Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I wrote to a Congressman Clyburn after he wrote back to me....

Dear, Congressman Clyburn,

I appreciate your response in a timely manner. Merry Christmas.

Concerning your stance on SOPA and Internet IP bill; as you know from experience in life, good intentions usually lead to horrible consequences that mostly fail in the long run. Attempting to control and protect identity and/or regulate piracy on the web may sound great in theory but is extremely difficult if not impossible to implement. SOPA and Internet IP is too ambiguously worded to be practical and is very dangerous for our free speech and sharing ideas. Let me be clear, as an artist, I am, of course, against any type of piracy and illegal downloading especially to make a profit from the hard work of an artist. I do however, understand that people have downloaded my work for their own personal viewing pleasure and I have no problem with that aspect; but I will take legal action on anyone infringing on my copy-written work without my permission and reselling my work illegally I however, should be the one to pursue legally these matters with my copyright attorney, as there are already laws set up by our government to protect my work. It should not be up to the government to regulated the net and/or to basically make it a felony for someone like my Aunt to share an image of my art or a kitten on an email or Facebook. Because SOPA is so dangerously worded and written by people that have no real understanding of web technology, it would be how this law would destroy the internet and it's wonderful burgening business potential with You-Tube, Pod Casting, etc. I only see big businesses like the RIAA and the MPAA being the only ones lobbying and pushing this law that would not hurt piracy, but only people's free speech and create a censored internet with disastrous results. In addition, why is Congress so worried about this bill so suddenly when they should be focusing on creating jobs in America and not destroying them? The vast majority of internet and technology experts that are far more knowledgeable in internet and computer protocols will tell you that any attempt would be disastrous to the growing internet community and rapidly growing innovation in America that is actually creating millions of jobs with small online businesses especially for artists and musicians struggling to create and sell their work online. SOPA would destroy these artist's abilities to market their work as any one could simply "claim" infringement on their competition and shut down the small business owner without any real justification. As an artist that is struggling even more now thanks to a sagging economy, the web is an extremely valuable tool and possibly the last chance for marketing by using such sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and MySpace. SOPA would shut down these sites and create censorship that would be comparable to China and Iran. We are better than that as Americans. Please do not allow our free speech to be stifled that millions of American soldiers died for in history.

I believe this is a bill that should be stopped and let's let time and technology grow with working carefully with web giants and technology innovators to create new ways to stop online piracy without destroying our current internet, create censorship in America or destroy budding innovation and creativity.

Thank you for your concern and understanding.

Best regards and Merry Christmas,

James Christopher Hill

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I had a wonderful time with a couple of well-known established artists that paint outside the norm of Charleston artwork the other night.  We discussed issues concerning various art forms and art movements and one brought up a much neglected point of Charleston.  We don't have an art critic here in Charleston that really knows art and art history.  I realized that we are really a city full of great talent but no one to really appreciate what is going on here.  Sure, we have the usual patrons of "Charleston" art that consists of paintings of Rainbow Row, Palmetto Trees and Marshes along with the historic building paintings, but nothing of real substance is purchased, supported or collected amongst the Charlestonian "elite".  They only know what art is because most are told what to buy and what to hang on the wall.  The new movement is either no art on the walls or photographs.   We have a long way to go and to grow as a cultural city.  We have great artists that are being ignored by the dozens!  This past month has seen the death of two exciting galleries, Scoop studios and Eye-Level Art; why, because they didn't have the patronage that keeps the doors open.  Sorry to say out loud, but true. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

another show, another time

Well, I'm getting ready for yet another show - It's called ParktoberFest in Park Circle North Charleston, South Carolina. Just to let you know, Park Circle is this little slice of heaven in Charleston that is a residential community that was designed by the Olmstead Group; the same group that designed Central Park in New York and the Biltmore Gardens in Ashville, NC at the Biltmore Mansion (World Famous). Anyway, they are having an outdoor show and my wife wanted us to help support the community. So, here I am, supporting the community by promoting the arts. What's an artist supposed to do??!!? Should be fun, a tent, some art and some friends on a beautiful Saturday afternoon...- right next to my studio!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why did Picasso change from Realism to Cubism....

