Everything is Plunder

Cover Artist James Stopforth - Someone we bloody love

The beautiful mind behind the cover for issue three of Queer Cumbria is James Stopforth, who used some of our amazing content to create something visionary, a magical queer dream world surrounding our cover focus – Maureen and Babs.

We wanted to introduce you to the new member of the extended QC family. We tore him away from his work designing pages for 10 Magazine and fashion callaborations with Stella McCartney to have a chat!

Stopforth has made a name for himself, truly himself, in the underground art world, turning heads with eccentric collage work, photography and knitwear design. James was raised in a strict family of Jehovah’s Witnesses and left home at 16 to pursue hairdressing, initially wanting to pursue fashion. As James’ father is and was an artist, it being more a hobby for him, it formed part of his life from an early age, as he recounted drawing pictures together and being creative at home.

It was when he moved to Leeds that he recalls being ‘fortunate enough that a good group from a nightclub called Vague (one of the first openly mixed clubs) put me through fashion college’.

“I got thrown out twice,” he said, but all the time was working on his art.
James left his mark in hairdressing, and worked in opera and ballet, and realised he needed to create his own foundation.It was then that he said he went to a ‘tiny art college in Devon’ to study visual performance, fine art and installation’

What surrounded his ethos is what has become his motto: ‘everything is plunder’

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Ace-Card-Living.tif

James’ exploration into collage came after he had been taking phone photos for years, and considered collage a new medium to explore. “Now, with technology, I’m able to make it a reality, and working with Queer Cumbria is natural,” he explained.

“I’m looking for harmony, things that are jarring, funny, it’s about playing with the spatial awareness of objects.”
On the tasting notes for this cover, he posited: “Take notice of the diversity.

“I don’t know any of these people, but this shows a beautiful and healthy queer community in Cumbria who celebrate themselves, remaining strong and defiant.”

Words by Seph Santiago

Images – QC cover by James, Portrait of James, Pony collage created by James for QC, Jame’s knitwear for Stella McCartney.