(That pretty much sums it up!)
I also give private art and airbrush lessons, do public speaking about using your talents to earn a living, and I've written a book titled Artists Are Like Apple Trees, which I discuss further down on this page.
Currently, I live in Mesa, Arizona and I earn most of my living by painting wall murals.
I paint a lot of other things too, but here in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, many of our homes have 6ft concrete "privacy walls" in their backyards, that actually look more like prison walls. As you can see by my previous pages, a little paint goes a long way to improve one's outlook on life!
The book can be found at Amazon.com/ArtistsAreLikeAppleTrees and is available in paperback for $8.99 and in e-book format for $3.99.
For more information, please e-mail me at Jim@GardnerGraphics.net.
Music taught me poetry and rhythm. Being on stage taught me the confidence of public speaking and confronting one of our greatest fears.
Writing songs taught me to look for and find ways that I could express my deepest feelings and my most exciting ideas with words and rhythms and harmonies. I learned ways to share my ideas with others in an entertaining fashion. The power of music to affect us on so many levels cannot be underestimated.
Art, music and drama have been a part of all societies throughout history, and it is my pleasure and honor to know the joy of participating in these creative and expressive processes and sharing them with the world in my own artistic ways.
That said, my creative history starts with drawing pictures as long as I can remember. We didn't have a television until I was in 4th grade, so I learned to enjoy the outdoors and I would draw pictures for my mom to show her where I went on my bike rides.
I began expressing myself musically in high school rock bands since girls seemed to be more impressed with musicians than with artists, and I wasn't good at sports. My choices were clear.
As with most great artists, I love music, art, theater, philosophy and many forms of self expression!
In my first book, titled Artists Are Like Apple Trees, I encourage anyone with an interest in using their talents to earn a living, to have the courage and commitment to pursue that dream and follow that inner urge to BE who and what they want to BE!
An apple tree has no use for its own fruit, but if it stops producing fruit, the life-nourishing sap no longer needs to flow from the soil to the tip of the branches where the fruit grows, and the tree soon becomes brittle and dies.
Creative people are the same way. We must remain creative or we lose the talents and abilities we've been given. That creative part of us dies. Use it or lose it. I prefer to use it, and I have.
I hope that this website will not only show samples of my work, but perhaps even inspire someone with an interest in art to find their own path and develop their own talents in ways that serve others.
From painting signs and doing lettering on vehicles, I began airbrushing T-shirts at car shows, which led to painting murals on custom cars and motorcycles. After a few years of doing that, I began painting walls instead of vehicles and I've been at it ever since.
Working in ad agencies and then print shops, taught me the technical side of getting artwork produced. Being an independant sort of spirit, routine work did not set well with me so I quit the printing industry and went into painting signs on my own.
I worked my way through college as an entertainer, playing in the college bars and hotel lounges. Getting paid to have fun and being the center of attention pretty much ruined me for any kind of office work later in life.
I received my bachelor's degree in art from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1973. Those years were exciting times to be in school. The environmental movement was just getting started. The women's movement was strong and gaining momentum. The Civil Rights Movement had been a part of our culture for almost a decade and the war in Viet Nam had worn our national patience thin. My first year on campus was met with police and tear gas as students protested on campus. I got a great education, but it wasn't always in the classroom.
It was a time for change and it was a time of change. Both personally and socially.
I learned to look at things and people differently, both as an artist looks at the physical world, but also philosophically, as an artist looks at the ideas in their mind, independent of the world around them.
I stayed with the music business through the mid-eighties until I was in my "mid-thirties" and in need of a
mid-life career change.