Born with an incredible talent, in the small town of Chapin, Illinois in 1939,
James Griffin, father of 7 children, has earned his living in one way or another in the
art field. From hand lettering trucks for local farmers at the age of 9, he has achieved
national acclaim for his outstanding originality, craftsmanship and design in the
advertising and commercial art arena.
For many years, as a young boy, he
enjoyed going to the Friday night stock car races. Unlike today, he couldn't go into a 5
and 10 cent store and buy toy replicas of his favorite heroes or their transportational
wonders. Instead he used Balsa wood, old toothpaste tubes, tooth picks, glue and any other
items his creative mind imagined, then transformed them into parts for his judiciously
accurate miniature replicas of the cars he watched on Friday night. He reproduced every
detail with exacting perfection. This collection is still one of his most priceless
James has had no formal training,
allowing his gift to be freely exercised. His first attempts in portraiture were in high
school. His favorite subject was Elvis. He also tried cartoons and humorous drawings, a
skill which came in handy in his advertising career.
In the last few years, charcoal has
become his medium for artistic expression. His portraits for stars such as Kevin Costner,
Wes Studi and Jimmy Stewart consistently meet with warm approval, and continue to be in
demand by countless admirers of his work. The attraction comes from his ability to open a
window to the soul in the expression and spirit reflected in the eyes of his sensitively
drawn subjects. He feels that drama and the impact of emotion can be best captured in
black and white. This is well demonstrated in his Unbroken Spirit Collection featured in
his first book, Rick and Jim's Real Reel Indians, published in 1994. His goal in these
depictions was to show dignity, honor and respect for real Native American heroes.
James' collective works contains a large
selection of Superstars past and present, Musical Greats, Legendary Heroes, and other
beautiful people, not the least of which are his cherished grandchildren.