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About

About the Artist

Born in South Africa in 1940, James Stock is the son of refugees from two world wars. He grew up in the post war depression era, raised by parents who were themselves anguished by the cruel and senseless loss of their families. James showed an early aptitude towards art, coupled with the early symptoms of Depression.


Educated at a high school in Durban, he rebelled against what he considered to be authority and control masquerading as tradition and became a problem student. While in his third year of high school, his ability to draw attracted attention, and he was transferred to art classes in the hopes that this would provide an outlet for his emotions. Despite achieving impressive results with his art in his final year of school, resulting in the offer of prestigious bursaries, he opted to work instead as a labourer. 

His restless nature soon led him to the world of commerce.  Having being diagnosed and treated as a Bipolar Manic Depressive, he became a successful business man.


On his sixty second birthday he elected to take early retirement and immigrated to Australia, a country with which he had, over a long period, fallen in love. Occasionally he painted, usually landscapes and seascapes - but he was still not at peace.
The continued use of a bouquet of medications intended to ease his anguish, ultimately brought about a crisis and his mental awareness suffered.  After a period of months, with his family searching tirelessly for answers and support, James sunk into a delirium and was hospitalized. A resolution for his condition was elusive and, aggravated by the fact that James would not eat, his health declined further.


The hospital contacted James's family and informed them that his organs were shutting down and that death was imminent. They suggested that - taking into account his mental condition - it would not be advisable to try and revive him and that arrangements for his passing be concluded.
James's family, contacted the Hassidic Rabbi in the area who, armed with a set of Tefillin and the Shema, visited James. After getting James to lay Tefillin and repeat the Shema, the Rabbi sent the nurses for food and commanded James to eat as it was a Mitzvah to eat. James ate - and that marked the turning point to a path of slow, yet miraculous recovery. Unable to walk, and barely able to talk, James was discharged from hospital and with family, friends and the Rabbi by his side, began the journey to regain his health.


Prompted by the Rabbi he tried to paint again and an explosion of religious and Hassidic paintings was forthcoming. Many are hung in the Jewish community centre of St Ives and several have been sold, some to Europe. Some of the income so derived is used to do the Mitzvah of Tzaddakah with the help of the local Chabad.

The vibrancy and depth of his work reflect both his traumatic childhood and his ability to overcome the adverse aspects of his formative years.  His paintings radiate his newly liberated love and joy.


James is married and has a son and daughter.  All reside in Australia with their families.