James Watson

Art, Fantasy and Commerce

As I watch, I envision an emerald green ocean. Pixies dance, to and fro, their diamond wings reflecting the afternoon rays. Suddenly the silence is broken, as a blazing black and white image cuts through the jewel-encrusted stillness. I am not in the Caribbean or any outdoor location for that matter, quite the opposite. I am inside staring at a wall, a wall graced with the art of
James Watson

James Watson's ability to create with paper and pencil showed itself at an early age. At the age of nine, his vision of a lunar landing, long before the reality, was one of the few pieces that toured schools as part of an art display.

When I experience his art, I wonder what it is in life that steers us clear of our talents. Like many artists,
James Watson found himself with the common dilemma; fending for his family or pursuing his dream. Like many artists, he made the practical choice.

In the early 80s he impressed his employer as a photo retouch artist. It was at this time that he discovered and mastered the airbrush. His dream to create art might have ended here. He was after all a wizard in his new career and the bills where being paid. But as we know his dream was fulfilled. You can take the artist away from his art but you can't take the art from the artist.

James Watson attacked his commercial projects with the zeal and soul of his God given gift. His efforts, his talents, did not go unnoticed. Soon James Watson was elevated to the large-format pictorial industry. Now, James was painting what I could only describe as really big pictures. He was paying the bills.

His work, his magic was now being seen all over the city of Toronto in the form of billboards. One of his pieces that I found most ironic was for Benson and Hedges. It is the image of a paintbrush whose trail of paint is a
Benson and Hedges cigarette package. I see it as a symbol of art versus commercial. Either way, James Watson is a master of both. Now after 30 years of commercial application, it is a treat and privilege to watch him fulfill his dream.

With "Myorcas", his signature theme,
James Watson brings to life a fantasy. Blending the free nature of humans with the flowing motion of Orcas he morphs the two mammals into one. He paints his mystical life forms with attention to detail and artistic expertise that produce totally believable creatures, leaving some wondering if his works are that of a photographer.

The camera could never capture the magic James brings to his work. I marvel at the hauntingly beautiful movements, the emotions and the unspoken thoughts inherent in all his pieces. I am amazed at the myriad of colors he finds in his black and white paintings. It is this ability; the ability to make a piece speak, that separates the artist from those who can merely draw.