The basis of James Childs’ art is his study with R.H. Ives Gammell and Richard Lack, amplified by extensive copying of the Masters and comparative research in the 19th Century and Renaissance painting and drawing. The Greek aesthetic informs his personal ideal. He received his B.F.A. from The Minneapolis College of Art and Design and spent a year at Atelier 63 in Haarlem, Holland. His major exhibitions include two solo shows at Tatistcheff & Co., New York, participation in the “Six Students of R. H. Ives Gammell” at Hammer Galleries, New York; and an exhibition in 1996 at the Leighton House Museum, London in conjunction with the centenary of the death of Federic, Lord Leighton (another indelible influence).
Since moving to New York in 1987, Childs has mainly supported himself through society portraiture. He has painted some of the most powerful men and most glamorous women of this era, including Christopher Forbes, Carolyne Roehm, Blaine Trump, Elizabeth Ross Johnson, Ursula Corning, and Barbara Tober. In addition to painting, Childs spends his time teaching to pass on the unbroken line of academic/impressionistic lineage he is heir to by virtue of his own training. He taught for nine years at the National Academy of Design and has taught for the past ten years at his private atelier, The Drawing Academy of the Atlantic. His work is collected by most of the major figurative private collections and is in museum collections from Minnesota to Puerto Rico. One of his murals is a permanent installation in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. His portraits can be seen in castles in Umbria, chateaux in Normandy, and in houses on Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue in Manhattan. In September and October of 2002, he was the first ever resident artist to be invited to paint in Lord Leighton’s Holland Park studio in London’s Royal Borough of Kensington. Events and exhibitions were planned around this event.
Childs’ quest in all his work is a search for the wellspring of beauty in all nature. His intention is to be neither academic nor impressionistic but to use these influences to reanimate the Classic point of view as defined by the artists of the 5th Century B.C.E in Athens. He will exhibit his tribute to Greek culture and sport, the five meter frieze, “Ancient Contests: Modern Heroes” in the foyer of the galleries of The Cultural Organization of the City of Athens during the Olympic Games in August of 2004. In October, the entire frieze project will be exhibited in the galleries of Forbes, Inc. on Fifth Avenue in New York.