A digital sketchbook

Featured Artist on HAI

Exciting news to announce! I've been selected as one of three featured artists of the week on the Hire and Illustrator portfolio website.  Super cool to be represented like that on the opening website page.  Immediately went into a flurry of activity updating the gallery and adding images. Big things happening with new clients, percolating under the surface, check back often for updates here or on my Instagram profile. View recent personal and client work in my portfolio via this link to the HIA website and a short cut to my portfolio.

Off to Atlanta this weekend to be a vendor with the Terminus Legion supporters group Saturday morning of the MLS Cup Final between ATL United FC and Portland Timbers. Thanks for stumbling upon this post, clicking, swiping, reading and being a supporter of the arts. Best Wishes.

May The Biscuit Be With You

Had lots of fun being given full creative freedom during the design of these chalkboard art signs for Maple Street Biscuits.  Created a social media board and a fun Star Wars tribute as I kept hearing the phrase asked to customers, "what are you in the mood for, savory or sweet?"  Hence the yin and yang symbol that helps jump start your mind when navigating a menu from breakfast and lunch items, vegan options to straight up chicken and waffles. Trust your feelings your stomach may thank you later.

Chalkboards were laid out with white charcoal pencil and painted by had with liquid chalk. For more on watching my process in action check out these videos of the project on Youtube.

StationHouse St Pete: Co-work space

Excited to announce that StationHouse has selected me to be their official chalk artist! Creating boards to match their exhibits such as sidewalk signs and update the chalks in their conference rooms and lobby.  Office space with a modern twist this location serves over two hundred members who use a mix of virtual and in person office spaces, common areas to run their business and network with other entrepreneurs and creatives.  The building itself is historical and has roots in St Pete history, check it out for five floors of adventures, cuisine, cocktails or coffee under the white brick arches located at 260 1st Ave S in downtown St. Pete, Florida.

Sign was laid out with white charcoal pencils and finished with liquid chalk markers that were drained into a container via drilling into the back of the markers and then hand-lettered by brush. Enjoy this time lapse video on Youtube of the work in action.

Holiday Boutique at FL CraftArt

Chalk sign for the new exhibit at Florida CraftArt Gallery focused on the holidays and gift ideas for yourself and loved ones.  Always enjoy working on signs for this local non-profit arts organization.  I also guide mural tours with FLCraftArt on Saturday mornings. Check out their website for more info on bike and walking mural tours. Visit the new exhibit in person which runs until December 1st at their location on 501 Central Avenue in St. Pete, Florida.

Maple Street Biscuits Menu Boards

Sign art commission by the community leader of the Central Ave location of Maple Street Biscuits in downtown St Pete, FL. This is the most chalk art I've ever done for the same client and location, almost one chalk board for each day of the week! Exciting to be working on my skills and learning from each surface and design challenge. Was definitely well fed and caffeinated on this job. Stop by their restaurant for comfort food with a modern twist. Done with liquid chalk markers, nu-pastels by Prismacolor, hand drawn with white charcoal and painted with brush.

Check out some of the time-lapse video of the work in action on my  Youtube channel and Instagram account.

Reveal: St Pete Streets

Exciting opportunity last month to be part of an official SHINE mural festival event at the Station House in St. Pete Florida. Diana Bryson commissioned me to do chalk art for her art lecture, group art exhibit and fashion show all about the intersections of street art, fashion and mural scenes, colliding to make St. Pete a unique city.  The project involved one A-frame sign as a creative directory to help guests find what was happening on each floor on the building. Also a 13 by 8 ft chalk wall that served as a selfie-station in one of the conference rooms for rent visible from the street and front entrance suitcase at 260 1st Ave South.

This was a fun project using white charcoal pencils for layout and Zig-Posterman brand liquid chalk markers for the letters, add a bit of nu-pastel chalk for pops of color and shading on the left most logo for the part of the show involving Mesu Gallery 360 and the mannequin meets spray paint can on the right. The opening night of October 12th was jam packed and great to reunite with local artists that I met last year during a group painting project at the HIVE during last years SHINE event. Knowledge was dropped during the panel discussion with local artists, art store owners and a member of the St. Pete Arts Alliance about how the city grew over time to cultivate a vibrant art community through crown jewels like the Morean Arts Center, the Dali Museum and Chihuly Collection.

