How long have you been doing this?


Born with a love for pencils, pens, crayons and markers, I have always liked to draw, paint, color and cut out shapes. I am moved to distill visual images from daily sights and sounds, literature and music, processed through my imagination so that a unique representation emerges, one that is exuberant and philosophical.


How long have you been doing this?

Born with a love for pencils, pens, crayons and markers, I have always liked to draw, paint, color and cut out shapes. I am moved to distill visual images from daily sights and sounds, literature and music, processed through my imagination so that a unique representation emerges, one that is exuberant and philosophical.

What do you like about your art and/or pursuit of art?:

As I work on a piece I experience a shifting flood of ideas and emotions that relate to the theme. I love that a clearly defined object is produced that stands as a tangible record of such intangible ingredients. So, for example, a painting that depicts what might be a bouquet of flowers beside a white garment becomes synonymous with my love for my daughter and the complex of emotions that accompany her wedding day.

 

How did you get started?

I would say the calligraphy projects I did in college were some of my first “commercial” art projects. Then sometime in the ’80s, when I was living in Albuquerque, I began to do free-lance graphic design. During that period, I worked on all kinds of art — logo designs, Tshirt designs, indoor and outdoor murals, and sign painting. I won a poster contest and thought I was pretty fancy. Occasionally, together with artist friends, I would participate in exhibits of our paintings. In about 1990, I became a licensed massage therapist and focused on the healing arts. I continue to design and produce a few paintings every year, and some of my work is still in evidence in Newton” a mural at Reba's Restaurant and a few signs are still hanging around.

 

Describe a memorable moment from your pursuit of art and/or any schooling and website, if you have one.?

I had an experience while making a collage for my brother Paul that is “haunting.” First, I have to mention the dream: 25 years ago our brother Raymond died in an accident during which Paul and I were visited in our sleep by vivid, upsetting dreams. The details of our dreams were different from each other, but they were super-intense, and we felt had been “calls to us from Rayin his final moments.” I was fascinated with this phenomenon and learned that that sort of message is not uncommon. As a comment on our ability to communicate telepathically or emotionally, and to honor the dream connection we shared that night, I created a collage for Paul titled “Message.”

While I was in my studio working on “Message,” the wind came up suddenly; I heard it and felt it through the open window. A bottle of rubber cement fell on its side and rolled off the table. T hen the airbrush hanging under the desk fell off its hook onto the floor. No big deal, but the hair on my neck stood up and I asked out loud, “Raymond?”, hoping for a sign but also a little nervous to get one. BAM! The art-bin on the desk slammed shut, making me jump. I still wonder if I had been visited by the spirit of my brother. Maybe I'll produce a piece called “The Wind.”

 

What are you working on now and are you exhibiting anywhere?

I currently have work hanging at Pages bookstore and coffee shop in downtown Newton. I will be painting new work for a show at Positive Direction in Wichita this summer.

More about James

Age and town: 53, Newton

Type of fine art you’re involved in: I work with acrylic paints on canvas, creating abstract images from simple shapes and lively colors. Hopefully my paintings catch the eye, entertain and hint at deeper symbolism within the image.