Jim Otis

“When I work, I use color to drawn the observer into my world. Everyone perceives an image differently,as their own eyes view it, and draw their own unique feelings and conclusions, as every other person on the planet has…no one sees the same thing!  My paintings want to lure those feelings and senses to explore beyond what their eyes tell them.”

Jim first attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee in 1964 and initially was enrolled in Illustration and Advertising. “My Father wanted a more practical goal for me other than fine artist.”  But at Layton, Jim had influence from some famous painter/teachers, and the uncontrolled creative environment of painting….compared to the restrictive world of commercial art and illustration. Layton at that time was widely known for innovative teaching styles.

Seeking a more fine art direction, he then attended Minneapolis School of Art in 1966, a broader base for painting style and technique. While in art school, Jim had an guest instructor in named Christo Javacheff, later known as just Christo, the famous Installation artist.  He was a new and became an art school teacher on tour.  Marin county’s,California Running Fence” in 1982, and New York’s Central Park “Gates” in 2005. For the semester project at Minneapolis, Christo created a construction and had 200 art students partake in the installation project    Jim learned from Christo’s boldness,to create what your “art energy”  wants. He had always sold paintings to supplement his art school education. He came west to California, and Santa Cruz  in 1968. He was always, from very early on, done landscapes in the American West, even before he had ever seen the West. He launched a successful career in graphics, while selling his paintings throughout the San Francisco Bay area. He was  involved with the “Visionary Movement” in the late 60s and 70s. Jim had worked a large volume of fantasy landscapes. Jim had won competitions, was in juried shows, fairs, and galleries from San Francisco to Monterey/Carmel.  Local galleries in those days were Cooper House Gallery, and the Felton Guide.

As the economics of the times worsened, He took another job with a growing family to support. He went to work in the fire service. Because of his artistic background, and cartography experience, he helped to implement the 911 system in California in 1976. He drew fire response maps, and illustrated children’s fire safety materials and books. He became a paid firefighter in 1978. As his career of 20 years was coming to a milestone ending, and as retirement approached, he begin anew to feed his drives, and re-entered art in 1998, starting with watercolors.as they were easy for him to refresh himself, and since 2002, has been painting in oils, as he always has since art school days.

“I have drawn my inspirations from Early Chinese landscapes; from Romanticism period, and the American Hudson River School, French Impressionism,and Serrat with his pointillism, the Early Californian plein Air movement. I hold a special spot for Georgia O’Keeffe and Maynard Dixon. their Sense of place with a pioneer spirit, and plein air boldness. And of course, Salvador Dali, the most impressive artist for me. One important contemporary master is Eyvind Earle, and his modern pointillism’ . Jim now works a style called ‘magical realism’, and maintains a studio, on Monterey Bay, in Aptos, California.  Shows, exhibitions, publications, new work, and current projects are viewable on his website.

 

Painting