (apart from my family) would be my Uni teachers, I still catch up with them to hang out and pick their brains.

Any advice you would give to new artists starting out?

Take your time

A Dutch influence is present through your body of work “Van Der Zande” shown in 2023. Please tell us more about these works and explain the importance of materials used?

My previous shows have a biographical inspiration from my Dad’s side. 'Van Der Zande' is titled after my Great, Great Oma’s name that translates as ‘From the Sand'. Simultaneously 'Van Der Zande' is dedicated to my Mum and my Oma who are of Dutch heritage. I recently visited my Oma in Queensland who told me lot's about our family history and I became instantly inspired to create "clog inspired" objects for the show at Reading Room Gallery. I sourced Poplar timber to carve, which is the most commonly used clog making material in Holland. I used traditional and modern tools to create hybrid objects to reflect my biographical and surrounding cultural inspirations.

With both Art and Skateboarding playing a big part in your life and who you identify as, have you had any difficulties managing your time with maintaining the two? Any tips on making it work?

It is definitely hard to manage in a sense, because I have to work full time in a separate industry to fund my practice. I rely on times surrounding my work hours during the week to fit these in. If art or skateboard deadlines are fast approaching, I'll try to swindle some time off. I don’t have any tips because I feel like I’m useless at it haha. It is pretty good when I spend a lot of time doing one thing, it makes me excited to come back to the other and they feed off each other creatively..

What’s next? any plans or considerations for your art making practice? Any Skate projects in the works?

I am searching for a larger studio, which has been a challenge, but I am very excited to try out some new ideas for larger works which requires more space. I have a show coming up in October this year at Animal House Fine Arts. I am also going to Japan in September with Hoddle skateboards, it has been a dream of mine to go there so I’m losing my mind about that too

Thank you Jim for your time.