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(pictured above: insert of The Birches acrylic on canvas)

INTERVIEWS & reviews


Artrageous gets ‘glitz and glam’ The City Paper Nov. 2008

Many pieces of art, such as this painting 'You and the Land Are One' by James Pearson (at The Rymer Gallery), will be featured at Artrageous. 

From the “Van Gogh Busses” to this year’s themed gallery cocktails to the raucous and rockin’ “late party,” Nashville’s art scene puts on the ritz for Artrageous, a yearly gallery hop charity benefit for Nashville CARES.

"Glitz and Glam of the Roaring Twenties" is the theme of this year’s event, which opens the doors to nine galleries scattered about town. As in years past, attendees can continue the fun donning their own costumes in addition to enjoying facets of the celebrated era, varying from Cotton Club to Silent Movies at each participating gallery. Each venue will also feature — thanks to one show sponsor, Absolut Vodka — themed martinis.You and the land are one painting by James Pearson

Through ticket sales to the multiple-gallery hop, the 21-year-old extravaganza has raised more than $2 million for Nashville CARES, a Middle Tennessee AIDS support, education and awareness agency. In addition, each of the participating galleries will contribute 10 percent of the night’s sales to the charity.

The quirky East Nashville outpost of Art and Invention is featuring Charlotte, N.C.-based, Vietnamese-born artist Duy Huynh. At once whimsical and ever so slightly melancholy Huynh’s glowy-acrylic paintings portray a geographical and cultural displacement, much like his own life. Other local and international artists from locations as far flung as Peru complete the gallery show, as well. Plus, the night will launch Art and Invention’s annual, affordable, kid-in-a-candy-store variety of handmade artisan holiday gift offerings.

Studio B, in the 12th South district, is new not only to this year’s event, but to Nashville as well, having opened its doors just last spring. Featured artists include local modernist sculptor Victor Schmidt and New York painters Steven Miller and Moses Hawkins. While Miller’s abstract paintings are colorful and feature bold, black “raucous” lines, Hawkins soothes the viewer with almost melodic washes of color and sweeping lines.

Tucked catty-corner from the popular Sylvan Park district, LeQuire Gallery will feature the eponymous owner/sculptor himself. Taking gallery space opposite Alan LeQuire is another Nashville-born sculptor Somers Randolph, who has claimed romantic Sante Fe home since about 1997. Randolph, back for the first show in his hometown in more than a decade, sculpts one-of-a-kind exotic marble abstracts, which perfectly contrast LeQuire’s bronze, highly figurative low-edition works.

Over in Green Hills, tucked inside Corzine & Co. and Richters Jewelers, The Richter Gallery is a rare find in Nashville — rare because it is the only gallery featuring exclusively fine art photography and notables. The night’s spotlight will be on legendary 85-year-old Herman Leonard who will unveil his famed Iconic Memory series capturing ‘40s and ‘50s jazz greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holliday. The photographer is acclaimed for his finesse with lighting to capture rare moments of beautiful human emotion.

Also in the Green Hills hood, Bennett Galleries is featuring painters Kris Prunitsch and Trevor Mikula. Opposites in style, the two have rented studio space in the same building for years. Mikula’s multi-layered work is charmingly captivating while both child-like and sophisticated. In contrast, Prunitsch creates enchanting, ethereal, earth-toned works on canvas, wood and paper.

Downtown, a stone’s throw from the Frist Center for Visual Arts, Tennessee Art League (TAL) serves as home for both professional and emerging artists. The biggest draw for the night’s event is local abstract painter, Edie Maney, as popular and colorful in person and as on canvas. TAL will also feature watercolors by former graphics illustrator Ralph Langreck and a member show of amateur and formally trained artists plus works by homeless people served at The Campus for Human Development.

Sharing space on the second floor of TAL, the Plowhaus Cooperative will present its popular SNAP (Society of Nashville Artistic Photographers) "Clothespin Show," featuring unframed pieces by 21 local photographers.

Around the corner from TAL, Estel Gallery owner Cynthia Bullinger takes her partying seriously. The featured group show is “extremely sensual,” not to be confused with “porn sensual,” explained Bullinger. National and local artists include Marcelo Halmenschlager, a homosexual who, fearing his safety, fled his Brazilian homeland and now lives here under political asylum. His figures, indeed sensual, portray zodiac figures morphed into human forms. Tim Yankosky is a San Francisco-based artist, whose emotionally visceral and thought-provoking series depicts caged birds. Also featured are “symbolic magic realist” painter Rodney Wood; “The Judgement of Paris,” a Salvador Dali print, and local faves and Estel regulars Harry Underwood, Daniel Lai and others.

