James Hartzell

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So far James Hartzell has created 83 blog entries.

Copa Mundial 2018

By |July 7th, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Copa Mundial 2018


Hope that everybody out there is enjoying a summer of fun. Most of my recent art has been fútbol themed as I have been stricken with World Cup Fever! Lots of effort getting artwork together for last months ATLSoccerCon more on that in another post.

Recent chalkboard art for MacDintons Pub in St Pete, FL hand lettered sign art done with love between the Argentina vs France match and the Portugal vs Uruguay thriller. Layouts with white charcoal pencil and finished with Bistro brand water soluble chalk markers. If you know anyone in need of sign art of chalkboard menus email me James (at sign) artbyjamese.com


Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering

By |June 11th, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering


New signs up in recent weeks for exhibits at Florida CraftArt Gallery in St. Pete, Florida.  Amazing to watch the visiting Tibetan Monks creating a scared sand mandala and in turn to have a dissolution ceremony where it was swept up, blessed and reunited with nature after a procession to the waters of Tampa Bay. Chalk lettered designs done by hand with Bistro brand liquid chalk markers and laid out with a white charcoal pencil. 

Much like the sand mandala the monks created, this chalk sign was around for less than a week before being wiped clean.  Take note the monks explained they were not destroying the sand art they made but rather it was taking on another stage of creation. Similar to our cultural differences trying to understand death and life as separate, from the Buddhist perspective, there are no endings only beginnings.

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering


Reminded me of the impermanence of life and often the art we make may not be around for a long time but that shouldn't lessen its potential impact on other people and neither should it lessen the inherent value of art and expression.  Some moments can't be captured on a camera, some things take time to do properly. Made me feel better about the path in life I am on, a journey of discovery as an artist, helped me feel good about taking 5-6 hours to design, layout and finish chalk boards. Much like the monks folded over the mandala, drawing and shading with grains of sand, we contort and bear with hot environments or surface challenges and overcome those hurdles to make art. Hopefully it captures the viewers attention and provokes thought. 

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering



Dolls & Where They Live, exhibit is currently on show within the lovely air conditioned gallery space of Florida CraftArt.  Opening was last Friday, June 8th and featured a variety of dolls, creatures and environments, from dark oddities with shades of Tim Burton to welcoming miniature tree houses full of charm and detail. Check out the show and its numerous events and workshops, on display until July 28th.

"What's so funny about peace, love and understanding..."
-Elvis Costello

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering

By |June 11th, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering


New signs up in recent weeks for exhibits at Florida CraftArt Gallery in St. Pete, Florida.  Amazing to watch the visiting Tibetan Monks creating a scared sand mandala and in turn to have a dissolution ceremony where it was swept up, blessed and reunited with nature after a procession to the waters of Tampa Bay. Chalk lettered designs done by hand with Bistro brand liquid chalk markers and laid out with a white charcoal pencil. 

Much like the sand mandala the monks created, this chalk sign was around for less than a week before being wiped clean.  Take note the monks explained they were not destroying the sand art they made but rather it was taking on another stage of creation. Similar to our cultural differences trying to understand death and life as separate, from the Buddhist perspective, there are no endings only beginnings.

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering


Reminded me of the impermanence of life and often the art we make may not be around for a long time but that shouldn't lessen its potential impact on other people and neither should it lessen the inherent value of art and expression.  Some moments can't be captured on a camera, some things take time to do properly. Made me feel better about the path in life I am on, a journey of discovery as an artist, helped me feel good about taking 5-6 hours to design, layout and finish chalk boards. Much like the monks folded over the mandala, drawing and shading with grains of sand, we contort and bear with hot environments or surface challenges and overcome those hurdles to make art. Hopefully it captures the viewers attention and provokes thought. 

