Meet James Thatcher

Art was always a viable career option for artist James Thatcher. His parents ran an art gallery in Naples, Florida, during the 1970’s. Artists frequently stayed with his family while installing one person exhibitions, including opening receptions and painting demonstrations.

James graduated from the notorious Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington, DC, in 1984; and worked as a cabinet maker until the real estate bubble burst in 2008. Leaving the building trade, James had eventually returned to his art making, which had become such a big aspect of his creative life. He now works in his studio and shop in Roseburg, Oregon.

In his Sweetgrass Algebra series of prints, technical elements blend with expressive art. In his Graphite Grid series, unusual textures are set on cleanly assembled plywood panels. Here James shares a little more about his work and process:

What is your medium and process?

I use wet and dry techniques: acrylics (both opaque and as wash), pencil, pastel and charcoal, gesso. I begin with random strokes, tempered with lots of painting over, and then incorporate algebraic formulas, graphs, and stencils into the mix.

Describe what inspires your artwork.

The phrase, “What if….” I love not knowing what I’m going to end up with. Creating is an act of faith. I have confidence that it’s going to work, although I may have to surprise myself in the end.

What sets your artwork apart from others?

My use of unusual materials and textures results in an intriguing finished product. I love experimenting, but temper it with strong craftsmanship. The use algebra and trigonometry as abstract text is very specific without being literal.

How would you describe you studio?

I create in a production facility, a holdover from my industrial background in cabinet making. It’s well laid out with a section for shrink wrapping and packaging, a 30’ working wall painting, and a 2D and drafting area. I sweep up at the end of the day and organize my next day’s work.

Do you listen to music while working on your art, and if so, what type?

I generally have classical music playing. It’s non-verbal, free range, and not overtly representational.

What is one of your favorite quotes, and why?

2nd Timothy 3:7 “Ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Paul wrote that 2000 years ago and it’s timeless but perfect for the “information age”. Those key words “never able to “…all of our intelligence is so seductive, but it gets in the way of knowing the truth!

Connect with James Thatcher

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