This is what I just wrote to a friend of mine on Facebook when she asked why did Picasso create the art that he did and not stick with Realism.... Cultural movements - The rise of Impressionism and the post impressionist movements of France and Italy, various teachers and inspirations such as Van Gogh, Degas. During the turn of the century, various new art movements started to happen such as Dadaism, Futurism, Neo-Reaslism, Called Pre-Raphealites along with German Expressionism all caught his eye. Then, around the 20's and 30's- 40's we started to uncover Colombian and other South American ruins and artifacts and as they started to make their way into our culture, Picasso wholeheartedly embraced their unique designs on masks and pottery and incorporated it into his works. Lines and forms for him started to change on his canvas as he strived to capture the primitive nature of the ancient cultures. The result was the mastery of a movement he mostly created called Cubism. Marcel Duchamp also had a major influence on Picasso especially "Nude Descending a Staircase" - 1911 (I believe) Amazing piece. All of these influences affected Picasso and he was Genius enough to understand what was going on in the world and paint the changes that were happening during that time. - Not bad for a quick response....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Live Painting Demonstration at The Ellis Nicholson Gallery

I was recently asked by Agora Gallery to discuss my recent experience in doing a live painting demonstration at the Ellis Nicholson Gallery during the Spoleto USA festival that happens every year in Charleston, SC. The two-week Arts festival begins on Memorial Day weekend every year as part of a seven city, worldwide festival that begins in Spoleto, Italy at the same exact time. Charleston itself becomes a mecca of the arts for the two weeks celebrating the fine arts including Opera, Ballet, Theater and Classical music performances along with, of course, the visual arts. Charleston is rich with quality painters of every subject from landscapes to figures to contemporary. I'm fortunate to belong to a progressive gallery, The Ellis-Nicholson Gallery, that is inviting artists that create contemporary works that deviate from the norm while still preserving the delicate balance of beauty and content and all the while appealing the local's senses. During this time, I was asked as part of a street wide effort of artists in various galleries to do live demos in the afternoon of their painting skills, to create works and discuss my techniques; something I'm all too happy to do. I love talking art and I love to teach in the hopes of reaching and inspiring someone. As I stood painting a historical monument, the audience was taken aback by the fact that I wasn't painting what I saw directly, but what I saw in my mind's eye. As the painting progresses, the questions started coming from the crowd. "How do you see what you see in your head?" "Do you use Photo references?"; "How long does it take to complete a painting like the one your working on?" I enjoyed their curiosity and their good questions while I painted because as they spoke, I got ideas for either that painting or the next ones in the future. I love demonstrating work in from of a crowd because 1) You draw a crowd, 2) You can educated people about art 3) You make new friends. The crowd seemed happy with the developments on the canvas as they whispered amongst themselves. This always proves a fun time as everyone has a story to tell and if you can stop and listen, you might hear a story that was inspired by your painting which will inspire another one or even a whole series. You never know. You see, all I was doing was painting the building with the cupola, The Exchange Building, as it may have looked 100 years ago in a state of disrepair or 50 years from now. It became a statement based on my current series of paintings, that our world is heading for oblivion with only ruins left of our great cities if we continue on our path of greed and corruption by the banks and our governments. I readily admit that while my current series err on the darker side of the truth, they still have a romantic beauty about them that can be appreciated by both the critic and the buyer. While the crowd stood there asking questions, we became both the teacher and student while we debated topics like politics, religion, philosophy, business and even creative possibilities all from one simple live interactive demonstration while people sipped wine and learned a little more about how art can change the world.

The Old Warehouse

Here is another concept rendering I did last night in about 1 hour.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dragon City - Speed Painting

Here is another "Speed Painting-Concept Rendering" I did that is a "copy" of another fine artist's work - I wanted to see how they did the brush strokes using Photoshop. I had to create my own brush for this piece.

Transia - New Painting of a Science Fiction Landscape

Here is my latest creation called "Transia" - I was inspired by Stephan Martiniere
and thought I would try my hand at some of creating some "organic" structures.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Med City - Pass no. 2

An Update so far on this "Speed Painting" So, needless to say, I need to learn how to paint faster. At least I'm having fun! The painting changes as I use various reference images and the layout starts to change when ideas come to me.

Here is the latest....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reference Photto

Here is a reference photo I'm working from....

