A Few Digital Sketches, Soon to Be Finished Paintings

Below are a few digital sketches that represent a snapshot of what has been going on in my painting studio lately. Working digitally like this has the huge benefit of offering infinite flexibility when working with colors. I also love to dig for intuitive geometric compositions in my paintings, and Adobe Illustrator is well suited to this kind of sketching. horizontal-studies This sketch should be a finished painting by now, but I keep revisiting it, tweaking the colors to try to achieve the balance of light/dark and intensity that it needs. I ended up going with the top design with the chain of small rectangles running across the diagonal. red-pink-white-blue-concept Continuing to play with the red/pink/white/blue palette and simple—bordering on obvious!—geometry. austin-commission-concept I am currently making the painting that is depicted in this digital concept photo. I created the palette after spending some time at the collectors’ land in west Texas, home of big skies, cedar, mesquite, and earth. When finished, this painting will be an important piece of the collectors’ newly remodeled home! orange-green-red-study This sketch did not make the cut for the above commission, but it has found a place in my painting queue. It uses the west Texas palette, and does some of the things with simple color, light and space that keep my eyeballs coming back to look again.

Prints Available at thefailurestore.com

Sean Slattery—one of my favorite friends and artists—has created an online portfolio/retail store, and I am so happy to be a featured artist on the website! It is called The Failure Store, and it has lots of Sean’s artwork along with his collaborations, including a tiny sample of works for sale by Ripper Jordan, which I was a part of with Sean and artist/friend David Ryan in Las Vegas. Here are the things by me that you can pick up there. Each one is a digital print, 11″ x 14″, signed and dated by me on the back. james_hough_miajames_hough_lorde140502-soccer-ball-web-ready-11x14james_hough_dan_and_phil Thanks for having me, Sean!

Silly M.I.A.

james_hough_mia This is my personal favorite of the Fujikawa-esque fan arts I’ve made. It brings together M.I.A.’s loudness and Gyo’s softness, and I just kind of like how all the pieces came together. Now I need to take some time to finish coloring a piece with the working title, “Bad Blood.”

Dan and Phil, Jumping on the Ultimate Bed

james_hough_dan_and_phil My daughter is devoted to Dan and Phil. It wasn’t practical to fly them out last December for a Christmas surprise, so I made a Gyo Fujikawa-inspired fan art as a gift. I owe her friend Ashley a debt of gratitude for consulting with me to ensure that I didn’t mess up any details! It turns out that Phil’s colorful bed set is available at IKEA, so my daughter’s bed now sports the comforter and pillowcase that you see on the right. Nothing against Dan’s monotones at all—Phil’s palette just works better on her sky blue walls.

Lorde, Riding the Bus with the Knees Pulled In

james_hough_lorde Sometimes when you love a thing you have to do something about it. I love Lorde’s music, and too many times I’ve expressed my feelings by listening to her too much. So, to keep me from overdoing it on the tunes, I made some fan art! I also love Gyo Fujikawa, so I did what I could to channel her line and color, and her light touch:)

3-D Cash Sculptures Passing Each Other in the Mail

My brother turned 30 just before Christmas. He is an artist, jeweler, and gemstone enthusiast, so with a little inspiration I arrived at a novel way to send him his birthday cash: those decade birthdays call for extra recognition, right? 30 Dollar Polyhedron James Hough So here is the 30-sided polyhedron—constructed from 1-dollar bills—that I sent him as a late birthday gift. Late as in post-Christmas. Which means that my brother’s late Christmas gifts to my family must have passed my gift to him in the mail, because we each received our packages within a day of the other. Cash Origami by James Hough's Brother He sent us a cash butterfly and a cash elf boot! We were both shocked and thrilled that our minds had gone to the same obscure place when we decided what gifts to send each other. Neither of us had sent or—as far as I know—even made anything like these cash constructions before! p.s. I should note that though my gift to him was larger in volume, his was larger monetarily:)

Postcard from April 2014

I am working on my current postcard that I mail out to art directors, and it occurs to me that I have not shared my design from April. See? If you need drawings of gardens, furry monsters, or hovering robot artists, I’m your man! James Hough, designer artist illustrator postcard (front), April 2014