Sacred Art Tour, Dolls and Chalk Lettering



Dolls & Where They Live, exhibit is currently on show within the lovely air conditioned gallery space of Florida CraftArt.  Opening was last Friday, June 8th and featured a variety of dolls, creatures and environments, from dark oddities with shades of Tim Burton to welcoming miniature tree houses full of charm and detail. Check out the show and its numerous events and workshops, on display until July 28th.

"What's so funny about peace, love and understanding..."
-Elvis Costello

Mural Tours Sign for FLCraftArt

By |May 11th, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Mural Tours Sign for FLCraftArt


Call or sign up online for weekly walking tours of local murals curated by Florida CraftArt Gallery  Enjoyed working on both sides of this large sidewalk sign and doing new chalk lettering, hand made with love.  Once a month there are bike tours, limited to twenty people, done in partnership with Coast Bike Share. For a discount bring your own bike.  The colors were inspired by Coast Bike's logo and a recent record store day find, Purple Rain by Prince.

Mural Tours Sign for FLCraftArt

100 Films Part 2 at Green Bench Brewing

By |April 13th, 2018|Syndicated Content|

100 Films Part 2 at Green Bench Brewing

The opening reception for the 100 Film's Show at Green Bench Brewing in St. Pete, FL is tonight from 7-11 PM. The art show was rescheduled from last week due to bad weather.  Should be a gorgeous night for the event.  Showcasing the work from 100 artists who submitted work samples, were accepted to participate, given a list of 300 films to pick from, we all received the same 1ft square wood panel to render their work upon.  This is my first time participating in this event or any show curated by Chad Mize.  Decided to challenge myself and stay away from repeating subject matter like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars and chose the oddly relevant again Cold War film directed by Stanley Kubrick.  Can you guess which one?

"Dr Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" for a black and white film released in 1964 the themes at play have been revived by our current political climate.  Themes rearing their ugly heads again like the tension of a shooting war between Russia and United States, atomic era brinkmanship, espionage, jingoism and school yard style squabbles between immature leaders that hold the fate of the planet hostage.  For anyone up for watching a classic, check it out. You will hopefully enjoy and be slightly frightened by both the parallels and how little we have truly advanced in the fifty-four years since then.  Peter Sellers is a comic genius in the film playing three different characters including the President, a former Nazi scientist and a British Officer of the Royal Air Force. 

Hope to see you out at the show tonight, the final image has a twitter bird icon on each of the bombs. Symbolic of the damage that can be wrought on many levels from both the physical and digital bombs launched by our current, "stable genius" President Number 45.  Acrylic paint and ink on wood, sealed with a UV protector top coat.  Happy Friday to everyone out there.

Florida CraftArt Gallery opening night; Dia de las Muertos

By |April 6th, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Florida CraftArt Gallery opening night; Dia de las Muertos


Freshly done chalkboard signs for a new client in Florida CraftArt Gallery to help promote their nuevo exposition, or newest exhibit.  Check out the opening event 4/6 from 5:30-8:30pm tonight in St. Pete, FL.  This show was curated by Mark Noll and includes 200 plus pieces of art, with one hundred and sixty sugar skulls on display.  Each work of art tells a story and is part of the offrenda, or tribute, paying respects to the 3,000 year old Aztec tradition of remembering the dead not with grief but with a celebration of life.  Two months of events are planned around this central theme, closing night on 5/26. To find out more info and sign up for events like opening night face painting use this link to FLCraftArt.

My skull is paper mounted to wood, a watercolor painting meets and ink drawing, entitled "Son's of Medellin" it is a tribute to my SCAD professor who passed away, George Alvarez.  And to Andres Escobar, a professional soccer player with over 250 games played, appeared for his country 51 times, the Captain of Columbia's National Team during the 1994 World Cup, nicknamed, The Gentleman. Best known for his quote, "Life does not end here."

More on breathing new life into their stories in a previous post from March. Sign art done with Liquid Chalk Markers, got these at Whimsodoodle my new favorite art supply store right in downtown, St Pete off 2nd Ave South.  Super excited about having art in another gallery show and to help take FL CraftArt's sidewalk signs to a new level.  Did a preliminary drawing with a white chalk pastel pencil, this is the most info I've even been asked to include in a sign. But definitely a fun hand-lettering challenge. Hope to see out at there this weekend. Cheers.