At matriarch Anne Brown’s The Arts Company, Appalachian-rooted-turned-Los Angeles-success painter April Street stars again as the gallery’s Artrageous premiere artist. And if by rare chance Street’s fantastical, brilliantly colored abstracts aren’t enough to captivate the viewer, gallery-goers can still scrutinize the stunning work of legendary black and white photographer of the American West, Ansel Adams, along with his student-turned-coworker, Bob Kolbrener.

Fifth Avenue’s latest gallery newcomer, The Rymer Gallery, is spotlighting gallery curator and another local favorite Herb Williams, a.k.a., “the crayon artist.” Also featured are the eye-catching abstracts of notable Outsider artist James Pearson, plus the figurative paintings of Gabriel Mark.

Both gallery owners Samantha Richter and Jeff Rymer, of their respective self-named galleries, are champions of Artrageous. Richter serves on the NashvilleCARES board and Rymer has been an active fund-raising volunteer. Each see the event as an asset to the community.

“Artrageous gets people aware of the growing art scene in Nashville,” said Richter, who remembers when the event only had a handful of galleries for its annual tour.

And, added Rymer, “The idea of tying visual arts to NashvilleCARES’ No. 1 fund-raiser is brilliant and important for what it provides to the community.”

Interview of Abstract Painter - JAMES PEARSON
Contemporary Art Gallery Magazine Nov. 2006 by Arthur Browning

The Abstract Painter, James Pearson, has some excellent compositions amongst his very colorful and well-structured canvases. After seeing his work online at several websites I spoke with James and asked if he would interview.

James is fortunate enough to be prolific in his production, and he exhibits a lot of maturity in the evenness of his work - especially the bigger canvases.

How did you get into art?
"My mother and maternal grandmother encouraged me to be an artist from the time I was very young. My mom always liked to draw and we would do that a lot together. I pursued art through whatever means I had - mostly self taught with books from libraries. I had a fantastic high school art teacher who had me develop my own course study independent of the class. I always wanted to study art in college but my family couldn't manage it. I continued to educate myself as best I could through my adult life by visiting galleries and museums, forming friendships with fellow artists and reading as much as I can."

Do you remember the first art works you did that you felt satisfied you?
"I'm fairly prolific so I've been fortunate enough to have quite a few distinctly unique periods of creativity. In each one, the first dozen or so works are the most satisfying - particularly because I haven't formed any specific ideas about what I'm trying to do. Transition is simultaneously scary and thrilling. The first such feeling probably came as a high school student discovering Degas late period bathers and processing that work through my own."

Do you have an area of specialization?
"I've been infatuated with contemporary abstract and minimal work for the last couple of years. The most obvious elements are improvised geometries and music. I love texture and iconography so that's an important part of what's happening too. I also go through periods where I love to draw spontaneously although not necessarily in any representational way."

What kinds of subject matter do you prefer?
"I'm a believer in painting what you know and experience directly. The abstract work is very close to how I relate to my family and life in small-town Kentucky. Landscapes and a sense of place are important to me. We're fortunate to be able to visit family in Idaho and Florida and enjoy the best of those opposite but equally compelling cultures. We've driven cross country many times at 2300 miles each way!"

What will be your next project?
"I begin painting a large diptych for installation at the Nashville International Airport in the next couple of weeks. That goes up in March 2007 for three months."
Do you ever use exotic materials or techniques?
"Not really. I have used a palette knife quite a bit over the last couple of years. I like the texture and immediacy of it."

What kind of tools/light/studio do you prefer?
"I use brushes and paints from Blick Studio and Utrecht who have both been very supportive. My current studio is a large room in my 1880 house. The best light is in the morning but I tend to paint more in the evening using a combination of artificial light. I like the quiet and stillness at night."

What are your sources of inspiration?
"The ideas that I tend to paint about are most likely to come from my personal life. I'll have one of those head-slapping moments where I remember something out of context and it takes on a different meaning. A number of them are from everyday conversations where some tidbit will fall out of someone's mouth, sometimes it's quite painful - a time when I should have been more attentive or compassionate. I try to focus on an individual when I'm working so nearly all of my paintings could be seen as a private letter. My wife is my favorite correspondent."