Tumbley, 2014

It has been likened to a picture of blood vessels or tumbleweeds, but I call it Tumbley. This painting is approximately 12 paintings made on top of each other then collapsed into one very noisy, smooth surface. Tumbley, 2014, acrylic on canvas, by James Hough James Hough Tumbley, 2014 acrylic on canvas 13.5″ x 63.5″

Our first quilt

Portrait quilt, 2014, by the Houghs My wife’s ancestors were pioneer farmers, and we are carrying on one of their traditions. Quilt-making! We began this one—our first—about 5 years ago then put it on hold for a while until we got some big quilting frames last Christmas. And now we have completed it. The design comes from a photo of our daughter cuddling our son when they were about ages 6 and 1. If you back away from the quilt about 50 feet you can see the image, which is hardly practical, so we content ourselves with wrapping ourselves in our new blanket knowing that the design is a picture of our kids, even if we can’t tell up close. Here’s a tiny picture of it, which shows the image a little better. Portrait quilt (small image), 2014, by the Houghs

Believer, 2013

Believer, James Hough, acrylic on canvas, 31" x 47" Believer, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 31″ x 47″ My most recent painting takes a turn toward representation. I used additive and reductive painting techniques to create the image, as I have been doing in my non-objective works, but this time I was evoking a still life by Henri Fantin-Latour, whose intimate paintings are so quiet, yet sculptural, in the way he uses light and shadow to create space. Plus, finally seeing the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil Collection was a huge inspiration as I approached this painting. Looking at Twombly and Fantin-Latour is humbling and uplifting at the same time, and this painting owes its swirling circular shapes and its palette to both painters.

Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by James Hough, press release

Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1, by James Hough, header image Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1, by James Hough, cover image FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW ART-THEMED COMIC BOOK RELEASED IN DALLAS Jim Public, the enterprise of artist James Hough, publishes Starving Artist, a comic book about art, family, and hamburgers DALLAS, TX — Jim Public is proud to announce the publication of the new comic book Starving Artist: Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by Dallas-based artist James Hough. The comic tells the story of Jim, an artist and family man whose aesthetic ambitions are vitally linked to his domestic and gastric aspirations. “Jim has a plan to sell a painting and use the cash to take his family out for burgers,” says Mr. Hough. “Starving Artist is a slice-of-life story that connects the artist’s career to the artist’s home and family. It is an Anti-Myth of the Artist.” The reader first sees Jim floating pajama-clad through his dreams of fame, fortune, and food before he is abruptly awakened by an early alarm clock. From there he makes his kids breakfast and kisses them good-bye, setting off to exhibit his painting on the downtown Dallas streets. The story is semi-autobiographical, much of it based on Hough’s experiences as the proprietor of his mobile gallery of contemporary art, Jim Public’s Truck. “The gallery continues its mission ‘to present artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways’ with the publication of Starving Artist,” says Hough. “The comic exists digitally and in the traditional paper format, and it costs the tiniest fraction of an original painting, for example. It is an extremely accessible piece of art, a bit spontaneous and very neighborly.” The comic also features Hough’s new painting Burger Night and a bonus educational chart entitled “All Art Is Abstract Art,” which includes the artist’s renderings of famous paintings from art history organized into a concise lesson on abstract art. Starving Artist: Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by James Hough is available on paper at www.jimpublic.com/books and digitally at eBookstores everywhere.

Smashwords

Apple iBookstore

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble Nook

Sony Reader Store

Kobo

I got lights!

