Artists’ Perspectives: James Adcox

What is your medium of choice?

I really enjoy oil painting.

When/How did you discover this medium and make it your own?

When I was about fifteen years old my parents bought my twin brother and I paint sets for Christmas.  He received an acrylic set and I acquired an oil paint set.  I never would have thought that those beautiful presents would shape the direction of my art.  Muscling through teaching myself to paint with oils, I learned that I could achieve the vibrant colors I was looking for.  Of course, I had more technical training in college, and truly recognized that this was the medium for me.  I became an oil painter and my brother an acrylic painter.

Where and how do you work?  

I work at home.  I made a studio space in our den and utilize our garage when I make block prints.  For oil paintings, I work in a variety of ways.  Sometimes I paint from life, sometimes from photo references.  Lately, I have been trying to draw more with a paintbrush, at a rapid pace.  This allows for a looser looking painting.  I feel my techniques in all mediums are still evolving. 

How does your creativity/art making fit into your life?  

It’s a struggle.  I love painting, but I also love spending time with my family, my friends, spending time outdoors, plus a full-time job compounds the problem.

Tell us a little about the connection between art and emotion for you.

My personal emotions on any given day may not be evident in my paintings.  Rather I try to capture a narrative, a moment in time (including the emotions with that moment) in a painting.  If it’s a portrait, I hope the viewers sees emotion in subject’s face.  This may not be my emotion, but rather the person I painted.

Have you found current events to be inspirational or stifling? How have they impacted your art? 

Inspirational!  I have yet to put paint on the canvas with the ideas that come from current events, but I hope too soon.  I look for less direct ways to express the current topics of the day, but they are influential in my subject matter.  Some of my favorite paintings from the masters are direct responses to the happenings of their time.

What role does the artist have in society?

Our role is to create and contribute, acknowledging the time period we live in! My artistic goals may be different from other artists, but we are all called to feed the hunger inside us to create.  Dante, best summed it up in the Divine Comedy that art is God’s grandchildren. 

How do you share your creativity? 

Teaching, I love teaching art.  I have been leading drawing classes at the Kenai Community Library for five years and have helped homeschool groups.  Also, art shows allow me to show my creativity.  

What ideas do you have for how artists can share their work with the community?

Participate in community art shows.  These shows can motivate both the artist and the viewers.  Also, try teaching a class on a medium you feel comfortable with – it’s a lot of fun!