What artists do you admire?
"Matisse, Degas, Klee, Calder, Chagall, Rothko, Da Silva, Diebenkorn, Close, Heron, the San Francisco school of Abstract work in the 40's and 50's, aboriginal and indigenous art, children's art. If you're asking for specific artists who I admire as painters and people, I'd have to say Paul Klee, Alexander Calder and Vieira Da Silva top the list."

What was the toughest project/commission you've encountered?
"The answer is all of them! Each one presents new challenges. A more frank answer would probably be a 4' x 12' painting commissioned by a good friend and patron in
Cincinnati 6 years ago."

You can see many more of James works at his website - and for smaller works you should check out his Ebay exhibition.

Feel-Good-Art: James Pearson at Visual Arts Collective
By Christopher Schnoor (Boise Weekly, March 29, 2006)

There's lots of color warming up the gray ambience of Boise's Visual Arts Collective these days, coaxing spring to catch up with the calendar. In the midst of this particularly drab, lingering winter, James Pearson's bright, enthusiastic abstractions cannot help but lift one's spirits with their sunny disposition.

Pearson's 13 acrylic paintings, spread thinly around the cavernous space, are nothing if not eye-catching. Their shimmering surfaces have a visceral appeal. They are confident and exude a youthful exuberance and are unencumbered by any conceptual baggage. Despite their fresh feel, however, there is something vaguely familiar about these works, as if we have experienced them before. A sense of deja vu permeates this show.

Now in his late 30s, Pearson was born and raised in Kentucky, where he currently lives. In 1993, he and his wife moved to Boise for several years, and he continues to visit here from time to time. Although he had some art training in high school, Pearson is for the most part a self-taught artist. He shows with various galleries around the country who cater to the "outsider" crowd, but he manages to sell most his work on eBay's EBSQ art site. I see on the Web that until a few years ago, Pearson incorporated stylized figurative or architectural shapes into his paintings, which usually were rather unsophisticated black line drawings superimposed over colorful abstract backgrounds, touted on EBSQ as "modern figurative abstract painting" (talk about covering all your bases). Frankly, from what I could see, such elements were ill-conceived, and it is encouraging to find them absent from the new work.

In his artist's statement, Pearson says his time in Boise "inspired me to recommit myself to visual art," and to a large extent, the work in this show is the fruit of that experience. He told me his stay in Idaho also changed his palette, and his comments elsewhere indicate that the high-desert landscape and atmospherics intensified his colors and perhaps simplified his forms, directing him to pure abstraction.

Pearson makes a point of describing his work as "contemporary" without defining what exactly he means by that. In fact, he is a totally besotted fan of modernism, taking his cue from those exponents of emotionally charged colors and bold strokes like Matisse and the Fauves, the Blue Rider school of German Expressionism, Abstract Expressionists Mark Rothko and Franz Kline, and the dean of California modernism, Richard Diebenkorn. In his own art, however, Pearson emulates these aesthetically heroic figures without breaking any new ground, offering fresh insights, or taking their achievements in a different, more contemporary direction. These paintings simply reflect a cheery, faith-based optimism and personal world view, and love of color.

Yet he does have an innate talent, especially in terms of color relationships, design and technique. Besides being a visual artist, Pearson is also a musician and composer, and the influence of music on his abstract painting is very evident--he describes the works in this show as "tone poems." Both in terms of structure and the improvisational aspect of his technique, Pearson's canvases demonstrate a musical sensibility and intuition that gives the work its charm and vibrancy. In this, he has obviously taken a page from the Swiss-born Expressionist painter Paul Klee (who was also a musician), of whom he speaks highly and with whom he clearly identifies. Wassily Kandinsky is a similar influence in this regard, subscribing as Pearson does to Kandinsky's ideas of form as expressions of inner feelings and emotions, but in Klee, Pearson has truly found a soulmate. As with Klee, we can appreciate Pearson's abstract paintings as color melodies, geometric patchworks that create overall patterns of shifting planes and tonalities. Pearson, like Klee, is fond of children's art and his paintings have some of the same childlike innocence and optimism to them.

Noticeably absent from Pearson's list of big-name modernists who inspired him is the fellow who practically invented abstract expressionist painting, Hans Hofmann. Other than Klee, this is who Pearson's art reminds me of most. All of the ingredients that one sees in Pearson's art were synthesized and advanced over 60 years ago by Hofmann: the exuberance of the Fauves, Matisse's dynamic color planes and harmonies, the rawness of the German Expressionists, Cubism's structure and simultaneity. Pearson's statement that "in my current abstract paintings I'm playing with foreground/background and horizontal or vertical movement" is a replay of Hofmann's innovative pictorial organization and design. That's why at the VaC show we feel like we've been here before.

