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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Artist who captured saintliness of Pope John Paul II ready to bring horses to life

Artist James Gillick, one of only a handful of artists to paint an official portrait of St John Paul II, is set to unveil a new exhibition of equestrian paintings at one of the world’s leading galleries.

Born in Norfolk in 1972, Gillick, who comes from a large Catholic family of artists, says his faith has been crucial to his career: “I’ve stood alongside Christ going up Calvary every Easter for more than 40 years,” which makes him put this effort into all of his own work.

“When I make a painting I make everything by hand and I do it as thoroughly and beautifully as I can,” he told The Universe. “I want to leave something behind which is self-defined, in some way valid.”

All the materials used in his pieces are handcrafted, from the varnishes and paints to the canvases and stretchers. This enables him to hand over an object to a client and say, ‘It’s not just my ego I’m selling, I’m selling something that will last for a thousand years’. “I think that’s a moral thing,” he added.

The artist, who is now based in north Lincolnshire, attends Mass at his local parish, Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church in Spilsby, admitting, “We’re the furthest outpost of Christianity in England!”

The full interview, where James speaks about the role of the Church in his paintings, his church restoration work and his latest work on horses, is available now, in this week’s Universe, which was out on 3rd June 2016.

James Gillick’s exhibition of new equestrian paintings is on show from 7th June to 28th June at Sladmore Contemporary, Mayfair.

See and For more information on the exhibition call 020 7499 0365.