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What Happened To The Art Masters?

BY Catherine Kennedy | 01-Feb-2017
In today's art world it is hard to sort through all the artists and artwork to find the cream of the crop. This is a highlight of an artist to look for.

What Happened To The Art Masters?

There appears to be one left…His name is Picard
By Catherine Kennedy

The English curator and gallery owner Kurt Beers published the voluminous 100 Artists of Tomorrow in October, 2014. A jury of prominent figures of the art world chose the most promising 21st-century artists from a list of 4,300 submitted candidates. Anyone who painted could apply and did. (Even a few dozen art schools also nominated their own graduates.) So we now have a list of artists who we’ve never heard of, who come from various backgrounds and paint or create mostly in digital media, as is the current trend. Some are realistic painters, some abstract, a few conceptual and quite a few minimalists. There have been many Surrealist, Photorealist, Hyperrealist, Futurist, Fauvist and Impressionist painters who mimic those genres past masters. But where are the Michelangelos, the Picassos, and the Rembrandts? Those artists who came to fight for everything that was art, right from the womb. They could do it all and they did. They were workhorses that created so much and on such a level of mastery that it boggled the mind. I used to think, like most in the art world that those artists no longer existed… but I was wrong. We have one here among us, living, breathing and existing only for his art. His name, if you haven’t heard of it already, is James Picard. His is from French decent but grew up in Canada and now resides in Southern California. He is a true Master in every sense of the word. He can work proficiently in any medium and has dominated nearly every genre there is in art. He is also a humanitarian of incredible proportions, donating his time, money and skills to hospitalised children and underprivileged youth and children with cancer.

His own childhood was taken from him by a violent alcoholic father who destroyed almost all of his artwork from 3-14 years of age, with only a handful of pieces surviving the weekly burning of art by an enraged and jealous patriarch.

His output since has been staggering. Thousands upon thousands of drawings and paintings in every medium are stacked and line his studio walls. Oils, acrylic, watercolor, ink, pencil, charcoal are all in there representing figurative, landscape, still-life, realism, abstract, impressionist, expressionism, photorealism, surrealism, fauvist and minimalism. All with the personal touch that is his own, it is as if the art masters of the past all reincarnated into one artist…Picard.

If we look past his creative output and his generous charity work, Picard is not the type of artist that merely sits in the studio creating, he is a gregarious individual who has exhibited his work in more than 150 exhibitions across North America and Europe. He has won awards for his art and been commissioned by a great number of collectors, many of whom are A-list celebrities in Hollywood, which is where Picard resigns these days.

He has also been touring worldwide a series of paintings he calls, “The Dark & The Wounded”, an exhibition that takes place in abandoned asylums, prisons and hospitals. It is a statement on our society, our world and ourselves. As Picard himself says,

“In each of us there are wounds: emotional scars from trauma, abuse, abandonment, and fear. Some wounds are deeper than others but all result in suffering. These wounds, found in the dark regions of the human psyche, if ignored, manifest in other ways. Fear, racism, violence, isolation, homophobia, and denial are the result of failing to look within and heal the wounds that lie inside. The Dark and The Wounded series is not only about the consequences of a wounded and dark soul. It is about knowing that we all suffer, and that through compassion and awareness, for ourselves and others, we can heal our wounds. This in turn can heal ourselves, our families, our society, and the world in which we all live.”

At the end of the North American tour Picard exhibited his series at the infamous Alcatraz prison. He was the first artist in history to ever display paintings in an exhibit there, the only other artist was fellow world renowned artist/activist Ai Weiwei who did installations around the grounds and surrounding buildings of the prison. Picard received wide recognition for his exhibit at Alcatraz with the San Francisco Weekly Newspaper calling it “A weighty and important project”, the Vancouver Sun newspaper said, “The experience reaches in and grabs your very soul.” and NBC news stated that it was “Too unbelievable to tally up in words.” The Dark & Wounded project has been filmed as a documentary with the soundtrack composed by Hollywood composer Jeff Danna who, along with being an Emmy nominee, has worked with many top directors, including Terry Gilliam and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassis and on a number of huge box office films.

Picard, despite having setbacks, the tragic murder of his sister, his closest ally and supporter and the recent near amputation of his hand due to a rare infection that has left him without full mobility and in severe chronic pain, has shown no signs of slowing down. He is currently being wooed by Warner Brothers Studios in Hollywood for his incredible skills as a painter, the prestigious Westbrook Galleries in London, England now has Picard in their stable of artists, who also include Picasso, Matisse, Bacon and Warhol just to name a few and he is continuing his Dark and Wounded tour heading into a number of unique venues in Europe and will be promoting his new film of the same name throughout 2017.

Of course Picard is also continually in demand with commission work and continues to paint and draw daily.

You can Picard’s work by visiting his website at jamespicard.com or darkandwounded.com or google ‘Picard’ if you’ve got a few spare hours to spend, there’s a lot out there on what many are calling, the next art Master.