James V. Vissari
I didn't choose art, art choses me. I can honestly say that art has chosen me as its instrument. When I was a toddler, my father entertained himself with paint by numbers. I was interested in how the fluid acrylic stayed in between the lines on the velvet to make an image. I thought, "I can do that". Instead of Sesame Street, I wanted to watch Bob Ross. I wanted to show people that I could paint beautiful images like Bob. In fifth grade art class, a friend who had gone to art school told me to draw what I see. When I did, people would come to see what I’d drawn. From that moment, I drew everything, all the time.
I was sent to art school at a very young age.. I dragged all of my gear on the Metro and went downtown to the Corcoran School of Art where I found myself with very talented artists. I was put in charge of the art window in high school displaying artwork for the art department. I was always in the art room. On a frequent basis, classmates and family asked me to draw for them. It became natural for me to be drawing and painting all the time. Friends encouraged me to enter shows and sell my work. Except in art classes, at the universities, I had difficulty paying attention unless I was drawing the instructor. I was accepted into advanced drawing classes after showing the Art department chairman my portfolio. As a result, I was able to skip past a few years of required drawing and move on to advanced instruction.
After my time at school, I tried other careers. I was able to work full time and have my art as a second job. As my art abilities progressed, I still wanted to learn more and do more art. I spent years researching and discovering techniques. I spoke with everyone in the art business including galleries, artists, instructors and anyone who had anything to do with art. I read books and bought supplies. When I couldn't find instruction, I taught myself.
A day without art is impossible for me. I have allowed art to consume me. I tried going to my "nine to five" job only to feel frustrated that I wasn't at home, painting, drawing or sculpting something. I became involved with art organizations and developed programs that allowed me to interact with artists of superior knowledge and skills so my colleagues and I could learn. I studied Leonardo DaVinci and Rembrandt. I even took jobs as an EMT and later as a mortician to experience what Rembrandt and DaVinci may have seen while studying human anatomy. I have a passion to see, experience and express what I see in hopes that others can see what I see.
Often I'm caught gazing at things. Friends ask me, "What are you looking at?" I see beautiful things. I see amazing shades, hues, shapes and contrast that I want to show the viewer. I love when I think, "I never noticed that before". I want to share that with everyone. Some of the work that I create is very large. I've done work that is as big as 3X10 feet. I want to be able see it from across the room when I'm old and start to lose my vision. I've also captured moments in my pocket sized sketchbook. These images show scattered, inviting moments of travels in my everyday life. They are familiar and comforting to most people. I bring my sketchbook everywhere. I'm always working on the next show, contest or teaching assignment. I do it from the time before I wake up (I dream art) to when I fall asleep, with a pen in my hand. Usually, the day starts slowly with emails. A good day ends with me using my technique, knowledge and skill to create something. I’ve heard people say that I live and breathe art. This is so true about me.
Currently, there are many photo realistic paintings I've done and am working on for judged shows. I experience some days of plein air painting and other days of studio work.
I enjoy having art to connect with people. One comment in my guestbook was from a young admirer who wrote, "I like your trees. They're like a Hollywood movie". I hope my art makes people stop and look at things. I want the viewer to find something interesting that they might normally miss, overlook or find ordinary. I want people to see and enjoy all the colorful, shape filled, shadowy, contrasting and subtle and exciting moments that we share.