When he was a kid, artist James Bundy really wanted to be a paleontologist. He wanted to create a time machine and travel back to see the saber tooth tigers, mastodons and cavemen.Is it any wonder then that as he grew older and left that dream behind he found himself drawn to book cover illustrations of pulp versions of Conan the Barbarian and Tarzan? Artist Frank Frezetta was a huge inspiration for James.
“The first time I saw those covers I thought they were so cool and I thought ‘I wish I could do that,’” he said.After a period of unemployment, James moved home to the family farm where he found he had a lot of time on his hands. There was leftover house paint among other materials at the farm and he said he started throwing stuff together.
“I definitely love to experiment. I like to do a lot of fluid work so I will mess with viscosity and chemicals and I always try new things out. Each piece is a new one,” he explained.James said his inspiration comes from a Zen kind of place. He tries to find the quietest moment inside the action of it. For him, it’s about finding that peace and that quiet where the work just is.
And when he feels blocked he switches over to his writing. When the writing isn’t coming, he goes back to painting. He doesn’t like to force anything.“I don’t have an idea of what’s coming when I am creating, it just comes. If you take the work too seriously, you zap the joy right out of it. My work is about movement and fluidity and it feeling right. If you’re forcing and pressuring it, it doesn’t feel right,” said James.
The show at Cali Commons is James’ first solo exhibit and he’s super excited to share his work with others. There will be about 50 pieces on display, some paintings that took the artist about 20 minutes to create and others that took months.“In order to find the quiet, you have to get all the noise inside of you out, exorcising the chaos. As a result, they’re all really cluttered, busy paintings,” he said.
James said he would love for other people to see his work and get that feeling he got all those years ago when he saw the Conan covers. He said he hopes to inspire someone else like that.He spends three to four hours a day working on his art and it’s a process he described as very “therapeutic.” James said he has lived a traumatic life and without the writing and without the painting he doesn’t believe he would still be here.
James Bundy’s solo show is on view at Cali Commons Wednesdays, October 1st and 8th from 5-8 pm. An artist reception takes place Saturday, October 4th from 7-10 pm.
518 N 40th St
Omaha, NE 68131