Born in 1966 James Hart Dyke is said to have began painting at the age of eight after seeing a study by John Constable in the Victoria and Albert Museum. But only after finishing a Masters Degree in architecture at the Royal College of Art in 1992 did he make the decision to become a professional artist. From the RCA he went on to study painting at The City and Guilds of London Art School where he was taught by artists such as John Ward RA and Norman Blamey RA.
His work has often depicted classic landscapes from the rural domesticity of the English country home to the dramatic scenes of the Himalayan Mountains. However during the pasts seven years his work has become more ‘eclectic’. An example of this can be found in the period Dyke spent in the role of ‘artist in residence’ for M16, the British Secret Intelligence Service. 2009 brought the centenary year of M16 and to mark the occasion James was invited behind their usually tightly closed doors and into the secret world of espionage. As it is highly unusual for any individuals to be publicly associated with M16 an art exhibition about SIS was simply astounding and unexpected. The artist had to work under strict conditions of secrecy, and Dyke was extensively vetted before being selected for the project.
The resulting series of paintings and drawings formed the subject of a selling exhibition at Mount Street Galleries, London in February of this year. The pictures represented Dykes unique interpretation of an existence that, for those who work in SIS, can often be dangerous and surreal. The exhibition attracted international media coverage on TV and in the broadsheets. This included items on the national BBC and ITV news, and a documentary by CNN.
In 2012 Dyke was commissioned by the producers of the James Bond films, Barbara Brocoli and Michael G. Wilson, to design the official silk screen print to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films. Working with these producers gave Dyke the opportunity to experiment with alternative form of painting and introducing a more graphic side to his work. Much of his work now endeavours to fuse a ‘classic’ form of painting that values the poetry and sensibilities of traditional brushwork, with a more graphic element.