James Harrington began his art education at the High School of Art & Design with Irwin Greenberg. He went on to the Art Students League where he studied with David Leffel and Harvey Dinnerstein. He also studied drawing with Sherrie McGraw. He received his MFA from Queens College. Currently, he teaches at the High School of Art & Design. He lives in NYC with his wife and daughter.
My work is based on my experience of everyday life. I paint people and their environments. In my portraits I strive to capture in paint my experience with each individual. I work with shapes, values, and color, but I strive to transform these elements to a record of my experience as I study an individual. I focus on making beautiful paint, interpreting in paint, not slavishly imitating a photographic reality. The key is to balance the love of paint and the fascination with the subject. I want my work to look like painted without permitting the paint to be the subject itself. The integrity of the subject cannot be compromised, nor can the sensual appeal of the paint be ignored. It is this dynamic that forms the core of my work. I want to be painterly, but accurate. Abstract forms leave me feeling empty, slavish photorealism leaves me cold. Painterly realism thrills me. I manipulate pigments into the forms of the visual world that surrounds me and capture a purified moment in time.
The subway images represent what I have come to call documentary painting. It is like the aesthetic of documentary photography, but interpreted in paint. I do make changes to what I find, but I am committed to recording the fascinationI have with the world I observe about me. I am particularly intrigued with how the signage of the subway ads interacts with the passengers on the train.