Hard to believe its already November, more posts to come as many projects are being juggled at the same time. Been so busy that I've been neglecting updates on the blog. Excited to announce I'm renewing advertising through the Directory of Illustration for their 35th publication. Check out my recently updated portfolio page on their website here.

Beat Poetry Contest

It is National Literacy month y'all so this post is in step with that theme. The grassroots charity Keep St. Pete Lit is not only celebrating their 5th year anniversary but is also organizing a Beat Poetry contest. Fifteen dollars per entry with a limit of 3 entries per person for $45. The top five winners will be taking home a Kerouac shirt and having prime time spots live on the mic for reading their work at the next Friends of Jack Kerouac House event hosted by the Flamingo Sports Bar.  Poems are due by October 1st.  This is a hand lettered flyer, touched up on Photoshop, from a fun project collaboration with Maureen McDowell, the Literary Queen of St. Pete and founder of Keep St. Pete Lit. The next Kerouac night event will take place October 20th at 1230 MLK St N in St. Pete, FL. Contest entry link here.

Josef Martinez

Congrats to the attacking talents of Josef Martinez, striker for Atlanta United and the Venezuelan national team.  In his second season with the club, Josef the "Hat Trick King" has broken the single season goal scoring record with many games left in the season. He has netted a total of 28 goals in 26 games. Long may that success continue!  This is a tribute piece that evolved from spoofing different Atlanta advertisements for SoccerCon back in June.  Can you guess which Rap group's billboard this portrait pay homage to? Done with Posca Paint Pens and Micron pens to keep those clean lines. Work in progress, could use some red to tie the whole color scheme of ATLUnited FC together.


Live drawing done for drummer and artist Ron Anderson Jr aka RhythmInAction.  Done during a show at the Bunker in Ybor City with talented bassist RugawdMusik. Been working on touching this one up, adding Ron's logo, with some banners and text in the background.  Hire me as a live painter for your band, function or performance.  Pen and ink image done with FWinks and Posca Paintpens.

Directors Choice, the Studio at 620

After showing twice in larger group shows at Studio620 in January and June, I was elated to receive news of being chosen for the Directors Choice exhibit for July along with six other artists. The artwork was on display from July 9th-July 30th. The versatile space that is the Studio at 620, 1st Ave South in St Pete, Florida celebrating its 14th year in business, hosts a variety of events from participating in Second Saturday Artwalk, open mic nights to performing arts, live music and yoga classes to name a few.

During the closing night of the show a panel discussion with five of the seven artists took place, hosted by gallery owner Bob Devin Jones.  Interesting discussion with insight into our earliest memories gravitating towards creating art, inspiration or themes behind our work and where we see ourselves and the city of St. Pete in 3-5 years.  Enjoyed meeting other creatives, learning why like myself they moved to the area and getting the local artist's perceptive on how the city has transformed in the last twenty years.

Gratitude to the staff at the gallery for all the work they do for the art community and also hanging a show that really flowed, capturing the viewers attention. Enjoyed the variety of art on display from 3-D sculptural work by Alan Johnson, to 2-D abstract paintings on metal by Angela Alvarez, figurative work by Patton Hunter in oils and acrylics, botanical paintings by Mary Khosh, work sealed with encaustic wax by Eva Broadbent, watercolors, pen and ink illustration, charcoal drawings by myself and canvas prints by Katie Deits.   This was my first opportunity to display a large amount of art with thirteen works total on display.  Recent works mainly made in 2017-2018 on canvas, paper and wood, including three black and white images from 2006.

Copa Mundial 2018

Hope that everybody out there is enjoying a summer of fun. Most of my recent art has been fĂștbol themed as I have been stricken with World Cup Fever! Lots of effort getting artwork together for last months ATLSoccerCon more on that in another post.