The exhibit's title is "What Good Comes From This," a reference to the changing seasons and to recent crises in the artist's family life which somehow only reinforced his positive outlook on life. In other respects, they refer to his experiences connected to his move to, and departure from, Boise. Pearson can be exasperatingly vague about his art, tending to speak in generalities concerning his approach and what he tries to achieve or portray. When asked in 2003 what direction he saw his work going in, he replied: "I'm a spiritual person, a husband and a father. I'm prepared to go wherever these ideals take me." Our conversation at his opening proceeded along similar lines. With a painter who assigns matters of art to a higher power, it is difficult to nail down specifics.

All the paintings are executed predominately with a palette knife, the layers of pigment rendered in wide rectangular bands of impasto, laid on alternately thick and thin, blending hues on the canvas or scraping back to reveal underlayers of other colors. It creates a staccato effect that makes for a complex consideration of surface and texture, establishing a strong tactile quality. Some have a seasonal or environmental feel while others seem almost architectural. The large title piece, What Good Comes From This, is a jazzy work whose brash reds alternating with stark whites and aquamarine make it practically leap off the wall, while What Is Now Proved Was Once Only Imagined, with its off-whites, pastels and flesh tones evoking sun-baked painted stucco or adobe, plays a softer song.

Nine smaller works are grouped in suites of three that share a common feel and look. The best of these groupings is the one that includes High Lonely Hills, Where the Wind and Sound Carry, and That's Where We Ought to Be, all related to his move to Boise. Their high-keyed colors nevertheless convey an earthiness that echoes the sharp contrasts of an Idaho spring.

Not all the works on view are a success. Epilogue and some of the smaller pieces have less life or chromatic imagination, and struggle compositionally. The autumnal The Primroses Were Over, with its thick translucent layers of burnt orange, is simply overdone. But overall, Pearson's joie de vivre is infectious, so drop by and cheer up.

Featured Artist: James Pearson by Amie R. Gillingham, Editor EBSQ December 2001

How long have you been painting?
I've been drawing and painting since I was a toddler. I'm 32 now. My mom used to draw quite a bit and we'd draw together. She bought comic books and taught me to read when I was 4. My grandma would take me to the library a lot and I got my first library card at age 5. From then to now, I'm primarily self taught. The closest I ever got to formal education in art was during high school. I had a great art teacher named Nona Atkinson who allowed me to create my own assignments and course of study. After four years, I had become a fairly accomplished portrait painter in pastels. I also served as president of the art club - co-designing, organizing and installing a ceramic sculpture in the lobby of the school my senior year. I attended college with my own money for one year. My interest was in education. I never wanted to study art or music under someone else's guidelines. After a year of college, I ran out of money and lucked into what would become a 14 year career in broadcasting, video editing, audio production and engineering. I've never lost my love for art. The short answer to "how long" would be all my life. Everyone starts out drawing, painting and making images. I just didn't stop.

What other artists or movements inform your work/aesthetics/sensibilities?
In my mid 20's, I began to play catch up on my knowledge of Art in general. I became very interested in modern art including the fauvists (Mattisse and Derain), the blue rider school (Klee and Kandinsky), Calder, Chagall, Modigliani, the New York abstract expressionists (Rothko and Kline) and the California school (Diebenkorn). I had always been attracted to Degas' pastel work but rediscovered his late period bathers. Of all the artists, I feel closest to Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.
I think Klee was right in recognizing the importance of children's art. I see proof all the time in the drawings and paintings of my two girls (age 4 and 6.) Their work is unfiltered by technique or experience. It's figurative AND abstract AND emotionally raw AND technical AND colorful AND completely spontaneous.

Also like Klee, painting and music are completely intertwined in my life. I've been writing and composing music since I began playing guitar at age 11. I've also been a big fan of music collage via Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and the Beatles - starting with a 4 track cassette recorder in 1986, long before the sampler and computer software made such music so accessible. I'm also a big jazz and pop fan - equally enjoying Thelonious Monk and XTC. I love no format radio and we keep all of our cd's in pure alphabetical order with no categories or subdivisions.

Again, like Klee, I also teach art and music in classes and private instruction - often swapping subjects for back-to-back lessons. My classes at the local gallery are for all age students but I especially enjoy teaching kids age 6 to 16. In art and music, I believe it's important to cross reference as much as possible with other artforms -dance, poetry, cooking...you name it. I want the students to understand that all these forms of expression come from the same mental and spiritual place. I also think it's extremely important to cite examples of working artists so students (and parents!) realize that there are many opportunities for creative minds. That's not always immediately obvious in a small town.

