Hump Day Hot Seat: James Austin Murray

 

James

©Max Noy Photo

1. Who are you? 

My name is James Austin Murray. I used to go by Jim Murray, but if you Google “Jim Murray artist,” good luck finding me. Now I go by my full name.

2. What do you do? 

I build and make paintings, what I mean by build them is I make the solid substrates they’re on and shape them as a starting place for the painting.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

I’ve been making art of some sort since high school. I studied Illustration at Parsons School of Design, and I spent a long time doing work that was in some ways illustrative, but now my work has become completely abstract. I find it so much more engaging and the work evolves differently than figurative work.

4. How long have you been at it? 

See above.

5. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?  

Richard Serra for his ability to do massive powerful works that have magic. I also admire many artists who’s names are not yet household names. A few of those are Diane Scott, Keiko Narahashi, Mark Zimmermann, Alex Couwenberg, Valerie Brennan, Susan Carr, Erika Diehl, Don Voisine and lots of other living, hard working artists. There are so many excellent artists working today.

6. What other types of art are you in to?  

I’m pretty impressed by all artists and artisans, particularly by people who believe in what they do and have found a way to do it life long. I have huge respect for the artist that never gets to show much and works their entire life. To me it shows that they are or were true believers in their artistic endeavor.

7. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?  

I collect art, it’s not so much a hobby as it is a love. I think it’s important for an artist to understand what motivates a collector and there is no better way of doing that than collecting. It’s also becoming a retirement account. I don’t know about stocks, but art I know what I fall in love with. Yet it’s something I hope never to have to sell. Lots of people think that collecting art is exclusively for the rich. I spend an average of maybe $1000 a year, that’s less than someone spends if they smoke two packs of cigarettes per week.

8. What’s your favorite vice? 

Lust and Italian wine!

9. How do you make it over the creative hump?  

I can’t relate to artistic block anymore. I have a daily studio practice, and it’s about getting work done. There’s always busy work I can do if I’m not feeling “on” so that when I am feeling clear headed and ready to rock, my studio is ready for me.

10. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?  

I would eat Japanese every day if I could afford it. I’m a decent cook. I learned initially from my friend June Chung who taught me how to cook Italian food in France. He had lived in Italy when he was learning to sing Opera.

11. What is your most prized possession? 

I think it has to be my workspace. I could loose everything and be OK if I could continue to have a space to make work. It’s my personal rabbit hole and my playroom.

 

 

 

 

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Monday Funday: James Austin Murray’s “Ides of March” at St. Peter’s Church

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

A couple weeks ago, my coworker David invited a few of us to the opening reception for “Ides of March” by New York City based artist James Austin Murray at the Narthex Gallery of St. Peter’s Church on Lexington and 54th Street. I took some photographs of Murray’s large scale oil on canvas works, which I later found out were specifically created for the space. His technique and application really reminded me of vinyl records.

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Tamesis I and II, oil on canvas, 82″ x 128″ x 4″. Photo © Bernadette Cruz

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Bomb Proof Anchor, oil on canvas, 52″ x 110″ x 4″. Detail photo © Bernadette Cruz

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Bomb Proof Anchor, oil on canvas, 52″ x 110″ x 4″. Detail photo © Bernadette Cruz

For more about James Austin Murray’s work, visit http://jamesaustinmurray.com/. “Ides of March” is on display at the Narthex Gallery of St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Ave. NYC, through April 25.

From James Austin Murray:

The color black, the subject of my painting, is all absorbing. It’s the hungriest of colors sucking all the visible spectrum into itself. The benefit of black is not only that it’s so deep, but the fact that paint is a pigment suspended in a binder. In oil pure black paint, absorbs the light spectrum and is also reflective. To me these paintings are not about the dark, as some have wondered aloud. They are about the light they reflect. I find them full of light and strangely bright for being black paintings. It is their blackness that make the reflections so much more effective. They reflect the colors around them, because of this each one feels like a new painting when placed in a different setting. All paintings reflect light, most reflect the spectrum of the colors in the paints. My current work is about painting and the paint. Are they also sculptures? No. They are paintings. If they were sculptures they would be sculptures about painting.