Recent chalkboard art for MacDintons Pub in St Pete, FL hand lettered sign art done with love between the Argentina vs France match and the Portugal vs Uruguay thriller. Layouts with white charcoal pencil and finished with Bistro brand water soluble chalk markers. If you know anyone in need of sign art of chalkboard menus email me James (at sign) artbyjamese.com

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering

New signs up in recent weeks for exhibits at Florida CraftArt Gallery in St. Pete, Florida.  Amazing to watch the visiting Tibetan Monks creating a scared sand mandala and in turn to have a dissolution ceremony where it was swept up, blessed and reunited with nature after a procession to the waters of Tampa Bay. Chalk lettered designs done by hand with Bistro brand liquid chalk markers and laid out with a white charcoal pencil. 

Much like the sand mandala the monks created, this chalk sign was around for less than a week before being wiped clean.  Take note the monks explained they were not destroying the sand art they made but rather it was taking on another stage of creation. Similar to our cultural differences trying to understand death and life as separate, from the Buddhist perspective, there are no endings only beginnings.

Reminded me of the impermanence of life and often the art we make may not be around for a long time but that shouldn't lessen its potential impact on other people and neither should it lessen the inherent value of art and expression.  Some moments can't be captured on a camera, some things take time to do properly. Made me feel better about the path in life I am on, a journey of discovery as an artist, helped me feel good about taking 5-6 hours to design, layout and finish chalk boards. Much like the monks folded over the mandala, drawing and shading with grains of sand, we contort and bear with hot environments or surface challenges and overcome those hurdles to make art. Hopefully it captures the viewers attention and provokes thought. 

Dolls & Where They Live, exhibit is currently on show within the lovely air conditioned gallery space of Florida CraftArt.  Opening was last Friday, June 8th and featured a variety of dolls, creatures and environments, from dark oddities with shades of Tim Burton to welcoming miniature tree houses full of charm and detail. Check out the show and its numerous events and workshops, on display until July 28th.

"What's so funny about peace, love and understanding..."
-Elvis Costello

Mural Tours Sign for FLCraftArt

Call or sign up online for weekly walking tours of local murals curated by Florida CraftArt Gallery  Enjoyed working on both sides of this large sidewalk sign and doing new chalk lettering, hand made with love.  Once a month there are bike tours, limited to twenty people, done in partnership with Coast Bike Share. For a discount bring your own bike.  The colors were inspired by Coast Bike's logo and a recent record store day find, Purple Rain by Prince.

100 Films Part 2 at Green Bench Brewing

The opening reception for the 100 Film's Show at Green Bench Brewing in St. Pete, FL is tonight from 7-11 PM. The art show was rescheduled from last week due to bad weather.  Should be a gorgeous night for the event.  Showcasing the work from 100 artists who submitted work samples, were accepted to participate, given a list of 300 films to pick from, we all received the same 1ft square wood panel to render their work upon.  This is my first time participating in this event or any show curated by Chad Mize.  Decided to challenge myself and stay away from repeating subject matter like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars and chose the oddly relevant again Cold War film directed by Stanley Kubrick.  Can you guess which one?

"Dr Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" for a black and white film released in 1964 the themes at play have been revived by our current political climate.  Themes rearing their ugly heads again like the tension of a shooting war between Russia and United States, atomic era brinkmanship, espionage, jingoism and school yard style squabbles between immature leaders that hold the fate of the planet hostage.  For anyone up for watching a classic, check it out. You will hopefully enjoy and be slightly frightened by both the parallels and how little we have truly advanced in the fifty-four years since then.  Peter Sellers is a comic genius in the film playing three different characters including the President, a former Nazi scientist and a British Officer of the Royal Air Force. 

Hope to see you out at the show tonight, the final image has a twitter bird icon on each of the bombs. Symbolic of the damage that can be wrought on many levels from both the physical and digital bombs launched by our current, "stable genius" President Number 45.  Acrylic paint and ink on wood, sealed with a UV protector top coat.  Happy Friday to everyone out there.

