"A book can never be anything more than the impress of its author's thoughts," wrote Arthur Schopenhauer in The Art of Literature but 43-year-old actor and artist James McQueen would beg to differ.
He has taken the iconic Penguin book cover and given it a colourful and smart spin - and the art world can't get enough.
A lifelong lover of art, James' grandfather had a huge collection of Penguin books, which he admits he was "fascinated by" as a child. "He would often read them to me, but I was more interested in the way they looked," he said.
As James grew up, he began buying the books for himself, and amassed a collection of more than 300. "I just love everything about them, and decided I wanted to own a life-size canvas version.
"I had no desire to buy one, so started to create my own. I painted one to begin with, then a neighbour of mine expressed his interest and friends started asking too. I soon had other people requesting commissions."
"Recreating different versions of the old classics is a pleasure," he said, before offering an insight into the careful, meticulous work that goes into each painting.
"The finished articles are designed to reflect the age of the books, using layers and layers of paint, which are then sanded down to create amazing patina, and finished with lacquer.
In January 2020 James, who divides his time between London and New York, began working on silkscreen releases exclusively with TAP Galleries
We are an online limited edition print store, and present collections from established and emerging global artists, covering realism, abstract, pop, and urban styles, as well as photography and contemporary art prints.
We also work very closely with Turner Barnes Gallery, launched in 2011 by art dealer and framer Soo Turner. It represents a growing portfolio of international artists which they exhibit at some of the world’s leading art fairs.
Soo comments: “We collaborated with James on silkscreen editions of his iconic You Snooze You Lose. The first September release sold out in just three days, while the second in November has proved equally as popular, with three editions in turquoise, green and orange generating huge excitement. We have just a few prints left so I’m advising all my clients to grab one before they disappear – they won’t be around for too much longer!”.
Unsurprisingly, James' star has risen fast among serious collectors, celebrities and Galleries, and anticipation is already building for his next work If You Ever Leave Me I’m Coming With You, scheduled for Valentine's Day, 2021.
"Planning and painting the books was always something I enjoyed doing in my spare time and still is," he said. "My work is designed so that people can own affordable pieces of art to enjoy. It has always just been a bit of fun to me and always will be."
You can buy your very own You Snooze You Lose here, and browse pieces from our other talented artists. Alternatively, you can mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a personal consultation or click & collect order.