James Unsworth

This week Islington Mill are taking over MUKA and showcasing some of the mill's best and newest residents. Jess Coulson approached these residents with a selection of questions and today we start with an introduction to artist James Unsworth.



Can you tell us about yourself and your work?


I’m James Unsworth. I’m an artist from Liverpool who makes work about desire, sexual subcultures and print culture. I research print history and the way subcultures formed and communicated before the internet. I also draw sexy fat people.


You are one of Islington Mill's most recent tenants, what was it that lead you to joining us here?


My husband Scottee and I share our studio. We knew a few people who already had studios here and knew it was where we wanted to be. There’s a really welcoming atmosphere here and lots of interesting queer people knocking about, I feel really lucky to be here.


What is your studio space like?


It’s at the back of the building so it’s really sunny all day and the plants really like it. I built us some big desks and shelves and painted them pink so it’s nice and bright, bordering on oppressive.


What are you working on right now?


This year I’m publishing a new zine every month that collects images from different series of works I’ve made over the last 15 years. It’s a side project to keep me productive in the evenings instead of watching TV. I’m also working on an ongoing series of collages made from Bulk Male and Bear magazines, fast food menus and books about flowers.


Have there been any positive sides to lockdown for you that you would like to share?


I know a few people who’ve lost loved ones to COVID over the past year so I feel very fortunate that’s something I’ve not gone through. As for positives, there’s a real lack of distraction in the world right now so I’m guessing I’m more productive than usual.

When it's safe and legal to have events and exhibitions, what do you want to see?


I only moved to Manchester in December so I need to check out everywhere. I’m already loving the city but I know it’ll be way better when everything is open. Absolutely can’t wait to get my tits out on a dance floor again too.

Whose work are you really enjoying right now?


I just discovered Yoshifumi Hayashi and I’m digging it.


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