Florida CraftArt Gallery opening night; Dia de las Muertos

Freshly done chalkboard signs for a new client in Florida CraftArt Gallery to help promote their nuevo exposition, or newest exhibit.  Check out the opening event 4/6 from 5:30-8:30pm tonight in St. Pete, FL.  This show was curated by Mark Noll and includes 200 plus pieces of art, with one hundred and sixty sugar skulls on display.  Each work of art tells a story and is part of the offrenda, or tribute, paying respects to the 3,000 year old Aztec tradition of remembering the dead not with grief but with a celebration of life.  Two months of events are planned around this central theme, closing night on 5/26. To find out more info and sign up for events like opening night face painting use this link to FLCraftArt.

My skull is paper mounted to wood, a watercolor painting meets and ink drawing, entitled "Son's of Medellin" it is a tribute to my SCAD professor who passed away, George Alvarez.  And to Andres Escobar, a professional soccer player with over 250 games played, appeared for his country 51 times, the Captain of Columbia's National Team during the 1994 World Cup, nicknamed, The Gentleman. Best known for his quote, "Life does not end here."

More on breathing new life into their stories in a previous post from March. Sign art done with Liquid Chalk Markers, got these at Whimsodoodle my new favorite art supply store right in downtown, St Pete off 2nd Ave South.  Super excited about having art in another gallery show and to help take FL CraftArt's sidewalk signs to a new level.  Did a preliminary drawing with a white chalk pastel pencil, this is the most info I've even been asked to include in a sign. But definitely a fun hand-lettering challenge. Hope to see out at there this weekend. Cheers.

Look At Me, Group Art show 4/7

Here is my entry in the upcoming self-portrait exhibition, Look At Me, at the Iberian Rooster on April 7th.  The show has been curated by Diana Bryson and I'm excited my art was accepted to be part of the experience.  The work is inspired by the recent Day of the Dead entry, "Son's of Medellin" and San Fransisco Artist Jeremy Fish's conceptual and graphic illustration style. Done with pen and ink, watercolors and gauche.

All the area codes of places I've lived are featured along with skylines of Atlanta, GA and St. Pete, FL.  Come out to the show and I will be happy to explain the symbolism and allegory in person.  The piece is titled, "Art Nerd Life" and is an effort to essentially show what makes me up in a visual nutshell,  as opposed to the classical portrait of my external self. 

Sign Art for Mastry's & Saint Somewhere Brewery

New lettering art projects in different locations. Two local brewing companies have collaborated to make a new brew from sea-grapes called Raisin De Mer or Raisin of the Sea.  Locally sourced, wild picked sea-grapes have been filtered and condensed into a syrup, then combined with the magic of a Saint Somewhere Brewery's wizardry created the world's first commercial beer made from this tropical secret.

In celebration of all things related to Tampa Bay Beer Week, this new sea-grape beer has just been tapped! It is only available on site at either Mastry's Brewing Co in St Pete Beach, Florida or up in Tarpon Springs at Saint Somewhere Brewing's Belgian style tasting room.

Working with these new client's has been really enjoyable, creating chalkboard art for the special occasion. Lettering was drawn with liquid chalk markers, which I highly recommend to any artists out there.  Hopefully one of many sign art projects to come at these local establishments.

Not normally a fan of sour beers this brew has a unique flavor that goes down easy. Those hard to describe elements of eating a sea-grape are distant but present. Sweet, tart, sour and slightly salty. Try one out for yourself its quite refreshing in the glorious spring weather. As always out there folks enjoy your drinks responsibly.

Dias de las Muertos show at FLCraftArt Gallery

Experimenting with a new multi image, conceptual style on this group show entry.  A hundred word story attached below will accompany this sugar skull in the Day of the Dead Show, a personal tribute for two men born in Medellin, Columbia who passed on before their time, their tales ending abruptly.  However, by telling their stories' that memory can live onward and take new shape.  The creation of this art brought up some dark past for me and brooding introspection on life choices, and what could have been. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker, Jorge Alvarez influenced my art in a brief span of time, only two years, but we connected on many levels about art, futbol and music. His teachings set me on a different path in life, helped me to navigate troubled waters, and see a new horizon of possibilities for my art. His good vibes, wisdom and story continues to echo out in the universe for eternity.  But its up to us to not forget and honor those in our past.  Been drawing inspiration from watching the Pixar film, Coco.  Watercolors and FW inks on bone colored watercolor paper, mounted with Lineco Brand archival glue onto wood.  Opening reception will be April 6th, from 5:30 to 8pm at FLCraftArt Gallery.

