My name is Karl Hamilton-Cox and I am a full-time artist based in Hereford in England. I specialise in painting fine art on leather whether it is for wall art, handbags or leather jacket art.
I am represented by galleries here in the UK and exhibit regularly in Hereford, London, Newbury, Windsor and Birmingham. I also take part in exhibitions and appropriate shows across the UK.
KARL HAMILTON-COX BSc (Hons), AFAS
I create portraiture art in a realistic style. My preference has always been for creating realistic work based on the adaptation of photographic images within my compositions. My art takes time to create, it should be a journey from inspiration through the creation process to final completion. I set high standards for my artwork and it must be just right.
Creating art is a process that is intensive, requiring a high degree of concentration and somehow meditative. I have always preferred working on my own and being self-sufficient, even during my early career in the Army as an Armourer, it was a solo occupation.
I see my approach to artwork as anything that makes a realistic representation of a person, wildlife subject or object that is the focal point of a composition.
I love drawing and creating detailed drawn or painted monochrome images that come naturally. My painted artwork is evolving continuously as I experiment with light, tone, composition and colour based on a very limited palette. The depth of colour I create is based on glazing many coloured paint layers, this takes time and concentration as I see the colour balance of a painting gradually emerge.
My style is illustrative but not a straight copy, I am very particular in what I do. From an initial concept it can take weeks to find the right subject reference I am looking for. When a project gels I work fast and intensively.
I like new challenges, trying new processes and using art in differing ways. My use of leather as a material in my art is an example of a new approach that I have adapted and continually develop how best to master it. The use of the right texture, colour and size of leather is as important as the subject and painting process itself as they all need to be integrated; I aim for the leather when used in a painting not to be noticed at first!
If you have any queries please contact me at admin(at)artistkarl.com or call me on (+44) 07775 782369.
Why Leather Art?
My journey to painting on leather was an unexpected one.
I was approached by a customer many years ago, who wanted my detailed style of painting pin-ups, but on the back of a leather jacket. Artwork on paper, protected behind glass and hung in a centrally heated home was one thing - to paint on leather which is exposed to the elements all year round on a movable piece of clothing was another matter all together!
The challenge was accepted as the engineer in me surfaced....... how to prepare the leather, how to paint it so it remained flexible, what to use, how to dry, how to ensure it was permanent........ so many things to consider..............
After acquiring some pieces of leather to practise on, locked away in my studio, I worked out how to do it. In fact, not only could I paint on the leather so that it didn't flake off or peel when wearing the jacket, but also it was resistant to our household cleaning products, diesel, petrol and the artwork was totally waterproof. Once it was on the leather - it was on!!
My customer was VERY happy - after 'Angel Eyes' was created.
Not long after this, my wife Caren suggested that if I could paint on the back of a jacket, why not paint on a leather hide and frame it as wall art. Hmmmmmm why not indeed?....
I decided to test the market and painted a small 'half elephant' during Herefordshire Open Studios (H.Art). I carefully selected a lightly textured piece of leather - I wanted the texture of the leather to be part of the composition. The artwork was about 80% complete and I put it on display whilst it was drying. The very next customer who came to the studio bought it - not finished, not framed. They paid their deposit so that I could complete the artwork and delivered it to them when it was finished.
The added bonus of art on leather is there is no need to have glass, so you can hang your artwork without any concern of reflections from windows, lights or moving light created by the flickering TV (which is very annoying). The artwork is protected to the same standard as the leather jackets. An occasional quick wipe over with a clean cloth keeps the dust at bay. No cleaning products are needed.
Some of my artwork is framed in the traditional way whilst other pieces are created on a leather box frame.
Leather artwork is tactile and durable.
It is an important part of the composition of the artwork, is easy to look after and will last a very long time. (I live in Hereford where we have the Mappa Mundi which was created c.1300 on vellum - calf skin)
The finish you get on the artwork is better, because I can make full use of the leather and its grain/textures.
It is my preferred way to create truly unique artwork.
I have many customers who commission/buy further pieces from me.
I also supply several customers in the fashion industry with bespoke painted designs on their handbags and luxury jackets.