Portraits & Icons
Jim's work often starts with a portrait and then he adds to the story using allegorical references and vignettes. Early on he found he had a knack for painting people, and pop culture figures heavily influenced him. He always had fun painting famous people; he felt in a way he was getting to know them and experiencing their world by imagining it. Jim finds the cultural fascination with celebrities and the more fortunate quite the phenomenon, especially when he realized that it was easy to paint an iconic person and sell it quickly. He recalls how quickly pop culture paintings sold at a hippie shop in Sierra Vista while stationed at Ft. Huachuca. Jim was keen to the market and made sure to produce exciting work that people wanted to own.
When Jim attended art school at ASU, he became more serious about painting people using the techniques and skills he enjoyed but with more intent. So, in a way, his portrait work is an extension of his icon paintings, but he focused more on people who were important to him and his environment—family members, mentors, historical figures. He invested more of a personal attachment to his subjects and, therefore, gave them an iconic legacy in his work.