We catch up with model/artist James Boland at Red NYC, interview and photography by Nathan Best
Interview with James
1. Welcome to Yearbook James! How old are you and where are you from?
Thank you! It’s a pleasure. I’m 21. I was born and raised in Staten Island, NY but moved to Manhattan over 3 years ago.
2. How long have you been modeling and how did you start?
I’ve been modeling for a year now. I was walking home from class in Union Square when Dave, my agent, scouted me. I got so excited that I ran into class the next day and shouted “Guess who’s gonna be a model! Waaah!!” …or something along those lines. We all screamed together. It was cute.
3. What are your hobbies or interests?
I’m just fascinated by the arts. I find myself intrigued by the way that people’s actions, desires, and intentions interconnect with each other. The arts are such an amazing way to explore that! I dabble in anything artistic. I like trying new things. I’m principally an actor, but I’ve tried playing a ton of different instruments. I’ve been painting and drawing forever. I’m actually starting to write and film my work, too! But I want to become masterful at one medium, and I know that if I try to spread myself too thin, that goal will be much harder to reach. So for now I dabble and explore while I’m young and I’m still discovering myself. Some day, I’ll reach a level of mastery, but for now, I’ll just keep observing human behaviour and trying to express it in any way I want to!
4. What is your favorite subject to paint or draw?
I LOVE painting the human body. Musculature and curvature can just be so beautiful. But recently I’ve become fascinated by the painter Leonid Afremov, who paints with a palette knife. His paintings are beautiful and have dynamic deep colors. He’s fascinated with the combination of humanity and nature. You’ll frequently see a couple on a summer night time stroll in the rain. His portrayal of reflections of light on the water are truly breathtaking. So I’ve been using his work as a basis for the kind of work that I’d like to paint. I bought a palette knife and some tissue paper and sat in my basement for weeks, painting every night until I eventually became nearly nocturnal. I’m in love with the idea of letting go of mundane practices that people never question…like a normal sleep cycle. HA!
5. Do you prefer books or movies?
I love books and movies for their own reasons! They each hold their power. Movies are powerful because they can show you new things you never could’ve imagined. But books rely entirely on the imagination… and the imagination can be so much more powerful than anything a person could dream of putting on the screen. In my opinion, smart movies use this fact to their advantage. 😉 To actually answer the question, though… I would say that it depends on where I am or what I’m doing. If I’m having a bad day, going to a theatre on my own will always calm my nerves. But on the train, I need a book to stimulate me. They make me feel like I’m never wasting time. With every page I feel just a little more intelligent.
6. What is your favorite thing about modeling?
I love modeling because of my grandchildren, honestly. Clearly I don’t have any, nor will I have any for a very long time, but I’m just fascinated with the idea of showing them the pictures of me now and saying “Look! Your grandpa was a stud back in the day!”. But until then, the feeling of picking up a magazine at the corner store and seeing a picture of yourself in it can’t be beat. It just makes you say “Damn. I never saw this coming.” It makes me remember the fact that I’m alive and young. And that’s not a bad place to be.
7. What is your favorite food?
Macaroni and cheese. No doubt about that. Not even a question
8. Do you hang out a lot with friends?
I do! I find that I’m changing as I get older. I used to love hanging out with huge groups, but now I’ve become a lot more solitary. I prefer having a small group of really great friends who know everything about me, and who I know everything about. That’s what I’ve got right now, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Their kids will call me Uncle James, and my kids will do the same to them, and we’re more than okay with it. But when I’m not with them, I find that I enjoy being alone. I’m realizing something that’s made my life a lot easier….I’m an introvert. And I LOVE it!
9. What career would you choose besides modeling?
Well I love acting, and I’m going to pursue it until the day I die, but I feel like that would be cheating to use as an answer. If I could be anything, I would be a world traveler. Maybe a photographer for National Geographic or the Discovery Channel? I’d love going to places I never thought I’d see! I mean the Earth is a beautiful place! I want to see it all!
Interview by Nathan Best for Yearbook Fanzine