James GaylesOakland, CA
I feel an inexplicable urgency to create art. As far back as I could remember this urge has always been present. For me its more than just a profession, it’s a way of life. Rather than treating my art as exercises to master the medium, I view each undertaking as a fantastic journey. I begin with a vague idea of what I envision the outcome to be but I find it invigorating to let the medium dictate the process. In this way the end result always exceed my expectations. This becomes especially true when I run into problems or so-called “mistakes”. Working out the solution to these problems often takes the work to another level.
My style is figurative, integrated with abstract expressionist elements. I strive to capture the power and emotion, the essence of the human. I often focus on cultural themes. I employ a mixed media process with representational watercolor rendering being the focal point. I am by no means a traditionalist. I break a lot of the rules. The only rules, that I impose on myself is that the art has to be aesthetic and have impact. It is with this combination of beauty and impact that I hope to create an emotional spark in those who view my work.
Emmy Award winning artist James Gayles attended Pratt Institute in New York, where he studied under renowned painters Jacob Lawrence and Audrey Flack He simultaneously pursued careers in both fine and commercial art. As a commercial artist he established himself in New York as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, becoming Assistant Director of Graphics at NewsCenter 4, NBC-TV. At NBC he won a television Emmy Award for design and illustration.
Also in New York he was also a two-time winner of Art Direction Magazine’s Creativity Award, one for the NewsCenter 4 logo redesign, and the other for an editorial illustration for the New York Times. Here in the Bay Area he won the first place award for illustration at the California Newspaper Publishers’ Awards.
In addition to NBC and the New York Times, James has illustrated for McGraw-Hill, Random House, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, as well as several advertising agencies on both the East and West coasts.
James’ artwork has been represented by galleries throughout the US. He has won a public art commission from the City of Oakland Craft and Cultural Arts Department, in which he transferred his figurative painting technique to ceramic tile murals. In 2003 he was honored at the Art of Living Black by receiving the Jan Hart-Shuyers Award.
He has been selected twice to show at the California Biennial Watercolor exhibit at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. The City of Richmond purchased one of his paintings for their Civic Center Public Art Project. He has received the City of Oakland’s Individual Artist Grant in 2005, 2007 and 2010, and received two commissions from the Alameda County Art Commission to do a series of paintings for the Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro and for the Ashland Youth Center.