A moody non-representational pencil drawing that evokes a tempestuous setting.

James Howard Collins, The Distribution of Time (2021). Graphite pencil on fabriano paper . 27.5 x 40 in.

I was born in Brooklyn in 1963, where I still live and work. I graduated Pace University with a B.S. in Art, but rather than follow a typical trajectory of graduate school, I enlisted in the U.S. navy. From 1990 to 1995, I served as a navy photographer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. In the decades that followed, I worked as a photojournalist in various capacities at organizations that included The Virginian- Pilot, The Associated Press and NBC News.
I left the world of journalism in 2018 and dedicated myself entirely to creating art.
I began by working in a drawing book, exploring expressive lines, mostly without color. The fact that I never intended to show anyone the work in the book afforded me a complete freedom.
The drawings in that book became foundational to what I would do over the next few years.
For four months in late 2021, I participated in an artist-in-residence program at DRAW International in Caylus, France. DRAW’s directors believe strongly in drawing as a means to unlocking creativity irrespective of any particular artistic endeavor. My own practice has always been closely linked to gestural line, so that’s where my interest began.
In the past, I have used drawn line to demarcate form as well. I found this approach led to a graphic effect, an evocation of advertising and other forms of popular visual communication.
In Caylus, I moved away from this approach. First I needed to distance myself from the tendency for my own gestural marks to repeat themselves. How to go about making expressive marks that are removed from my own intention, but at the same can connect with something authentic within?

I made several small wire sculptures, pieces that in themselves are like three- dimensional drawings. Next I observed the shadows these sculptures created when illuminated and silhouetted against paper. My light source was an old style overhead projector which allowed me to put fragments of the sculptures on the bed of the machine and project those shadows as well. Now, I had some interesting sources for both line and shape.
The drawings in this body of work were done with graphite pencil. After putting down basic outlines of the sculptural forms, I would set to work at slowly and deliberately enhancing and obliterating lines. The images that then emerged suggest both decaying and burgeoning forms - hence, a tension.
The gouache paintings combine these explorations with the emotional qualities of various colors.