Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Meet James!

 James Perrin's paintings are chop full of vivid energy and movement.
My eyes simply can't stop darting around at lightening speed!
And I love how he seems to balance both haphazard and deliberate so beautifully.

Photo by Tom Griscom

1. Name, Astrology sign, and location please.

James Perrin, Taurus, Nashville TN

2. What are you currently working on?

I just finished a series of 3 large paintings and a series of small interior studies that I'm currently showing, and right now I'm gathering and working out some ideas on which to build new paintings.  

3. Who are your favorite artists?

A couple of years ago I saw the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met.  I thought it was amazing.  Recently I have discovered Jay Defeo, and unfortunately I missed her recent retrospective at the Whitney.  Daniel Richter is one of my favorite contemporary painters, and I'm always blown away when I view a piece from Anselm Kiefer, and I've always admired Gerhard Richter. There are a few of painters from Boston University (where I went to graduate school) whose work I enjoy seeing. Two of them are Sean Downey and Alfredo Gisholt.  

4. What's the best advice you ever received about your career choice?  

My parents were always supportive.  They always encouraged me to follow my heart and passion, and to base choices on spiritual concerns, rather than to make choices based on what society and culture, or others were telling me was best.

A lot advice I received was probably more about being an artist rather than the choice to pursue that career path; advice that came either directly from professors or from books I read.

My graduate school professor, John Walker, would say "If you are not making art then you are like everyone else". I interpreted this to mean that in order to be an artist you have to actually make stuff, and that your identity as an artist is hinges upon the practice of making art. 

A passage in Caroll Michels’ book How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist has stuck with me over the years.  She addresses a common image of how many artists see themselves, which is through the lens of 19th century European bohemianism, which encourages artists to live out the stereotype of being "provocative, moody, weird, or antisocial". Robert Hughes also comments on this issue in his essay on Carravaggio.  He writes "the late 20th century loves 'hot' romantics and geniuses with a curse on them".  

Going to art school in the late 90s made it easy to act out this stereotype.

Anyway, after college I had to figure out how to pay off student loans and other debt, and have enough energy to make art in the evening after working a day job.  Dealing with that reality involved rejecting some of the ideas that I had developed about what an artist is, and embracing other ideas, one of which is that my brain has a left side that I need to use sometimes. 

Another quote from Robert Hughes that I've always liked is from his essay on Chardin.  "To see Chardin's work en masse, in the midst of a period stuffed with every kind of jerky innovation, narcissistic blurting, and trashy 'relevance, is to be reminded that lucidity, deliberation, probity and calm are still the chief virtues of the art of painting".

5. Favorite place(s) in your city?  

Nashville has so many nice areas that it's difficult to pick one.  I live in Germantown, which is a picturesque neighborhood a little north of downtown, and I really love it.  It is a little too quiet sometimes, but it is one of those up and coming areas of town, which makes it exciting.

6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  And while we're at it, what about a different era?  

If I could live anywhere I would probably divide my time between several areas, New York, Umbria or Tuscany in Italy, and maybe Nashville.

When it comes to living in a different era, that's a difficult question to answer.  Most eras are filled with some kind of war or violence, or social upheaval, so even if I would love to live in 1920s I would have to go through the great depression.  Europe during the 1800s sounds pretty nice because there was relative stability. 

7. What do you usually mindlessly doodle?  (do you have a picture of this?)  

When I was younger I would doodle patterns, but these days I like to doodle strange silly creature-like line drawings.

8. First website you peruse of the day?

I usually have several browser windows open at once, so many times when I open my computer  I'll just see a tab, wonder why it's there, and click on it.

9. What's the worst movie you've ever seen, but secretly love?

I watched Bad Teacher recently with my niece.  I would watch it again.

10. Any pets?  Any kids?

I don't have any pets that live with me, but I have a couple of dogs that technically belong to me: a pit bull mix and a chow mix. I keep them at my parent's place, which is out in the country, so they can run and poop where they want.  I've never really enjoyed the idea of "bagging it".

I don't have kids…..

Thank you James!  To see more of his work go here

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