Tuesday, March 1, 2011

James Christensen

Man Taking a Leek on a Wall... for a Walk - By James Christensen

I came across a book about James Christensen in the library when I was doing research for another assignment, it just leapt out at me while walking past the shelf. The colors of the illustrations on the cover really grabbed my eye, and the whimsical proportional distortions and ridiculous accoutrements of the characters, forced me to go over and take a look. The costumes of most of his characters speak to colonial era dress and older time periods, but to a large extent feel like the sort of patchwork doll clothes you might see at a small town middle America craft show. He distorts the noses and the jaw lines to create an exaggerated trust forward of the lower half of a lot of his faces. The piece that I was most amused by is called "Man Taking a Leek on a Tiled Wall for a Walk." In it he has exaggerated the hight of the face, making the nose once again the most prominent feature. The body structure of the figure like many of his other illustrations is either really fat an bulbous, or really thin underneath some seriously bulky clothing. In the image, the leek the man is walking, floats beside him on the ledge, like fish seem to in many of his other images. His work is very whimsical. In the book, the designer has paired many of his painted illustrations with similar black and white line work, and in some instances has overlapped the two making them seem like part of the same image. It's a fun juxtaposition, which seems like it almost could work as a style itself. I'll be checking it back in soon, so if anyone wants to take a look, the call number is: 759.13 c554j


  1. It took me a second to realize what was going on in this image, but I like that quality. His excellent use of texture and pattern make this a fun piece to dissect visually. His attention to detail makes for a very believably character.

  2. At first, all those busy patterns made me think that this was some kind of fabric collage - I was surprised when you said he paints these. I like how serious the character looks, especially when taken in the context of his walking around with a vegetable on a leash.

  3. I love the look and sense of hummor in the piece. I first thought the image was fun and odd but after reading the title I got the joke. I love the double entendre. And as said before the attention to deatail and the reallistic approch to the painting is amazing.