Portsmouth Artists’ Season: Samuel H James (higgy_)

Close-up of 'Otters' by Samuel Higginbotham.

Inspired by Dadaism, Jazz LP cover designs and the fiction of JG Ballard, Samuel H James (higgy_) talks us through some of his surrealistic ‘digi-collages’.

‘Cogs & Flues, Ostrich’


This piece has a vibrant wash in terms of colour and theme. The elegance of the flamboyant flamingos has been highlighted by a brighter spark of pale yellow. The Rocky Mountains and protruding stream in the foreground simulate a drought of the planet’s arguably most valuable resource: water. The industrial chimneys and the ostrich with head in sand signify our preference for production over environmental ethics. I placed the beautiful design of the Spittelau Incineration Plant Chimney, Vienna, to the centre-right to demonstrate how the human eye is drawn to aesthetic detail over function.

‘gram Homeless


The monotonous – chrome of sepia tries make connotations aesthetically between the subjects: the aristocracy & lost regiment of ‘pulling together’ during hard times i.e the war, hence the rail & women working on the underground in the age of self-propelling space intelligence yet we still have heroes of the yesteryear sleeping rough. The juxtaposition of the homeless in their bright blue sleeping bags over-crowd the gentlemen sipping tea & the working class slipping back into the underground at a tangent. It can be viewed as an abstract piece or a more political status becomes apparent when viewed by the scrutinous eye of incomplacency. The bricolage in question has been sourced through research into digital print of a physical age however, presents itself as a e-collage.

Otter ‘Gram

A bleak but I hope colourful perspective on modern life. The yellow brick road winds through an alien continent, the bizarre wildlife looking back towards the civilisations on two Earths. The Russian satellite is a little ‘what if’ Russia did win the space race. The slightly overweight legs protruding from our purple planet say a little about our society focusing once again on aesthetic over function. There are associations here too with body-dysmorphia and our upper half being once again ‘buried in the sand’. Is humanity’s progress and evolution ‘stumped’ by our search for superficial happiness? I could go on but the beauty of ‘art’ is to pose questions and provoke a thought process, so I’ll leave the last two images for you to ponder.

‘Death Direct’



All images by Samuel H James (higgy_).