Jim Faris. I’m a visual artist specializing in whimsical, modernist, images.

My Art

I guess it is really just folk art. I do have formal training as an artist, but its the emotional and fun connections that I make with people through my art that is most important to me. When creating my pieces I go in and out between “thinking about the audience” and “loosing myself in the process”. I don’t paint purely for me, I consider people viewing it, their reactions, the potential sale… even how it would look in someone home. But most of that happens early in the process, choosing a subject, size and color palette, I’m making it sound more contrived that it is, I consider it… but in the end, I’m painting for me. I always think, “this will never sell, so I better be happy with it hanging on my wall for a long time.”

One of the great challenges I have always had is that I love so many different styles of art. And I identify with so many different styles. So, I do some primitive style, some modernist, some cubist, some simplified, some graphic, some paint marker, some digital and some realistic. My work has always moved in styles, but seems to have always been about transitions… Changing one thing into another, evolving,  applying one idea to another thing. And it has almost always been whimsical, fun and accessible. As with most art forms, it’s easier for artist to create dark, painful and sullen creations. I know as a song writer I can write a good depressing song in a day, but writing a GOOD uplifting one is tough. Same goes for acting, it’s tough to be a comedy actor and still be considered a serious craftsmen. This is the challenge I give myself in my art. How do I portray a good, positive feeling, a fun engaging image, and still be art? I dont know the answer, but this is what I’m trying to do.

As for my process.

I get asked about it a lot with these portraits. My process is almost never the same way twice when it comes to the details, but the over view of it is pretty consistent. I find or take photos of people. I look for certain traits that I want to accentuate. I may bring them into Photoshop and piece together a composite. Then I stretch and distort the image to get the feel I want. (this sometimes happens with Photoshop, sometimes a consumer level app on my iPad). From there, I usually take the image to my iPad and use a painting app and create a digital painting of the image where I can fix tones, workout strokes, and just play a bit. After I’m happy with the iPad painting (or sometimes earlier in the process) I project it onto a canvas and use a graphite stick to make a kind of paint-by-numbers style outline. This is where the fun happens. I start with a wet, water only brush and turn the graphite into my base layer. I end up with a watercolor, black and white image. Then color starts. I keep a very limited color palette ( no real reason, I feel it keeps me focused to not have to many different paint tubes). I use acrylic heavy body and soft body, I start with washes, blocking in color and I get more and more opaque as the painting progresses.  As the painting starts relieving it’s self I become more scattered in my process, working lights and darks at the same time, finishing details before color blocking is complete. And I get to paint where I just stop, let it all dry and come back to it a day or so later. I will often re- paint the picture over the current one… I always think I’m just going to lighten this, or darken that, then before I realize it, I’ve completely painted over everything.


I’m always doing something. Here is a taste.

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“Glad that I like his work since all my walls are covered with it.”
Lora Nunn


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