James had longtime interest in art and the natural world was the catalyst for him to transition from a career in technology to a career as a sculptor. The journey began while growing up in Texas where he spent most summers with grandparents in rural environments. The opportunity to spend so much time with wildlife developed into more than a casual interest. The ability to draw led to many renderings of both wild and domestic animals and birds. Being self-taught, drawing slowly evolved into painting then sculpting wildlife. His current work incorporates experience from both painting and sculpture.
James feels viewing wildlife in their natural environment is important to developing an overall sense of the animals, their habits and gestures. Residing in the Bay Area of Northern California and Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities. Observing wildlife in the southern Rocky Mountains is not difficult, however, many find it surprising to have deer, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions in a neighborhood that has the San Francisco skyline as a backdrop; and bears are not too far away.
When most people observe wildlife, the focus is on the animal - eye to eye. The surrounding backdrop becomes blurred and abstract. The intent of James’s work is to capture this blend of realism and abstraction in a wall hanging collage of elements that form a vignette of the animal and its environment. Each piece consists of miniature animal sculptures set in fields of color, form, and texture. Elements of a piece include an acrylic textured and painted wood panel, cast bronze or silver figures, and combinations of stone, glass, wood or metal.
In his new work, James has collaborated with Sandy Keller. Sandy has developed her own technique in which 30-50 layers of acrylic glazes and paints are applied to the wood panels.