Hi, my name is James Holmes, and I’m here at my studio in Denver’s art district, the Art District on Santa Fe, and I’m really excited to be a part of the AIGA Colorado Creatives at Denver Design Week, and the team at AIGA asked if I would answer a few questions that relate to my creative path and our creative community. So let’s get started.
First question is, what is the best advice that I’ve received for my creative career, and from whom? And, the best advice I received along my creative path was to understand whose shoulders I’m standing on. And that advice was given to me by a local art consultant by the name of Colleen Fanning. and What Colleen was trying to help me understand was the importance of having historical reference to the artists that have come before me and the body of work they created. There is a rich history of artists, art movements, progression of work, progressions of how materials have been used to create work that is really important to understand as a working artist, so that when those things are understood they can give reference to the work that I’m creating. It also gives me a little bit of a navigational point as to where I stand in terms of that broad spectrum of creative movements, over time, and artistic influences. So I have really enjoyed becoming a student of movements, a student of artists. Not only artists of the past, but especially artists that are working right now who are influences and who I may be drawing some references to in my own work. And so, that’s the best advice I’ve gotten and really grateful to Colleen Fanning for giving me that advice.
The second question is, what do I like about the Denver creative community. And do I have any suggestions of how the community can become more inclusive. And I approach this question from a number of different perspectives. One certainly is, as a working artist. Second, as someone that collects quite a bit of art, and I’ve done so going back over the last 25 years. And third, as a trustee of the Denver Art Museum. So, I really look up the inclusive question from a number of different angles. I think when I think about working artists and artists that are out there every day creating work and looking to share that work with their local communities, regional communities, and across the nation, and in some cases across the world with the internet, there’s so much access available now. I think inclusiveness comes down to individuals that collect art recognizing diversity within the arts community and really thinking about that as one of the filters that they use when looking at making buying decisions and understanding the stories of individual artists. I think on the level of institutions such as art museums, I think it really starts with museums looking at their curatorial plans, thinking about what their institution stands for, and the communities that they serve. And really striving to have their institutions reflect their communities and recognizing the diversity that exists in every community. And then when their curators go out to develop collections, make decisions about art pieces to collect or shows to curate, that equity and inclusiveness becomes part of the dialogue. And part of the objective. From a staff level and institutions, being thoughtful around recruiting staff, and hiring and promoting staff that really reflects once again, the community, broadly. And then, finally, at the level of the board of trustees level at institutions, really seeking talented people to recruit to the board that represent a diversity of backgrounds: Age diversity, gender diversity, ethnic diversity, different perspectives bring a rich set of skills to judge the decisions that are made at the highest level that then filter down throughout the entire institution. And I think that you’re, really, with those kinds of perceptions or sensitivity, we can bring in a much broader community to really appreciate and enjoy art.
The next question is, what is my favorite creative place in Colorado and why. That’s an easy question to answer because it’s the place I’m sitting right now. I love being in the Art District on Santa Fe. I love the other artists that work here in the studio spaces in the district. I enjoy visiting and spending time in the galleries that exist here in the Art District and I love my creative space. My studio here is the place where I’m really able to shut out everything else that’s going on in my world and really focus on my art. It’s a place of drawing out inspiration from the inside out. And that really does manifest itself right here in my studio, and if I ever need, you know, inspiration in an instant, I only have to walk out the front door and go down the district company on Santa Fe, and visit a few artists, or a few galleries, and I’m full again to create a new work, so I love being here.
The final question is what is the work or project that I’ve done that I’m the most proud of and why. Well, my art journey began in February/March of 2018. I was involved in an equestrian accident on the third of February. On the fourth of February I had emergency surgery. I had broken my neck. The good news is I’m 100% healed from that accident. The surgery was a success. And the only feeling or emotion I have around that whole experience is gratitude. But what happened is during my period of extended recuperation and healing from the accident, I used art as my healing voice. A suggestion was made by my mom and then supported by my wife that I should take up drawing or painting to pass the time. And it led to the unfolding of a whole career now after the last two and a half years, where I have art that I’ve created and I’ve exhibited and I’ve sold. I’ve shipped to different places and developed collectors. And these are all things that I could not have foreseen two and a half years ago. And so, what that’s all culminated is, right now I have a show that is a solo exhibit that is at the Centura Healing Gallery. It’s located in the Parker Adventist Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. And that is the very Hospital, where I received my emergency evaluation, my emergency surgery and had my initial couple of days of recovery. And so to be able to have a solo show in the very hospital that the journey really began in is a real honor and it’s something that I’m proud of. Every one of those paintings that are in that exhibit of 18 paintings, tell a story, they were created over a two year period of time, and they resolve themselves to this very, very moment. So I’m very honored to have that opportunity for that.
So I hope you all have enjoyed my video, I hope you enjoy the events that are centered around Denver Design Week, and again, much appreciation to AIGA Colorado, and you can find me at @Jamesholmesstudio on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the events.