Finally, like Klee, I'm also a homebody, devoted husband and father. I love living in a small rural town where we have a 120 year old house and can walk and ride our bike to the square. We've visited most of the country and love to travel but home is where the heart is and for me, that's with my family in Kentucky.

How would you describe your work?
I'm not sure. I think there's a continuity and would generally say it's modern but beyond that, it's difficult. Also, my work is changing and hopefully, moving forward. Right now, my favorite pieces have subtler colors applied in gentle washes. I let the brush go where it will initially and react to what is there. The lines either expand the general theme as in "Sing" or work in contrast to create additional meaning as in "Melody, Harmony and Counterpoint". The relationship between line and color isn't really understood by anyone so I feel free to work as I like.

What are you motivations for creating?
I paint because I like to. It's really very simple. Kid's are like that. They paint when they want to and don't paint when they want to do something else. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

How, if at all, has your art been impacted by the events of 9-11?
I've taken more risks. I've prayed a lot for wisdom, patience and courage. Immediately after the attacks, I painted 3 large pieces in series. They were all much more abstract than anything I'd previously tried to sell on eBay and I sold the largest piece within 2 hours of listing it. I like to think that's a sign. God likes risk takers.

Tell me about some recent projects, and your experience of leaving a secure job to create full time:
I've been busy lately. I'm trying to experiment and follow my instincts. We are gradually approaching more regional galleries with some help from good friends and supporters. I participated in a multi-gallery's studio tour last month and have a solo show next fall at another regional gallery. My eBay sales have fluctuated like everyone's but I've been fortunate to supplement my income with teaching. Through eBay sales, I've also managed to get a couple of commissions for larger works. I'm presently working on a large scale improvised painting 12' x 4' for a friend and longtime patron. It's inspired me to continue working on that scale so I've also stretched canvas for another 5' x 3' and two 4' x 4's. I hope to catch a wave of inspiration and paint them all in series. After finishing them, we'll be approaching some more galleries.

At this point, opportunities are really opening up for me. I left my job last spring after a 14 year career in broadcasting with no guarantee that we'd make it a month. Amazingly, here we are 8 months later and still going one day at a time. We stay positive and look at the glass as half full. I definitely believe in creative visualization and prayer. Believe in yourself and persevere to do good work. The financial stuff should fall into place.

What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and our collectors to know about you and/or your work?
Don't mistake my optimism for naiveté. I've made a decision to focus my work out of a philosophical desire to contribute something positive. I don't censor myself while painting but I DO have a responsibility to create a personal frame of mind that will foster good work worth sharing. I'm a fan of the Tao of Pooh and believe in the "wise child". I want my work to lift, not reflect. I'm not a camera. Paintings can be as pure as we choose to make them.

Letter to other artists:
Sell your best work. Let it go. It will inspire you to create. Avoid prints of your paintings. Don't dilute the market for original art. Use your real name. Be honest about who you are and what you are trying to do. Seek an original identity as an artist. Take chances. Exceed your own expectations. Whenever possible, stock materials in advance. Act on inspiration. Stay positive and surround yourself with other positive people.

Simple Things: Artists at TAG Art Gallery create substantive work by getting down to the basics of line and color
By Angela Wibking (Nashville Scene: Nov.14-20, 2002)

Nashville artist Roger Clayton believes in keeping things simple. "If my paintings were any simpler, in fact, I would be painting nothing," he says. While that may overstate Clayton's style, his paintings of yellow rabbits, red frogs and blue clowns illustrate the enduring appeal of graceful lines and primary colors. "I don't even start with the image," Clayton explains. "I start with a line and explore where it goes." Where his paintings go is into an offbeat universe populated by characters vaguely inspired by cartoonist Charles Addams ( The Addams Family ), animator Matt Groening ( The Simpsons ), haiku poetry and the art of Japanese Zen monks. In "Fuji Bunny," for example, a bright yellow rabbit, clutching a few flowers, practices a martial arts kick against the backdrop of a red mountain.

The painting's engaging humor and appealing energy is typical of Clayton's other works currently showing at TAG Art Gallery, which include such imagery as kind-faced teddy bears, a well-behaved lamb and its evil twin, and a steaming cup of green tea. "I like the brushwork of artists during the Sung dynasty in ancient China, who used so few lines that you can count them," Clayton says. "I also like the suibokuga paintings made by Zen monks in Japan, which were often imperfect, primitive and even ugly. In the West, we look at something that's simple as having very little spiritual substance. In Japan, the opposite is true. I like that when you reduce the narrative details, you can see into or through the nature of the image and arrive back at its essence."

