James Buttifant's Penguins


I was raised in a small fishing town on the north Norfolk coast, and studied as an artist, before making my living as a commercial sign writer. Spending my evenings drawing and painting, one night I sketched out a simple drawing of four little penguins.

These little guys were drawn in the same simplistic form I had always viewed them since I was a boy. A ball with feet and a beak!

With a smile I drew another, then another and before I knew it I was putting paint to canvas and breathing life into something that was going to send my life in a whole new direction.

Spurred on by friends and family, I started showing my work in a local gallery before heading to the streets of Norwich, where I turned disused shop fronts into temporary galleries ‘busking for artists’ as I called it.


Drawing inspiration from passers-by, I began to hold up a 'penguin shaped mirror' to all our lives and loves. I’m keen to keep humour in my work, as although I am a strong believer that art has the potential to stir numerous emotions within us all, for my own part, I'm happy that I may just bring a smile to your face.


My work has grown in popularity in a way that is truly humbling, and in 2013 I was honoured to be a finalist for the ‘Best selling up and coming artist’ at the Fine Art Trade Guild’s Art & Framing Awards.

My work now sells across the world, alongside artists I have admired for years and I’m truly grateful to all those who have, and continue to support me and my monochrome friends.

Subscribe and stay on top of our latest news

  • Black Facebook Icon

© 2023 James Buttifant