Last Saturday, now that it’s already getting dark here in Dallas by 6pm, it was time at last to figure out how to make a self-contained lighting system for the gallery. One portable power device (designed to jump start your car) and two 12.5 watt LED lights later, plus some wood, screws, spray paint, and work light fixtures, I had my solution! Jim Public's Truck with Bump, November 17, 2012, Dragon Street, Dallas TX Henceforth the gallery will be a bright jewel lighting up those nights that I hit the road to show some artwork. It was a chilly evening and more sparsely attended than spring and autumn gallery nights in the Design District. Standing out there in the cold and peaceful darkness under the new lights, I felt a particular surge of good feeling that I usually get only when I’m out in our front yard in December, enjoying the quiet glow of our Christmas lights at home. After Dragon Street I drove to the Fair Park area to Ash Studios, where Fred Villenueva had invited me to a Bring Your Own Art party he was hosting. It was a fun time. I enjoyed the rare chance to bring my work with me, by way of illustrating quite directly what I do when getting acquainted with people at the party. When asked what I did, the questioner and I walked around the gate and there it was, the thing I do.

Bump in Oak Cliff

I took the truck gallery down to Oak Cliff last Saturday and enjoyed a beautiful day. Some friends showed up mid-afternoon and we decided to drive the exhibition of my large canvas Bump around the Bishop Arts District, in search of food, drink, and, eventually, pie. Up until Saturday I had not driven while displaying artwork, but the coziness of the Oak Cliff community and the security of having a friend in the bed of the truck keeping an eye on things were enough to get the gallery past that milestone. Currently I am designing a new wall that will be easier to assemble and strike and that will also give me options for displaying artwork while driving. Always, Jim Public’s Truck is about fun and accessibility. So the mission continues… Jim Public's Truck, Bump, Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX, November 3, 2012 Jim Public's Truck, back room, Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX, November 3, 2012 Jim Public's Truck, Emporium Pies, Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX, November 3, 2012

A Dry Heat paintings

Now that I am preparing for the next Jim Public’s Truck exhibition, it is time to post images of the nine paintings that make up the series I showed last month. The paintings that comprise A Dry Heat are plexiglass panels that I put in watertight vessels full of acrylic paint and water. Before submerging each panel in paint and leaving it in Las Vegas for two years to evaporate fully, I did some mark-making in the white, gessoed underlayer, so each painting has words, pictures, or impressions beneath the color and design left behind by nature’s patient hand.

Jim Public’s Truck will participate in the DADA Fall Gallery Walk on September 22

Jim Public's Truck, Dallas Design District, A Dry Heat Jim Public’s Truck has been invited to participate in tomorrow’s Dallas Art Dealers Association Gallery Walk. I will be parked at 960 Dragon Street from 2 till 8 pm on Saturday, September 22, with A Dry Heat, the ongoing exhibition of paintings made by evaporation in the Mojave desert. I’m looking forward to a beautiful day and I hope to see you there.

Jim Public’s Truck presents A Dry Heat

Jim Public's Truck presents A Dry Heat, banner, September 2012 August 29, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JIM PUBLIC’S TRUCK PRESENTS A DRY HEAT The portable gallery exhibits new paintings rendered by evaporation Opening reception: Saturday, September 8, 3–8pm, parked somewhere on Dragon Street, Dallas, TX, quite possibly on the 1001 block between Payne and Howell DALLAS, TX – Jim Public’s Truck, Dallas’s portable gallery of contemporary art, is proud to present an exhibition of new work by the eponymous artist, Jim Public. His new series, A Dry Heat, comprises nine paintings that Public began in 2010 when he lived in Las Vegas. The artist built a watertight vitrine with nine slots in which he suspended plexiglass panels and poured acrylic washes, submerging each panel in a different color of watery paint. Over the following two years the dry, Mojave air evaporated the moisture from the vitrine, leaving behind nine completed paintings, each a record in pigment of the inexorable natural processes that rendered it. “These paintings come out of my effort to make pictures and objects without exerting a lot of control along the way,” says Public. “I am skeptical of exercising too much power during the art-making process like some kind of aesthetic tyrant. The world is bigger and lovelier when you relax.” The paintings of A Dry Heat embody a collaboration between the artist and the arid climate of southern Nevada, and, two years having elapsed during their making, they also represent a time capsule for the artist. “When I first took out the paintings to look at them I saw the phrases and designs that I had made in the substrates before adding the paint washes. I remember thinking in 2010 that these marks would be like artifacts from the past, but I did not consider that the artist doing the excavating in 2012 would be a changed person, one who might no longer love these phrases and designs. In other words, for me, looking closely at these paintings is kind of like looking at an old yearbook: we can change how we feel about the past, but we cannot change the past itself.” The nine paintings—direct products of physical law acting over time—will debut at a reception for the artist on Dragon Street in the Dallas Design District on Saturday, September 8, 3–8pm. Jim Public’s Truck is a contemporary art gallery committed to presenting artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways.

