Artist for Day 7 – JIM GARMHAUSEN
I’m a self-taught artist whose work ranges from paintings, collages, murals, and multimedia 2D pieces, to 3D work incorporating assemblage and found objects. Lately I’m focused on that second, sculptural category. I have a strong interest in antiquity, especially vintage toys, trinkets, tins, books, figurines and statuettes, that correspond to the sorts of things that fascinated me as a child. I had the opportunity early on to play with toys that belonged to my father, and his father, and to read books that both read as children. These experiences taught me to treat aged things with a certain care. Where I, in typical boy fashion, beat on my regular toys, I played carefully with fragile paper houses, tin lithographed or hard rubber cars, heavy steel train cars, tall wooden soldier nine-pins, chipped lead cowboys and Indians. Being forced to consider my impact on these items gave them both a sense of value and intrigue.
The question of ownership of these toys had to be considered as well. They were mine, provisionally, but also my father’s and grandfather’s. I was fascinated, thinking about these grown men, holding and using the same toys in their childhoods. Asking questions about my father’s life growing up, and what he knew of his father’s, sparked an interest in antiquity and history that has grown stronger through the years. I’m fascinated by how experience and time changes the look and value of an object, and by extension, the ways that process mirrors our own human process of aging. Each item that captivates me seems to have an energy that calls me, and I have come to think of that energy as a story, hinted at but not revealed, caught out of time but still longing to be heard.
My own work explores implied histories, and my attempts to attach that sort of energy to my pieces. Just as my fascination with my own handed-down toys led toward a search for my own family history, this current artistic journey is also one of self-discovery, digging down into my own energies and allowing them to guide my process. The results, I hope, call to you too.
Jim Garmhausen is a self-taught artist specializing in the creation of 2D pieces and sculptural work utilizing painting, drawing, ephemera, wood, ceramics and found objects. He has shown, among other places, in La Luz de Jesus in Los Angeles CA; Baton Rouge Gallery in (not surprisingly) Baton Rouge LA; Governor’s Island Art Fair in NYC; in his hometown of Ithaca NY, at eye gallery (run by legendary Heavy Metal publisher Julie Simmons-Lynch). Currently he has work at Revolution Gallery in Buffalo NY; and Main Street Arts, in Clifton Springs NY. He is also a muralist whose work can be seen on many walls in Ithaca; a writer of autobiographical and humorous short stories; a preschool teacher; a father of three beautiful children; and an amateur collector (stockpiler) of what might politely be called “bric a brac.”