His paintings have strong associations with Surrealism as he studied with John Tunnard and the late Conroy Maddox was a personal friend. Although early works are often signed J.X.Coudrille or JXC, they are usually identified via the artist’s monogram. At the age of 18 he sold a painting to the Bank of Nova Scotia, and bought a Rolls Royce with the proceeds. His first solo exhibition was at the inaugural Harrogate Festival, and he has exhibited at the Royal Academy and the South West Academy. He has also been exhibited as a guest artist of the Stuckists. In 2004, his work was included in The Stuckists Punk Victorian show at the Walker Art Gallery during the Liverpool Biennial.
Coudrille’s books include the remarkable Psychographic Alphabet book: “A Beastly Collection” published by Frederick Warne in 1974. This extraordinary book was widely praised by critics. Indeed, it could be said to be the first truly Surreal children’s book. Copies are now much sought after as collector’s items. It was, and still is, a work of genius – a tour de force.
“A Beastly Collection” was soon followed by a number of colourful and enthusiastically received children’s books for the innovative G. Whizzard imprint, including the best selling “Farmer Fisher” (G.Whizzard, imprint of Andre Deutsch). This was the first picture book on the British market to incorporate a record. Coudrille wrote, produced, sang and played most of the instruments on this record and was chosen as 1976 Children’s Book Of The Year. Farmer Fisher has been republished in 2010 by Footsteps Press.
His compositions include themes for the first Get This series (Southern Television 1970s), and the Caballetta Suite for Spanish guitar, premiered in the 1980s in concert with the National Symphony Orchestra at London’s Festival Hall. He now writes for and performs with the jazz-orientated Cornish semi-acoustic band Gwelhellin Goth (The Gentleman’s Luncheon Club) and is half of the Russian folk-music duo Muzika Muzikantov.
His father, Francis Coudrill (1913–1989) was an enthusiast for the skills of the Wild West, was a crack shot and could spin and throw a rope with great accuracy. He was also a painter but is best known as the creator of the television puppet and cartoon character Hank the Cowboy, featured along with Muffin the Mule and Humphrey Lestoq on the early children’s television magazine programme ‘Whirligig’. The discrepancy over surname spelling is said to be due to the theatrical union Equity requiring differentiation between the two members. “Coudrille” is a reversion to the earlier Norman spelling.
Coudrille is an honorary member of The Arts Club, an Academician of the South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts, a member of the Society of Authors and the Arts Correspondent for Cornwall World Radio. His interests are the garden at his cliff-top studio, cookery, religion and knife throwing. He lives in Cornwall.