James Love: “compelled to express myself freely before God”
I’m James Love, and I’m a writer and an artist working primarily in mixed media, assemblage, and installation art.
My approach to art is fluid and lives on raw expression. My inspiration is primarily rooted in my childhood including growing up in New Covenant Holiness Church. The church was neither quiet nor boring. People would dance and cry out “hallelujah” to express their praise and love for God. No one was regulating how they expressed themselves, and often we would be in service for hours. When I’m creating art now, I still feel spiritually inspired and have no consciousnesses of time.
My Mom, a hardworking lady, refused to buy me a Gameboy Pocket as I had misplaced several during my elementary school years. To buy another one, I started making homemade comic books and selling them for $15.00 an issue. I earned enough to buy a new Gameboy as well as self-respect for my creativity. This incident was foundational in my quest to be an economically independent person and artist.
In my adult life, while living in Asheville, I met artist Joseph Pearson through his wife, Gael, now on the Executive Committee of the Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAM). Joseph was my first real interaction with a serious, professional artist. As my teacher and mentor, he introduced me to figure drawing and different ways to think about creativity. He encouraged me to exhibit my work in “Asheville Through Brown Eyes” sponsored by AAAM in late 2018, where I connected with other Black artists who have turned out to be blessings in my life and studio practice. People like Joseph, Jenny Pickens, Cleaster Cotton, Valeria Watson, and so many others living in Asheville provided me the insight and understanding that I can excel with dedication to hard work and commitment to honest expression.
I’m not concerned about perfection or with being famous but compelled to express myself freely before God, sharing my creative messages with others. Art is not only for visual communications but rather an instrument for understanding and healing, medicine for the soul. As an artist, my energy is focused on reaching and teaching others in a shared human experience.