220a8888-550?v=1

Healing in Art

Artist James Allen Holmes' Uniquely Optimistic and Joyful State for Healing

Let go of any preconceived notions you have about artists, because James Holmes challenges them. He isn’t foreboding, moody, tortured, nor is he a poor, starving artist. Instead, he is gentle, kind, and most notably, has an joyful exuberance in his work.

Like most creatives, the Colorado native, Sheridan High School graduate has practiced many forms of artistic work since childhood, including early jobs lettering race cars at Englewood Speedway and creating hand drawn ads for the Yellow Pages. As an adult, he engaged with the artistic community as an 18-year Denver Art Museum Board of Trustee member, and also sits on the board for the Art District on Santa Fe.

In 2018, James broke his neck in a horseback riding accident. During his recovery, on the advice of his mom he started painting to pass the time, and found this creative expression to be a form of healing. With no intention of becoming a paid artist, an artist friend convinced him to show his work. It was well received, and he continued to refine his practice as painter.

He is an expressive, abstract, visual artist, who rarely sets out with a specific aesthetic in mind and isn’t interested in representing something figurative in his work. For James, the muse behind his art is his own internal state. But unlike artists who express strife, James’ nature is joyful. His responses to strife are generally contemplative and optimistic, and that comes out on the canvas.

James typically starts and finishes a work within one sitting. It is the most authentic way to express his current state, which like all of us is fluid and ever-changing. Then his process has him 'meet the painting’ the next morning or a few days later. He then evaluates and interprets what he was trying to convey. He acknowledges that specific interactions he has with others frequently show up on his canvas. In that way, his work is a real connection to the people around him. But when his work is displayed, he doesn’t provide a narrative of what he is trying to express. He leaves that to the viewer.

In an interesting twist of fate, James’ work was displayed in the Centura Parker Adventist Healing Gallery in 2020, which unbeknownst to the curator, was the very place James was treated after his accident, ultimately leading him down the path of creative expression for healing. His work, born out of a desire to heal, in a place that aids others in healing, during the Covid pandemic, felt like providence.

As an artist, James says he has at times felt pressure to be a voice that speaks to social injustice or civil unrest. After grappling with this responsibility, James reconciled that his unique expression of optimism and joy is the greatest contribution he can make. In his view, his role is to share the “the emotional healing and inspiration that art brings.”

James’ series titled “Lifeline” is a response to this charge. "The Lifeline is an element in my painting practice which celebrates the unique nature in every one of us, and moments of self-discovery as we embrace our sacred nature and an authentic expression of our humanity."

In a time where optimism and joy are in short supply, James’ work connects us to the quintessential human experience that is hope. He shares his intrinsic gifts, and hopes to inspire others to do the same. It is how we all make the world a better, healing place.

Related Businesses

Powell Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Powell Gardens

Kingsville, MO

Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, is set on 970 acres of lush, rolling hills. Known for its contemporary...

Museum at Prairiefire

Museums + Art Galleries

Museum at Prairiefire

Overland Park, KS

The Museum at Prairiefire provides ACCESS FOR ALL to understand and celebrate natural history and science. The Museum is open...

Nashville Zoo

Botanical Gardens

Nashville Zoo

Nashville, TN

Nashville Zoo is a progressive and dynamic zoological park serving Middle Tennessee, southern Kentucky and hundreds of...

See More

Related Articles

See More