I aspired as child to be a Hallmark card artist and fervently studied their painting techniques. I practiced day in and day out. Painting became my escape. I won in all contests entered at grade and high school level. My dream was to attend Pratt, but finances dictated I work as a brush artist for the paper bag industry, and then as a fabric pattern print designer. At that time, the only example of art/work available in my area. The pay was barely above minimum wage and it became difficult for me to pick up a brush for enjoyment.
Wanderlust set in and off to the Air Force I went. I spent everyday I could in Europe traveling the museums and hanging with other artists when off duty, gleaming all the tips and techniques I could from them. I have since studied the Master's and their techniques extensively. Modern Masters include, the Wyeth's, Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo. I am formally educated, and intrigued with the very nature of life itself. I play in many pure forms of medium in paint. I am currently studying Oils on flat board and prepared paper, with a textural component, a step wise procedure to maintain my original artistic style. I hope to also offer small drawings done in classical method as time permits.
"Good, better, best. Never rest until good be better and better best." A quote over the gym lockers in grade school still motivates me today.
I have been painting full time 7 yrs now. As a hobby, I try to enter at least one juried competition a month, many of which are International, and have placed top three many times. These awards are posted on the blog that accompanies each painting on deviantART and here under "winning entries" and "art of the day". I have been featured in many articles and publications online. Now in print both magazine and book as a writer and artist.
MR. ALAN BENNETT ILAGAN is a freelance writer and critic, whose work has been published in Instinct, xy, Q Northeast, Windy City Times, Boston Phoenix, Metroland, and numerous web sites including Out in America, EdgeBoston.com and EdgeNewYork.com. Mr. Ilagan had this to say about my work in an unsolicited email.."I just found some of your work online, and had to comment on how impressed I was by everything you've created. You have a wonderful eye, and your execution is amazing. It manages to be both abstract and true to life in the best of both possible ways. Thanks for the inspiration" Alan. He has modeled for famous artists and photographers, including Steven Underhill, Dennis Dean, Michael Breyette and Dave Haskin.
MR CASSIDY HALEY (Indie Recording Artist/Fashion Designer) "received your painting of me!! It looks gorgeous...thank you so much for sending it. I would love to see prints of your work of me in my Merch Store. Lets make it happen. :)"
MR LEVI KREIS (Tony Award winning Recording Artist) "LOVE your Art ,James. Way cool!"
MR.TIMOTHY WRIGHT (Coordinator Of Faculty) Art Institute Of Chicago "Just saw your art. Amazing!"
MR. ROBERT SQUIRES (Hollywood Art Dealer/Collector/Critic) "Impressive Expressionism"
Donato Style Events CEO Donato Crowley "Event planner for the Stars" had this to say about my work. "I love your artwork/ its amazing as are you".
MR. DEL SHORES of "Sordid Lives" Had this to say "I just saw your art... amazing work. I can't wait to buy your book... and I want my portrait done too :-)"
MR. RANDY JONES of "Village People" "Thanks for the addition. Lovin' your work!" RJ.
MR. JEFF PALMER (photographer) "James..your art is wonderful -- individualistic, sensual and provoking -- keep going!"
Published in July'09 edition of "G" Magazine. ALL Spain. Cover,6 pages and full bio. Mucho Gracia!
Published Biography Insert/Interview in "Never Blend In" (Words to the GLBT youth.) by Mr.David Watters London,England.Published author and feature writer harvey.milk.com. Cheers Mate! A link to the interview with music at http://blog.hollywoodportraitartist.com
"First One Man Art Show ", will consist of 7 large 18"x24" Oil on canvas' and will be at The American Stage Theater GRAND Opening Black Tie Event, May 26,2009. The SOLO show will run the entire summer. UPDATE: ALL pieces were sold, and two additional paintings were commissioned. Six pieces in all are currently on Permanent Exhibit at the Raymond James Theatre, Hough Lobby honoring American Stage Theatre Company's "Commitment to Excellence" The past thirty years in St. Petersburg, Fl. Please contact me via email for any reference contact information.
10/06/09... NOW under contract and represented by Studio Mares Global Art Gallery
11/13/10 ~ "J.Michael McCracken, renowned artist, will become the Art Curator for Studio Mares Flamingo. Many of you have already met "Mike" and enjoyed seeing his work in the gallery, art shows, and at the American Stage Theater. Mike will be developing art events for the gallery." "To The Vision, To The Beauty, To Today" Studio Mares, Greg Powers CEO
Special thanks to Central Art Supply.. St.Petersburg, Fl for their continued support.
My Acryllic paintings are all done with "Golden" Pro Acrylics. My support is 1/8" untempered gessoed hardboard, premium canvas or paper.
The Return of Shiva! My Oil paintings are all done with a Golden acrylic preparation, the finest Shiva Signature Oils, by agreement with Mr. Jack Richeson, and a state of the art medium that dries to a glossy, flexible, non-cracking, permanent protective layer in 24hrs. Supports include hardboard,preparedpaper and now premium canvas.
My Watercolor paintings are done with Yarka St.Petersburg Russian hand poured watercolor, a tradition since the czars mid 1400's. My support is 9"x12" or larger Arches Hot pressed french block..
Many watercolors have been damaged due to poor handling, lighting and care resulting in yellowing and spotting backgrounds. Please always keep watercolors away from direct or indirect sunlight and cover with glass as soon as possible. The archival mylar envelope your painting is received in is perfect for mass, long term storage.
I have dreamed of living in an art-rich culture my entire life, finally it has become a reality for me." Special Thanks to everyone that believed in me." My first two pieces ever sold were on Ebay Sept 24, 2004 (Leopard and Hornbill)......let the journey continue. My best to you always....
A couple of quotes from my favorite "fauvist" ( wild beast)
Matisse advised his students, "If you want to be a painter, cut out your tongue."
"A colorist makes his presence known even in a simple charcoal drawing." -- Matisse.
"An artist must recognize, when he is reasoning, that his picture is an artifice; but when he is painting, he should feel that he has copied nature. And even when he departs from nature, he must do it with the conviction that it is only to interpret her more fully." -- Matisse, Notes of a Painter, 1908
" The Flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and Beautiful of all" ...Chinese Emperor in Mulan
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