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Art & Life with James Sanders

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Sanders.

James, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I began painting and drawing around age 6 or 7. My first painting was of a dog. I used enamel paints I found in my model car kit and painted it on notebook paper. I still have it in my a storage box.

Throughout elementary and high school I was an art student. I made a commitment to art during these years, and I think this decision is what has kept me pursuing creative ideas to this day. There were lapses in my creativity of course, and many years were spent working odd jobs feeling lost. In 1996 I moved from the midwest to southwest landing in Phoenix, AZ. This decision to move offered up new opportunities that brought me back to creativity. I met new friends and experienced new environments. Growing up my family was not necessarily aware of the benefits of going to college, and it wasn’t something that was strictly encouraged. My new friends in Phoenix were mostly in school or had their degree. This inspired me to discover higher education, and challenge my self-taught artistry.

My art developed and grew during my college years. I began exhibiting and selling my work within the local art scene in Phoenix. I found inspiration from college course work, and from casual observations of daily life. My paintings began to have a presence, and my style switched on a commodity aspect to the public. It was my day in the sun.

I took this experience and success and forged my own way as an artist. Although rejection and failure was a constant part of my professional development, I decided to seize on the successes that were coming my way. I decided to become my own business representing my own art. I was able to operate my art business in collaboration with other local businesses. It was truly a win-win experience, and it lasted until the great recession of 2008.

From 2008 to 2012, there was not much art making by me. Due to the financial crisis, I pursued my other passion of health and fitness. This work experience began providing me with income to travel, purchase art supplies, and take a break to observe creativity again. I dug deep into my dreams and quiet moments alone. I took notes and made sketches. The fear of failure and spending too much money on canvas and paint was still in the back of my mind. One day I received a commission project from a previous buyer of my work. I again seized the opportunity, and it resulted in my artistic comeback. The body of work I developed from this commission was a real departure from my past artwork, and I was thrilled. I felt good again about myself and the work.

I am currently exhibiting new work, and have ideas for pushing my boundaries. It’s always important to me as an artist to express my personal experiences. The idea is to take my artistic career, use all that I have learned both good and bad, utilize the materials and technology of the time I am living, and break through my own creative barriers.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My art is expressionism mostly through portraits and abstracts. I am certainly a canvas painter, but I often branch off into other materials and sometimes spontaneous sculpture. I work within a very organized studio with very little mess. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I create what I do without any traces left behind. For me, that is part of my creative process. The fact that no traces of paint or materials are detected is an art form to me personally.

The artwork I create is meant to transcend itself. By that I mean I hope to provide the viewer with an experience. The inspirations come forward through daily life, unexpected conversations, and quiet observations. It’s also important to me for the artwork to have quality and skill, but those characteristics must convey an experience. It’s not ever about my own experience, but how the viewer experiences the artwork. My own experience is just how the artwork gets its start.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
Success is an ongoing achievement. I don’t think it has a monetary value or a perception. Success is how you feel about yourself every day you wake up. There will always be something more to achieve, even if it’s to take out the garbage.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have my own website, Facebook, Instagram, and online gallery Saatchi. Through these channels, I can inform the public of new work, current and upcoming exhibits, or to purchase my work.
FB James Sanders
IG jamessandersart

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