Sir Trevor McDonald, Adam Boulton, Former ITN grandee Mark Wood and a brace of city hacks were among the attendees at The Gallery in London’s Cork Street last night for the launch of former Question Time editor James Hogan’s first art exhibition. Hogan, who is now a partner at PR consultancy College Hill, has also written a book called the Art Upstart, which former BBC director general Greg Dyke called a ‘’truly remarkable story’’? However, as Monkey sipped on a banana smoothie, Hogan revealed the exhibition did not get off to the best start: ‘’I accidentally set fire to one of the canvases.
As a talented 13-year old artist, James Hogan was so traumatized by the sudden, premature death of his father that he stopped painting for 40 years. Then, four ears ago, after forging successful careers as editor of the BBC’s Question Time and later as a high-flying city PR, he woke up one morning with a compulsive desire to paint. Lodged in his head were hundreds of abstract images. He set to work on what he described as a messianic journey to paint these visions.
In a bid to distance his artistic work from his media career, he styled himself The Art Upstart and posted his work on the Internet, where he attracted 10,000 followers. Now, having outed himself, James launches his first exhibition of 28 canvases at the Gallery in Cork Street, accompanied by a lavish coffee-table book of his work entitled, prosaically, The Art Upstart.
Hogan, 58 today, who will be donating part of the proceeds to Great Ormond Street Hospital, tells me: ‘the hero in my paintings is the God of all religions. They are about good and evil, the Holocaust, 9/11, Haiti.’
‘I have good times and bad times, but I have never had the slightest doubt about the existence of god.