Med City - Pass no. 1

And now I'm working on a new Mediterranean City. Here is the first "pass" so far....

Practicing concept sketching

I have finished a new "Concept Sketch" of a Tumbler Vehicle that was originally drawn by Sam Brown a master Concept designer. Anyway, here is my first vehicle that I sketched out using Photoshop CS4 and referencing Sam Brown's work. Hope you like!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

So many styles of painting....

As an Artist, many people ask, why do I create so many paintings in various styles and of various subject matter? The answer, I've studied art professionally at Ringling School of Art and Design and I noticed during art history classes that most masters created work they were known for (one style, one genre) and they created other styles and genres of work so that they would be able to explore their creativity. They didn't want to to become stagnant and create the same work over and over again. They evolved! Look at Picasso and Boccioni - great examples of artists that jumped styles - oh wait, one more.... Leonardo Da Vinci!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What kind of artist am I?

Somebody asked me to describe how I define my work and what style of artist I consider myself. I'm an fine artist, illustrator and 3D Computer Animator who loves to create my visions using whatever medium I find fitting to carry out the idea to fruition. Since the recession began, I've been going back to my childhood love of creating Sci-Fi scenes and vast futuristic city landscapes and homages to architectural genius. I also am going back to my love of classic horror films. I don't like the new "slasher/gore porn" stuff. There is no creativity in those films. I love the old eerie looks of the classic Boris Karloff, Bella Lugosi, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing Hammer Horror films which help inspire my "spooky" illustrations. So I try to relay that passion in my latest works. I also adore and am inspired by the masters of fantasy figure like Frazetta, Jeffrey Jones, Wrightson, Howard Pyle and modern painters like Brom, Donato GianCola, Tom Fleming and even cool images and comic stylings by Echo Chernik and J. Scott Campbell! But, in the end of the day, I have to do my own thing, follow my heart and use my talents that God has given me and paint the way I've learned and in my own style. I only wish I could be as good as Frank Frazetta or Jeffrey Jones, but that is a long shot for many artists even for established professional marvel comic and DC artists and they are all amazing and awesome! They keep me humbled and centered whenever I see their work or meet them in person. Luckily, I don't really want to be a comic book artist, I want to create worlds of my visions that maybe can inspire them for there stories. I was told by Disney when I interviewed with them 3 times in the late 90's that I was a good creator of worlds and backgrounds and that I should be a fine artist that combines fine art elements with the modern day enthusiasm of comics, illustrations and movies. I would love to become a concept designer or art director for a major production house one day. That was my ultimate dream, to work for ILM and create concept works like Ryan Church or Ralph McQuarrie (The Master) or even, dare I say, Syd Mead, the creator of the look of Blade Runner, Tron and Star Trek the Motion Picture. He is the master. So, I spend every day still working on that dream. I think it helps with my fine art as well. In the past 10 years, I have been known for my skyscapes and landscapes painted in oils and I currently have a series of ancient ruins with my dramatic, colorful skyscapes that create an eerie and romantic mood to the pieces. Now, I'm starting to get recognized nationally for my latest sci-fi and horror paintings which is a good start to my dream. To top everything off, I'm even dabbling in Steam Punk designs as I have created 4 new images in Steam Punk style that I unveiled at MegaCon which by the way, sold out this year! 30,000 people they said came to the show on Saturday! WOW! I also unveiled my latest creation of Allegra whom you can see just above this blog entry. Check her painting out and check out her Facebook page.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Sultan's Muse

Just put you up on my fan page in facebook! This is my latest creation of Allegra Torres a.k.a. "The Chainmail Chick" - facebook link for her...

