My work is born of a desire is to use color, texture and shape in a way that invites the viewer into the painted environment. If you don't want to physically touch my paintings, I feel like I haven't been successful. My work allows me to explore on an organic, primal level my relationship to the environment and to others as an African American, Southern-born man. I create non-objective paintings in mixed media that evoke my rural, agricultural, African American ancestry and often celebrate personal exploration. My sources of inspiration are varied, from a Santeria priest's front door photographed in Havana, Cuba to the topography of my family's farm in Meigs County, Tennessee. Paintings just come to me in the form of images or ideas that I can’t get out of my head. It’s almost like a spirit possesses me -- or like Robert Johnson sang, “a hellhound’s on my trail.” I just have to shake it off and release it. African American folk culture, folk religions, and the South hugely influence me. I chose long ago to paint for myself, to master the abstract vocabulary, and create as much mojo on my canvases as my mind and spirit could handle.
Biography: I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know. -- Billie Holiday Style: Non-objective Works in Mixed Media Technique: Works with painting knife, limited brushwork, on canvas. Often incorporating other elements such as seeds, soil, paper, etc. Background: James McKissic’s paintings bring to mind his rural, agricultural, African American ancestry and celebrate personal exploration. His sources of inspiration are varied, from a Santeria priest's front door photographed in Havana, Cuba to the topography of his family's farm in Meigs County, Tennessee. James has visited thirteen countries; often traveling serves as his muse. He is a native of Cleveland, Tennessee. He has been making art for over eighteen years and studied art at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Cleveland State Community College and the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, CT. He has also studied educational video production at the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and filmmaking at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Artistic influences include the painters, Frank Bowling, Romare Bearden, Helen Frankenthaler, Beauford Delaney, Norman Lewis and Franz Kline. James exhibits his work throughout the region and sells to private collectors. James' show Rootworkers and Railroad Tracks, a one-man show, will open August 22, 2008 at the Chattanooga African American Museum and Research Center. As 2007 came to an end, James was excited to have been asked to offer three paintings in a group show at WTCI PBS Channel 45's new corporate office and studio. This show opened with a gala reception. James' work is currently on display at the Fine Line Gallery in Atlanta, GA and the Fathom Gallery in Downtown Chattanooga, TN. His painting, Smoke, Lilies, Jade is part of a group show at the UNUM Provident Corporate Offices; and, he has two paintings in the show, Up From the Roots, at Memorial Healthcare System. In October of 2006, one of James' paintings was presented as a gift to Dr. Maya Angelou by the writer Clarence Nero; and, in February 2007, James was awarded an Emerging Artist Scholarship as part of the 4 Bridges Art Festival. This two day festival was held April 21 and 22, 2007. In early 2007 James exhibited his work at the Dalton Creative Arts Guild in a show he curated entitled Chow Chow: A New, Regional Mix of African American Artistic Voices. He has also exhibited as a student at the Cress Gallery at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, The Chattanooga African American Arts Festival, The Tennessee Valley Art Competition at Cleveland State Community College, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Corporate Offices, Hall Neighborhood House, the Burroughs Center and other community centers and public and private schools. He is a former member of the Plowhaus Artists Collective and showed his work at their gallery in East Nashville. James participates in the Association for Visual Artists (Chattanooga) Corporate Art Program. He exhibits his paintings with them in the greater Chattanooga area. James is represented by the Fine Line Gallery in Atlanta, GA. 460 Boulevard SE Atlanta, GA 30312. Phone(404)624-3900 and Fathom Gallery, 412 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN (423)227-2652. His work is also available at OutLoud Bookstore, 1703 Church Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37203. He holds a MPA in Nonprofit and Public Management from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School at New York University and a BS in Secondary Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is a former teacher, and spent two years as an AmeriCorps Member and AmeriCorps Leader in Atlanta, Georgia. He is currently employed by the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga.
Country: United States
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