I feel the look of a large yellow red head from a drawing of James Marshall on my shoulders and on my chest. It’s heavy. My throat is dry and swollen. It somehow gets harder to breathe freely when standing in front of the drawing. I feel the pain, disappointment, temporariness, desolation and surrender. She’s staring at me as a silent witness of a near impracticability of finding someone compatible with you and even if you do find that person, you have to let them go most times for many reasons.
Women are the most frequent motive of drawings and the source of the deepest emotions of James Marshall. Eyes of each of them transmit a different vibe. From mother, through a good friend to his latest infatuation…
James draws them with pastels, charcoal, ink, sometimes with water colors and assorted pencils. He says there is something indisputably elegant about drawing the line of hair with one line. James developed his technique purely empirically and through experimentation. He is fascinated by Francesco Clemente. He never went to art school and is proudly self-taught: “Art school is good in teaching you the business of art, but who are they to teach you how to feel your art?” James says it took him some time to accept the title “artist”, bringing him to reflections on what is art and what does it mean to be an artist. Does it mean you have a diploma from a fancy art school hanging in your bed room? Surely not. Despite being a very loyal Bushwick resident, James is an individualist and doesn’t identify himself with the art scene of Morgantown. Instead, he derives a lot of inspiration from the concurrent music scene.
James was born in the Appalachian Mountains. His mom, who used to be a hippie, has been a great influence on him. He spent 2 years of his life traveling in the States, camping and attending conferences and seminars of the non-violence movement. Afterwards, in the very hippie fashion, he arrived penniless to Bushwick to pursue his art.
To see the series of drawings of James Marshall, come to Little Skips, where James will have an exhibition starting on December 10.