She took over 45 hours to fully paint by "hand" using Photoshop CS4 and the Wacom Cintiq with my special brushes that I created. Hope you like!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Fan Page on Facebook

My friend Allegra started a new fan page for me on Facebook. Check it out! Thank you Allegra!!/pages/James-Christopher-Hill/205466729483215>

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elevaras City - New Piece

Well, I'm getting ready to head out today for MEGACON in Orlando and showcasing my work there! Should be really awesome as estimated 10,000-20,000 people will come by this weekend! Anyway, here is my latest piece of art entitled "Elevaras City" inspired by "Logan's Run" (1976). Although, the movie's city never showed the Dome city lit up like this, I was still inspired by the careful model work done by the movie's effects team of that time. Great lines on some of the architecture. Other inspirations were coming from my head as I pondered the recent tragic events in Japan and how we could improve on power stations and creation of energy in the future. The power lights were inspired by Nicoli Tesla's vision of drawing energy from the Earth's magnetic fields and the Ionosphere. If we put our heads together to solve the energy problem, we could probably have free energy in 20 years! NO MORE OIL! Except of course, for making Lego's....
Well, here's hoping you like the new image and I will keep trying new techniques.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Sci Fi Image from My "Shanara City" series

In continuation of my "Shanara City" images, I rendered out another camera view of my rapidly growing city in the 3D world that I'm creating month by month. Using Mental Ray, I was able to create the "glow" and reflection effects that are reminiscent of "Tron" and "Forbidden Planet", I'll upload more when I get a chance. My main thing was that I wanted to learn how the effects wizards and the 3D animators created the backgrounds in Tron.
Hope you like.... :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

A new "Spooky Image"....

What can I say, I was playing around and created this new piece. I used the castle that I created in the other painting and placed it in the background of this one. It was a last minute choice, but I like the new concept of the castle with a dark cemetery in the foreground. Of course, a large, ominous and familiar bird makes a guest appearance. "Thus quoth the Raven, Nevermore...." - "The Raven - E.A. Poe."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An old painting from long ago

Years ago, I painted one of my favorite singers in the world - Kate Bush. This is a totally airbrushed piece on canvas using a Paasche Dual Action VL and waterproof paints for textures. It took me 14 hours to paint from start to finish and I finally had it photographed by my photographer Rick Rhodes. He did a great job! In case you are interested in using a reproduction photographer, you can find Rick at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Concept art study....

Something to do on a Wednesday night. I'm continuously trying to hone my skills on the Cintiq tablet and Photoshop brushes along with "Concept-Speed Painting". Here is something I created for fun in about 40 minutes while studying another concept artist's piece. It's basically a study of their piece created by an artist that I know as "Concept_on_Mac".

Updated Castle of Radja

O.k. After several variations and some good suggestions from my friend Rolf, I think I finally have a piece that I'm proud of. If you look closely at the new piece, you will see that I have destroyed the direct access to the castle and made it more foreboding with ruins and only one "mysterious" light in the belfry. Meanwhile, you can now see the two figures standing ominously next to a dark statue and lighting a torch in response to the light in the castle. A story begins to unfold.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Updated Images

Here is an updated image based on your suggestions which were very helpful! Thank you everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Castle Painting - Varients

Good evening. I just finished working over the past couple of days to create this new image using Photoshop paint tools and a Wacom Cintiq. I meticulously painted the castle and surrounding using various brushes in Photoshop. This is what I've created so far and I'm having a hard time deciding which one I like better. It would either be the colorful one or the less saturated piece. Let me know what you think if you are reading this blog. I would appreciate it!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Piece called Tesla's Gate 2011

I wanted to see how hard it was to recreate the "neon LED light look" in Tron Legacy. It so far has been a challenge creating the look in 3D Studio Max 2010 and using Mental Ray Radiosity Renderer. So far, I'm pleased but I will continue to push the envelope with newer textures, light controls etc. I have also built a large amount of city blocks and this one image is just one section so far. Inspired by the look of Syd Mead's designs and the look in Logan's Run which blew me away when I was 9 years old I am returning heavily into my childhood love of creating Sci Fy Cities. I used to draw them all the time when I was young. Hope you like the first one....

Tron in the Superbowl

Just finished watching the Superbowl halftime show and was amused by how much TRON has worked its way into our culture already. I figure within five years the average clothing will have some light strip or something like LED cloth fabric that will change patterns before your eyes. Would be interesting to see.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

SteamPunk - Working Hard on 3D gears and animating them....

Now you get a chance to look into the creative 3d process of creating gears and a "workable" system that is really believable. (THAT'S HARD!) I need a Mechanical Engineer to help me figure this stuff out. Never was really great at physics! Just FYI - 3D Studio Max 2010

Thursday, February 3, 2011


In the preparation stage, however frustrating since I'm at work and can only think about what I'm going to create later tonight. Oh well, such is life as an artist in our current economy.