Jim Public’s Truck, my mobile gallery, is in gear

Thank you to everyone who stopped to look, ask questions, and say encouraging things during the gallery’s first event this past Saturday. The debut of Jim Public’s Truck was a lot of fun for me, a great experience. I am proud of the gallery and excited to experiment with its possibilities. I love when art is serious yet informal, straightforward but not simple, fun without being obsequious. These are the qualities I’m after when I make stuff and do stuff. I look forward to the next event! Jim Public's Truck, Dallas Design District, July 28, 2012, sign Jim Public's Truck, Dallas Design District, July 28, 2012, ready for first event Jim Public's Truck, Dallas Design District, July 28, 2012, installed Jim Public's Truck, Dallas Design District, July 28, 2012, talking to some art fans Jim Public's Truck, Dallas Design District, July 28, 2012, from behind

Announcing Jim Public’s Truck

Jim Public's Truck July 23, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW MOBILE ART GALLERY DEBUTS IN DALLAS Jim Public’s Truck will present exhibitions from the bed of a pickup truck Opening reception: Saturday, July 28, 5–9pm, somewhere on Dragon St. DALLAS, TX – A new contemporary art venue, Jim Public’s Truck, will open on Dragon Street at 5pm on Saturday, July 28, in conjunction with Design District Gallery Day. The exhibition space consists of a white, modular 8’ x 7’ wall and a blue 2001 Chevy Silverado. The proprietor is Dallas-based artist James Hough, who works under the name Jim Public, and who has designed the gallery to fit comfortably within a parking space, making the operation both compact and flexible. “Any place where I can legally park can now be the site of an art exhibition,” says Mr. Public. “Like most galleries and museums, Jim Public’s Truck follows the convention of using white walls and pedestals for displaying fine art, it just does so on the back of a motor vehicle. I am not reinventing the wheel, just putting a gallery on it.” Building a truck-mounted, artist-run gallery space is part of Public’s broader effort to conduct a grassroots art career, one in which he can cultivate a closer relationship with his audience. “I admire how comedians and musicians can tour and gig if they’re willing to put in the work. They create an experience and build an audience all while practicing their craft. And there are bands like the Flaming Lips who strive to connect with their fans in unpredictable and intimate ways, like creating music using fans’ car stereos or cell phones, taking their art out of the studio and off the stage. They are writing their own rulebook—sometimes tearing out the pages—as they go. This is what an artist does, and this is what I am doing with my gallery.” Jim Public’s Truck will debut with the exhibition Jormungand Releases His Tail, featuring Public’s painting by the same name. Public’s recent work is rooted in the pictorial tradition of second-generation abstract expressionists such as Joan Mitchell whose paintings straddle the border between gesture and chaos. Using abrasives to cut through built-up layers of acrylic, Public adds and removes paint over weeks and sometimes months until the painting reaches a point of what he calls, quoting Richard Diebenkorn, “rightness.” Jim Public’s Truck is a contemporary art gallery committed to presenting artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways.

Superhero Kid Portrait on Canvas

Jim Public, Superhero Kid, June 4, 2012 I received some commissions to make a few superhero portraits on canvas. I was able to make the colors and characterization a little richer in these paintings than in the works on paper, and to experiment with depth of color and lighting effects by using acrylic glazes. Here is the first one I finished.

Group Exhibition Event in Dallas

406 South Haskell Avenue Dallas, TX 75226 Sunday, March 11, 2012 6pm to 12am My friend James Whitmire invited me to participate in this one-night art and music event in downtown Dallas. I will be showing prints of some of the drawings I’ve made of my neighbors standing in front of their homes, as well as one intensively sanded abstract painting. I hope to see you there! American Dream by the Occupy Dallas Culture Committee