Clayton's paintings are paired at the Hillsboro Village gallery with works by James Pearson, a former Nashville artist now living in southern Kentucky. Pearson's varnished acrylics on canvas also celebrate the simple, though in a more abstract fashion. Using the circle as his shape of choice, Pearson tosses aqua, white and gold hoops against backgrounds of melon, lime and lilac and then further animates the works with tiny, semi-figurative shapes drizzled in glossy black. The colors and shapes lead the eye in a dance that seems to continue off the top of the canvas. The emotional effect is uplifting as well--which is exactly as the artist intends. "I am committed to positive expression through line, color and simplicity," Pearson says. "I always promised myself that if I had the opportunity to share what I make, then I'd say this with my art: Life is good. It's a blessing to be here. Let's try to be decent to each other."

A work called "Perfect Pitch" seems to sum up Pearson's positive philosophy. In it, the artist places a simple line drawing of a man and a woman against a patchwork of gold, brown and orange squares. The couple move effortlessly through the autumn-toned world, connected by a single line that's supported at either end by their uplifted arms.

Cast your eyes on something 'uniquely left of center and notably different'
The Tennessean, Sunday, 10/27/02  ALAN BOSTICK, Staff Writer

The next show at Julie and Jerry Dale McFadden's always-upbeat TAG art gallery in Hillsboro Village features the work of Nashville artist Roger Clayton and Kentucky-based artist James Pearson.
Clayton, who was raised in Memphis, has a special interest in the Far East, having journeyed several times to Japan. The artist says he admires the brushwork of certain ancient Chinese artists - ''using so few lines that you can count them'' - and also likes the paintings, influenced by the Chinese, of Zen monks in Japan.

''Though influenced by the Sung masters (of old China), their paintings were often imperfect, primitive, even ugly,'' Clayton says. ''I like that when you reduce most of the narrative details, you literally see into or through the nature of the image and, hopefully, you again arrive back at its essence. These are qualities that I try to put in my paintings.''
Meanwhile, from rural, southern Kentucky comes Pearson, who describes himself as ''a painter, musician, teacher, husband and father.''

''I am committed,'' Pearson says, ''to positive expression through line, color and simplicity,'' which organizers say also happen to be qualities shared by Clayton's work. ''I always promised myself that if I had the opportunity to share what I make, then I'd use whatever meager influence I could muster to say this: Life is good. It's a blessing to be here. Let's try to be decent to each other.''
The McFaddens, who were formerly set up on 12th Avenue South, have settled into Hillsboro Village, just a few doors down from Zeitgeist on the same side of the street. They aspire to display art that's ''uniquely left of center and notably different.''

A show of work by James Pearson and Roger Clayton opens Friday and continues through Nov. 30 at TAG art gallery, 1807? 21st Ave. S. in Hillsboro Village. An opening artists' reception is set for 6-9 p.m. Friday. Info: 298-2905.

Art solidifies bond of friendship
By Amy Ellis Franklin Favorite September 12, 2002

David Yax and James Pearson are friends. They are also artistis. Together they are the featured artists at Gallery on the Square from Sept. 7-Oct. 25. Their duo show, entitled "Council," is a free 135-piece exhibit featuring original contemporary works from lifelong friends who both have ties to Franklin. "Council" is a free exhibit and is open to the public.

David Yax
Since his first one-man show 30 years ago, he has sold his artwork to clients nationwide. Twenty years ago, he was inducted in the Southern Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen as the youngest member in the history of the group. David apprenticed for four years directly under Gisela Bly (Who's Who; holder of four German Master degrees in Art.)

Yax graduated from Franklin-Simpson High School with honors and from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. As a master of multiple mediums he has always displayed a unique style.

He currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and two year old daughter.
Yax recently donated an original sculpture "Native Girl" to the Tennessee Environmental Council. It was sold at auction during TEC's annual Green Tie Event at Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville.
Mono prints: These one of a kind pieces of abstract art are not computer generated. Thin layers of pure, dry ground pigment along with gold leaf, silver and colored foil are therosealed onto paper. Each color and shape is added one at a time, therefore each piece is unique.