The Creative Process....

i) preparation (preparatory work on a problem that focuses the individual's mind on the problem and explores the problem's dimensions),

(ii) incubation (where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally to be happening),

(iii) intimation (the creative person gets a "feeling" that a solution is on its way),

(iv) illumination or insight (where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness); and

(v) verification (where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

generation of creative ideas...the blank canvas...

Just got home from a long day of work in computer animation and am now ready to relax for a couple of hours to recharge and then back to working on my artwork. I'm currently working on new work that incorporates vintage design and machinery fused with science fiction in a style called Steam-punk. For those who have never heard of Steam-punk before, it is a multi-disciplined, broad spectrum genre fusing Science Fiction of what was and what could have been. Classic examples are described in the writings of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. In other words, what would have happened if the Victorian designs and cultural fashion never died and steam technology continued into modern day? We'd have brass iphones with ornate inlay, computers with delicate "mechanical" keys on the keyboard made of brass and chrome. At the same time, I'm trying to create a different look that what is currently prominent in the Steam-punk circles. This should be interesting. So far, it's frustrating. Hoping for a mental brainstorm! Here is one of my new designs under construction created in 3DS Max and Vray.

Gothic Horror - Ghost Castle

I'm a fan of the classic horror films like "Frankenstein" and "Dracula". I always loved the silver halide look of the films and the beautiful cinematography. Here is a digital painting that I created using Photoshop and the Wacom tablet. See anything interesting in the image?
Prints available in various sizes....

Gothic Art - An homage to the Nineteenth Century Realist Painters

"Another City In Ruins" - 48" x 36" Original Oil Painting - $3,200 (available in prints as well)

Here is one of my latest "Dark Ruins" paintings in oil. It is an homage to the great Nineteenth Century Realist Painters like Frederick Church and William Turner. They believed that in that time the world was coming to an end due to industrialization. They feared the loss of innocence and beauty in nature would be replaced with corruption and greed. They weren't far off from their predictions!

This painting that I created called "Another City in Ruins" reflects my feelings about where our society is heading with greed and corruption in our leaders. With bank bailouts and foreclosures run ramped, and the few fat cats up in Washington and in Dubai taking all of our money so that the 1% can control everything, I wonder how they can sleep at night while they sell their souls. However, like the 19th century realists I believe that we can warn our society before it's too late with our paintings, our words and our music. We don't want archeologists to be standing on the ruins of our civilization 1000 years from now wondering what went wrong. It's time to start creating a world of peace and prosperity for everyone and take back the power and money from the corrupt few. I hope one day that this painting may inspire someone to put down their greed and start learning to be generous before it's too late.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some Digital Paintings I've created in 2009/2010

In case you were wondering what I mean by digital paintings, here are three examples of some previous works I created last year around this time using Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom Tablet. I've been going back to my childhood dreams of drawing Sci Fi cities and scenes and I'm working on more Science Fiction cities and I will upload those when I get some more time. They were really fun to create! They take a while, but they are worth it. I wish I had this technology when I was a child! I created the two cityscapes over a year ago and Lucy was created about 4 months ago. Yes, I know the cityscapes look like Tron. They were inspired by the original 1982 movie and the Miami Skyline. I used to live in Ft. Lauderdale. Needless to say, I was blown away by the new Legacy movie; in fact, humbled at the brilliance of the city designs. I can't believe the movie was not nominated for best Art Direction! Lucy is actually a digital painting of Lucy Westenra, from Brom Stoker's Dracula. The image is of a famous supermodel. Anyone know the name of the model? If you want, you can purchase the cityscapes by contacting me or by visiting this link....

Thank you for reading! God Bless!

My first blog

We'll, Here goes nothing. I spent tonight creating my blog profile sooooo, I hope it will go well. Anyway, I'll try to keep up the blogging and upload new and "exciting" aspects of what I'm creating, working on, experiencing, etc. Should be fun and a good journal exercise. At 44, I'm starting to forget the past a bit, so a blog journal will help to look back on my journey as an artist. To use an OVERUSED line, "what a long, strange trip it's been" - being an artist in the 20th and 21st century.