Florida CraftArt Gallery opening night; Dia de las Muertos


Look At Me, Group Art show 4/7

By |April 1st, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Look At Me, Group Art show 4/7


Here is my entry in the upcoming self-portrait exhibition, Look At Me, at the Iberian Rooster on April 7th.  The show has been curated by Diana Bryson and I'm excited my art was accepted to be part of the experience.  The work is inspired by the recent Day of the Dead entry, "Son's of Medellin" and San Fransisco Artist Jeremy Fish's conceptual and graphic illustration style. Done with pen and ink, watercolors and gauche.

All the area codes of places I've lived are featured along with skylines of Atlanta, GA and St. Pete, FL.  Come out to the show and I will be happy to explain the symbolism and allegory in person.  The piece is titled, "Art Nerd Life" and is an effort to essentially show what makes me up in a visual nutshell,  as opposed to the classical portrait of my external self. 

Dias de las Muertos show at FLCraftArt Gallery

By |March 2nd, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Dias de las Muertos show at FLCraftArt Gallery


Experimenting with a new multi image, conceptual style on this group show entry.  A hundred word story attached below will accompany this sugar skull in the Day of the Dead Show, a personal tribute for two men born in Medellin, Columbia who passed on before their time, their tales ending abruptly.  However, by telling their stories' that memory can live onward and take new shape.  The creation of this art brought up some dark past for me and brooding introspection on life choices, and what could have been. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker, Jorge Alvarez influenced my art in a brief span of time, only two years, but we connected on many levels about art, futbol and music. His teachings set me on a different path in life, helped me to navigate troubled waters, and see a new horizon of possibilities for my art. His good vibes, wisdom and story continues to echo out in the universe for eternity.  But its up to us to not forget and honor those in our past.  Been drawing inspiration from watching the Pixar film, Coco.  Watercolors and FW inks on bone colored watercolor paper, mounted with Lineco Brand archival glue onto wood.  Opening reception will be April 6th, from 5:30 to 8pm at FLCraftArt Gallery.

It would be good to see elements of the Dias de las Muertos traditions crossover into the USA. Everyone deals with death and grief differently but I think the communal element of making an offrenda, honoring one's family roots and tending to, cleaning the cemetery, making paths with flowers for the spirits to follow, makes the concepts of life and death more grounded and accessible for people to understand, especially children. In summary, life is short and we only get one. Speak your truth; boldly and often, express gratitude to those who influence your life; if you know someone is in the hospital visit them; because they could be in hospice next and gone from this earth quickly after.  If you have a teacher that changed your life for the better let them know that, if you love someone, tell them. Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug. Happy Friday y'all enjoy the weekend.

"Jorge Alvarez was my professor at SCAD in 2005. His class helped me view my art skills differently. I was recruited to work on murals and the influence of those teachings changed my path in life from a film major to Illustration.  Jorge grew up in Brooklyn, loved music, futbol, Frank Sinatra, and his beloved bulldog, Lucy.  Jorge passed away in 2007 from complications related to HIV. Andres Escobar was the captain of Columbia's National Soccer Team, scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup, and was murdered on his return home. Sport should heal and unite not divide us."


Dias de las Muertos show at FLCraftArt Gallery


Concert Art Gift

By |February 22nd, 2018|Syndicated Content|

Concert Art Gift


Had the pleasure of watching Leilani Wolfgramm open for The Green at the State Theater in St. Pete, FL earlier in the month.  Made a piece of word art for the occasion and gave it to the band via their merchandise guy, Justin.  Bought the limited release album of her's called Live Wire. Those powerful lyrics were even more impactful live and in person.  If you have a chance to see either of these bands do it!  The Green are like the Temptations of the reggae community with their harmony and sweet vocals.