It would be good to see elements of the Dias de las Muertos traditions crossover into the USA. Everyone deals with death and grief differently but I think the communal element of making an offrenda, honoring one's family roots and tending to, cleaning the cemetery, making paths with flowers for the spirits to follow, makes the concepts of life and death more grounded and accessible for people to understand, especially children. In summary, life is short and we only get one. Speak your truth; boldly and often, express gratitude to those who influence your life; if you know someone is in the hospital visit them; because they could be in hospice next and gone from this earth quickly after.  If you have a teacher that changed your life for the better let them know that, if you love someone, tell them. Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug. Happy Friday y'all enjoy the weekend.

"Jorge Alvarez was my professor at SCAD in 2005. His class helped me view my art skills differently. I was recruited to work on murals and the influence of those teachings changed my path in life from a film major to Illustration.  Jorge grew up in Brooklyn, loved music, futbol, Frank Sinatra, and his beloved bulldog, Lucy.  Jorge passed away in 2007 from complications related to HIV. Andres Escobar was the captain of Columbia's National Soccer Team, scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup, and was murdered on his return home. Sport should heal and unite not divide us."

Concert Art Gift

Had the pleasure of watching Leilani Wolfgramm open for The Green at the State Theater in St. Pete, FL earlier in the month.  Made a piece of word art for the occasion and gave it to the band via their merchandise guy, Justin.  Bought the limited release album of her's called Live Wire. Those powerful lyrics were even more impactful live and in person.  If you have a chance to see either of these bands do it!  The Green are like the Temptations of the reggae community with their harmony and sweet vocals.

St Pete Robot Art Exchange @ Bar 548

Busy getting new pen and ink works ready for a group art show on Central Avenue this Saturday night. Check out the sixth annual St. Pete Robot Art Exchange at Bar 548 from 8-11.  Enjoy this link to a promotional video of the event. Looking forward to a fun time as it's my first year participating.  Here is a sample from the process art of the series I'm doing on paper with FW Acrylic inks.  My work is playing around with themes about the ever-evolving use of technology in our daily lives, human vs machine, nature vs manmade, good robot vs bad robot. Hoping to see you out there doing your best Robot or Robot-Boogie. 

Robot Art Promotional Video

Live Painting Word Art

La Liga Word Art; Barca ye Madrid

Enjoy these pieces of word art featuring teams from Spain's top soccer division, La Liga.  The  images are formed in the shape of the club crest, like a coat of arms or logo in the footballing world. The badge is much beloved or reviled deeming or your loyalty to a local club or national team and its colors.  The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, known as El Classico, is one of the most watched in terms of global tv audience, most complex rivalries in sports history, with layers of history and political influence far beyond the physical trophy cabinet or stadiums that house these footballing giants. Each image is created using the names of all the players in the 2017-18 first team rosters, respectively, and done by hand with dip pen and brush, using FW acrylic inks.

Group Show at the Studio620, January 19th

Come out this Friday, 1/19 from 6-9pm for the closing reception of a group show entitled, S.I.P.P.  The sharpie, ink, pen and pencil show put out an open call to local artists and my work as accepted.  Honestly can't think of a better way to start of the New Year with positive vibes by connecting with fellow creatives. 

A well attended opening happened on 1/13 as part of the second Saturday ArtWalk throughout downtown St. Pete, FL.  Four of my sports themed word art pieces were framed up and on display.  It was great evening meeting new friends and getting to talk with other artists about their process and work hanging on the walls.  Excited to have my TB Lighting art grouped up under the title of the show with other talented artist such as, left to right, Lupy and Jenny Jo Kosharek.  

Art will remain on display until February 3rd.  I have a total of four framed works, all originals, done with dip pen, brush and FW acrylic inks. The typography art on display are 2017-18 rosters for EPL teams Manchester United pictured below, Manchester City, Brighton Hove Albion FC and the NHL side Tampa Bay Lightning.  I have been working on more word art, club crests of Spain's top two teams, check back for updates.