James Deeb

What brought you to Evanston?
My wife and I moved to Evanston from Chicago. We wanted to buy a house in a less hectic environment but still be close to the Loop, where we both have day jobs. Evanston fit the bill. Over the years, it's become less of a home base and more of a home.

How does your environment inform your art?
I reassemble the faces I see while traveling through Evanston and Chicago into the 'tronies' that make up a large part of my work. I also reference the chipped and weathered surfaces that make up so much of the urban environment in the heavy impastos of my paintings. My work would look quite different if I made it in another environment.

Describe your art, in a hundred words or less.
My work is darkly humorous and melancholy in roughly equal measures. I'm interested in human misadventure, but always with modicum of pathos. I refer to it as art in a minor key.

What is your medium?
I primarily work in oils, but also draw and print monotypes. Once in great while, I’ll make a short film (or write a script for one).

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on a large painting called Pyle’s Regiment. (Think Ernie, not Gomer.) It’s the latest piece in my Killing Eternity series, which features devils doing, well, devilish things.

Name one piece of art, by any artist, that blew your mind or otherwise inspired you.
The Skeleton Painter by James Ensor. A seemingly unassuming painting that says a great deal about the thorny issue of “living on” through your work.

Why art?
Art is a spinning coin. For one bright moment, you can see both sides at the same time. There's no way I could resist that...

James' website