Ep 052 Featured Image Podcast

Cultivating Balance in Art & Life – James Kennedy – Ep 52

October 19, 2022


Meet James Kennedy. An artist living and working just north of NYC, whose work I have admired for years. And finally, I had the opportunity to sit with him and have a conversation. You know those people you meet that you want to hang out with more because you instantly feel you are on the same page? Not just about art but also life? James has this lovely mix of humility, humor, and creative wisdom that I so appreciate in artists. 

It turns out James began his career in theater and performance art. His “find your way as you go” mode of unpremeditated paintings are gorgeous, balanced assemblages of line, shape, texture, and tonality. Ever since I first saw his work, I was struck by the fact that there was such a refined sense of balance. His art is like a perfect theatrical scene where all the characters are synchronized in a sublime balance of tension and harmony. Join me for a conversation I think you’ll find nurturing, funny, and creatively liberating.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Creating your own world and the elaborate art journey of James Kennedy  [2:27]
  • Starting with landscapes and finding your way as you go [13:56]
  • The art of balance and the spacial quality of James’ work [22:12]
  • Subtlety, boldness, and overcoming challenges in the work [27:29]
  • Creating three-dimensionality through glazing [34:26]
  • Doing life with a creative partner and the process of James’ art practice [38:57]
  • Nurturing your thoughts and James’ next adventure [46:42]

Take charge of your destiny

For nearly 22 years of his life, James Kennedy was a performer. As an actor and a contemporary dancer, he was at the mercy of a director, choreographer, or script. There was always something or someone telling him how to show up creatively. James moved to Los Angeles in 1999 and got lost in the ether of intent that is pursuing an acting career in Hollywood. Taking charge of his destiny, he moved across the United States to New York City, where he has pursued a career in fine art ever since. Every twist and turn of his journey has been worth it because, at the end of the day, James gets to carve his own creative path and make the art he is most passionate about. 

Balancing boldness

Like actors expertly filling a stage to set the perfect scene, James Kennedy’s art employs balance on the same level. For James, presence is one of the most important intangible qualities of his work and art-making as a whole. He views the inhabitants of his paintings like characters in a production, each with a particular part to play. Some parts are loud, most parts are quiet, and everything has a purpose. I see James’ work as an invitation to explore the intricate spaces he creates with artful precision. His biggest struggle is constantly balancing that quality of presence. Subtlety is his comfort zone, while boldness is where the art conversation truly begins in his studio. He’s constantly fighting to ensure the characters are interesting while keeping them from screaming at the audience.

Nurture your creative thoughts

A critical aspect of making authentic and impactful art is the previously mentioned conversation we have with our work. I call it the quiet conversation because it mostly takes place in the artist’s mind and on their canvas. Now, more than ever, we live in a time where everyone has the entire world at their fingertips. Social media is an incredible tool for artists to both show their work and connect with others who are on the same journey. Yet, James remarked that one of the biggest challenges for young artists today is authenticity. Our fast-paced culture and constant connectivity can keep us from the quiet conversation unless we’re intentional. Don’t be so busy learning about everyone else online that you forget to discover who you are. Take the time to nurture your creativity!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with James Kennedy

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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