Tagsmart weekly discovery: Elizabeth James’ quest for the untold beauty in the ordinary

Born in Croydon to mixed heritage-parents, Elizabeth James’ love of art has been a prominent part of her life. Captivated by the way black and white blends together and the shades of grey in between, her practice of the arts began exploring the use of pencil and charcoal. 


It wasn’t until 2004 that James took what seemed to be a giant leap and started to use colours and paint with oils, which eventually led to her love for photography.

Looking down the lens like a form of escapism and in a quest for the beauty in the ordinary, James often shoots focuses on texture, shadows and reflections, capturing the visual rhythms in the natural flow. 

In 2014, James’ work from the Colour in Motion series was exhibited in the Works on Paper Art Fair at the Science Museum, at Gordon Ramsay’s London House in Battersea Square, and at the Stratstone of Mayfair Aston Martin showroom for the launch of the new Aston Martin Vanquish. In the same year, James was voted as one the top 5 artists at The Other Art Fair.


Last year, James opened her own gallery, Elizabeth James Gallery, in South Norwood, to showcase the best of Croydon’s contemporary art. Hosting exhibitions with guest artists and workshops, selected artists are also occasionally invited to create art by the gallery window.

The gallery is hosting a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Summer of Love in 1967. The Croydon Summer of Love show represents the culturally and politically charged period of time through art. Exhibiting artists include Angela Crow, Bernard Gary, Tom Bushnell, Zoe Akroyd Parker and Jessica Le Gary. The exhibition will be on display until August 28.