Sculptures: David Yax often uses wooden spoons, forks and owls to build his sculptures. He finds these beautiful pieces of wood at thrift stores and garbage sales, one step away from being permanently discarded. By using found objects, less refuse is sent to the landfill and no additional demand is put on the rain forest. The results are modern icons. The imagery is flowers, symbols and people.

Paintings: All the pieces shown are acrylic stretched canvas. They are recent works and images range from organic to architectural.

His work can also be seen at Lot 916 Gallery in Bowling Green or on his web site at www.davidyax.com.

James Pearson
James Pearson describes himself as a painter, songwriter, teacher, husband and father living in rural southern Kentucky. He has been creating original art and music all of his life. His painting are now part of private collections in the United States, France, Canada, Italy, Belgium, Japan, Chile, China and elsewhere.

Pearson has studied art for over 20 years and is his career and his family's livelihood. Born in Louisville, he now resides in Franklin with his wife and child.
"In all things, I aim to simplify expression to something that is pure. Quite often, my paintings are influence by children art or indigenous art from around the world: particularly aboriginal Australian creation paintings, Japanese woodcuts, Peruvian weavings and Tibetan sand paintings. Western painters I admire include Henry Matisse, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, Mark Rothko and Alexander Calder. My earliest influences were comic books and like Klee and many other artists, music greatly influences my work as a painter." Pearson said.

"My subjects are based on personal experience and observations of life in the American south. In short, I'm a romantic. In technique, I'm a colorist in love with harmony, line, elegance and simplicity. Pearson said. Finally, my work is devoted to beauty, faith and compassion. Life is good. It's a blessing to be here. Let's try to be decent to each other."

He is a member of the EBSQ, the original online self-representing artists group, and a juried member of EBSQ+. Pearson is also a member and supporter of Arts Kentucky.
Pearson currently teachers art, beginning guitar and music theory/compostion classes at the Gallery on the Square.

Pearson's art can also be seen at Lot 916 in Bowling Green and he will be featured artist at the Tag Art Gallery in Nashville in November. His website is www.pearsonart.com

James Pearson by Ronnie Jaggers (The Amplifier, March 2003)

Introducing James Pearson, fine contemporary artist. He has shown work regionally with shows at the Bongo Java East, Tag Art Gallery in Nashville, Franklin Gallery on the Square, Lot 916's World's Greatest Studio Tour, the Capitol Arts New Artist exhibit, the Annual All KY Juried Fine Arts Exhibition, the Simply Red Exhibition and The Indigenous Show at Lot 916 in Bowling Green along with others in Cincinnati and Nashville. He has also participated in shows in Orlando, Atlanta and Los Angeles. He has two scheduled events for later this year, a second show in Cincinnati and a return show at Tag Art in Nashville for the fall. Mr. Pearson stated, "Perhaps the most exciting news is a possible show in France. One of my repeat collectors there has started a gallery in Lyon and is representing my work". "All told, I'm pretty busy at the moment keeping up with online demand and fulfilling commissions. News is available at my website: www.pearsonart.com".

Born in Louisville, Ky. and raised in Elizabethtown, James Pearson moved to Bowling Green in 1990 to work as a video editor. There, he met his wife and proceeded to Nashville, then Boise, then back to Nashville before finally settling in Franklin where he's lived for 6 years. "I love Kentucky and wanted to raise my family here", said Mr. Pearson.

His Mother and Grandma both liked to draw. "My mom always had a good eye for contour and detail. We used to draw together often. They also taught me to read when I was very little, maybe 4 years old. I got my own library card and liked to check out books on drawing, cartoons, mythology, history, nature and anatomy. I was an unusual kid in love with books. My brother, sister and I all have a talent for art and music and were encouraged to pursue creative interests and stay curious" remarked James.

When I asked Mr. Pearson if there was anyone that he contributed his love of art or his style to, he replied, "that's a hard one. I think style is a delicate thing that develops over time. I'd like to think that I'm still refining what I do". "As for influences, my high school art teacher, Nona Atkinson, was one of my best supporters outside my family. She encouraged me to work in pastel portraits which I did for many years. Children's art has always inspired me - it's unfiltered and spontaneous. I credit our move to Boise as a turning point for my current work, which is very contemporary. The western landscape, colors and sky have been strong influences on me. I also love Matisse, Klee, Chagall and Rothko". Mr. Pearson said his works are modern and colorful but beyond that, descriptions are difficult: "In my most recognized style the contour-line figures compliment and contrast various color harmonies that make up grids and fields. My wife and children are my primary subjects. In short, I'm inspired by love and optimism so that's what I want to share with my work." When I asked Mr. Pearson where he was going with his art, he replied, "I'm a spiritual person, a husband and a father. I'm prepared to go wherever these ideals take me".

