James Ayers is a painter of historic Native American cultures. Dedicated to honoring the customs and beauty of these traditional cultures, James has gained a reputation for his historical accuracy, which can be seen reflected in the hair, clothing and weapons of his subjects.
“I study historic artifacts, research customs and rituals, and marry these with my understanding of the struggles of modern Native American cultures,” James says.
James’ authentic works are inspired by his deep research, including on Native American reservations from Maine to Arizona, with the Iroquois in the northeast, the Sioux in the Great Plains and the Hopi in the southwest. He has also spent time with traditional Navajo weavers and sheepherders at the Toadlena Trading Post region of the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, among other tribes in the United States.
Years of extensive personal exploration and observation have helped James evolve as an artist. At the Celebration of Fine Art, visitors call his work “beautiful,” “piercing,” and “powerful.” It’s common to see people linger and ask questions about tiny, thoughtful details he incorporates into his paintings.
James’ work is especially unique in that he leverages a traditional and explorative use of oil painting techniques and has an innate understanding of color composition and design.
“I love how as the layers of paint are applied with a variety of brushstrokes, the textures and colors start to elevate the initial idea into a piece of artwork,” he says.
Each year at the Celebration of Fine Art, James continues to hone his technique –– a process that’s helped along by being surrounded by 99 other artists.
“We all inspire each other to work harder and make better art,” he says.
Artist Quick Takes:
Favorite artist? At the moment it is Nicolai Fechin, but this is always changing.
Music/musician that inspires you? One of the most powerful sounds to hear and see in person is pow wow drums and singing. I don’t listen to it all the time but when I do it really hits and resonates in my soul.
Favorite place to travel? The most inspiring place I’ve ever been is Africa’s Great Rift Valley.
Favorite quote? “Keep moving forward.”
If you weren’t an artist, what do you think you’d be doing? I would be a carpenter.
What’s one thing you’d like people to take away from your art? A respect for different cultures, both past and present, and a willingness to glean insight from these cultures.