James Drinkwater

James Drinkwater is a painter and sculptor based in Newcastle NSW.

James Drinkwater’s work has been included in group exhibitions throughout Australia and internationally in Berlin, Leipzig, New York and London. He has been awarded the Marten Bequest Scholarship (2011), the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship (2014), the John Olsen National Art School Life Drawing Prize in 2002, and has been a finalist in many other prizes including the Wynne Prize three times, Sulman Prize and the Dobell Drawing Prize.

James Drinkwater studied at the National Art School, Sydney and, has held 30 solo exhibitions since 2004. A major survey exhibition, ‘The Sea Calls me by Name’, was held in 2019 at the Newcastle Art Gallery. In 2016, Monash University’s engineering faculty commissioned a major sculpture / relief from the artist which spans fifteen metres, hanging permanently at Monash University’s Clayton Campus.

In 2017 Drinkwater collaborated with iconic Australian fashion house ALPHA60 to produce a capsule collection. In 2022 Drinkwater was included in the seminal exhibition ‘Singing In Unison – artist’s need to create on the same scale that society has the capacity to destroy’ curated by Phong H. Bui and Cal Mckeever from The Brooklyn Rail along side Sean Scully, Julian Schnabel, Lauren Bon, Ron Gorchov and Dorothea Rockburne. The same year saw the artist collaborating on a new Ballet ‘Storm Approaching Wangi – and other desires’ with choreographers Skip Willcox, Belle Beasely and composer Joseph Franklin, commissioned by Multi Arts Pavilion, MIMA Lake Macquarie where Drinkwater designed the sets and costumes and performed in the final scene. 2023 will see two major surveys of the artists work; ‘Passage’ at the NCCA, Darwin and ‘At Mid Career’ in Canberra, at the The Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, curated by Terance Maloon.

James Drinkwater’s work is held in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, HOTA Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, Newcastle Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Artbank, Macquarie Bank, Macquarie University, Newcastle University, Schnabel Collection, New York, Monash University, Allens Law firm and significant private collections both in Australia and overseas.

James is now into what you might call, his mid-career with a significant following and continued interest for his work. His next big win is surely just around the corner, and so worth collecting his work today!


  • James Drinkwater – Passmore Oval