Using Utrecht acrylics for canvases or watercolors with pen & ink or sumi brush for paper works, his acrylic paintings range in size from 18 x 18 inches to 4 x 4 feet. His largest work to date has been a commissioned canvas measuring 12 x 4 feet. He also likes to do small paper studies in 5x7 or 8x10 sizes that can be easily framed. His selling price depends on where you buy his work. Lot 916 is representing him in Bowling Green. "Kim Jones has been wonderfully supportive from the beginning", said James. 18 x 18 canvases usually sell there for $150.00 - $200.00.

"I work on the floor nearly all the time. I've been doing that for years. I can move quickly between works in progress and see everything at once. I begin with no particular subject, enjoying the process, creating tension and release with colors and shapes. I jump between canvases, harmonizing the individual pieces and the group as a whole. I try to leave something slightly raw in the work, a document of the process. The final stages become more personal: After living with these abstracts for a while, I begin to imagine compositions and figures. Eventually, I get my nerve up and finish the painting with a flourish of improvised drawings. No second takes. No nitpicking", stated James.

"I love to teach" says James who currently has students in drawing classes in Bowling Green and Franklin. He also teaches guitar in classes and private lessons. My art classes are more traditional, focusing on fundamentals with an emphasis on portraiture.

James Pearson's web site, www. pearsonart.com was designed by his wife, Donna. He has been selling his works online for over two years. He has had repeat collectors in most major U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and more. What's even more impressive is that he has been able to connect with collectors all over the world: Canada, England, France, Italy, Russia, Japan, China, Chile....it's pretty amazing. Mr Pearson stated, "No bells and whistles but Donna does a good job keeping it current. I can't say enough about the importance of developing a good web presence".

You can we see some of James Pearson's art on display right now at the Tag Art Gallery and The Drunken Fish restaurant in downtown Nashville and at Lot 916 on the square here in Bowling Green.
James left us with these thoughts: "Work from your heart. Self expression can't be wrong. If you need inspiration, think of one person and do something for them. In a rut? Read a book. Sell your best work - it's what you want to be remembered for".

Outside, but not the budget By Deanna Larson (July 01, 2003 Nashville City Paper: This article originally featured James' artwork.)

Art works with naïve, quirky expression and bold passion - otherwise known as outsider or folk art - are an affordable entré into the world of art collecting.
A certain visionary quality, innocence, freedom from formal conventions, eccentric use of materials, left-field creativity, wild subject matter or a combination of these elements signals outsider art, according to The Outsider Pages at interestingideas.com.

While most outsider artists lack formal art training, that's where any lack ends.
There are mixed-media specialists who turn rusting bottle tops and found materials into jointed "dolls" based on cultural figures. There are colorful portraits of music icons on plywood, scenes painted on glass behind a vintage window, a Cubist-style guitar painted on tin. There are many Southern artists and styles to explore beyond Howard Finster and outsiders taken up by big galleries.

"One of our main thrusts is to help people that are emerging collectors or just want some original art that they can actually afford, rather than some print of a Picasso that they'd pay $20 for at a museum store," said Jerry Dale McFadden, who runs TAG Art Gallery in Hillsboro Village with his wife, Julie.
TAG opened because the McFaddens wanted to share a "huge collection" of folk art, and they hope to kindle a lifelong art collecting habit in their customers, too.
"We wanted to show people that they could start collecting easily and affordably," McFadden said.
The current "Value Menu" show at Plowhaus Artists' Cooperative in East Nashville features artworks priced $49.99 or under.

"People feel that they can buy something they like but not worry about it because it doesn't cost that much," said Franne Lee of Plowhaus.
The Artful Dog in Berry Hill has a small but interesting collection of outsider and folk art. Owner Sherri Alper meets regularly with artists from around the Southeast and picks up 2-3 pieces at a time to sell. Many folk art pieces at The Artful Dog are priced between $45-$100.
New York artist Steve Keene, represented by TAG, has sold 100,000 of his bold house-paint-on-plywood pieces at $20-$40 a pop.

"Painting should be part of people's lives and not separate from the world like a precious object," Keene writes on tagartgallery.com. "I feel like a baker making cakes, making a good quality object that's affordable to everyone from college professors to high-school kids. I want buying my paintings to be like buying a CD: it's art, it's cheap and it changes your life, but the object has no status.