James Tomlinson, abstract artist & musician, has a passion for art. He often uses simple objects to convey change or poignant images depicting metaphorical lessons.
“Art, to James Tomlinson, painting, music, cooking, whatever is an attempt to capture the truth. Some truths can’t be captured in words. Art is also a way of understanding the world, not necessarily with that purpose in mind. Art is a process. . .a way of communicating. You start the conversation and then some other element guides you what to do next.”
To James, his art is an interaction between a sort of magnetic force and himself, different from day-to-day consciousness. “You have to be in the moment and super aware. It’s a state of unconsciousness, a state of being. There is energy in the moment. . .one particular truth per one particular moment. It’s recording an instant into some type of a stable format so that’s it’s not lost. It might have some meaning to someone later. Everything that happens to you in your life comes out in your art.”
Abstract painting is Tomlinson’s medium of choice. To James, “Abstract is a force patiently waits for us. It’s love and it doesn’t matter whether we realize it at age 50 or at age 2. Most of the brightest Scientists realize that even with all concrete science, the other side is love. Science is the way to approximate love. I want to operate in love.” Truth and beauty inspires James. It happens in the moment. “Truth, whether beautiful or not, is always truth. It’s part of the moment. Truth can be loneliness, sadness for the world’s suffering, or even exaltation after seeing a kid smile at you.”
Tomlinson is also an accomplished musician, a drummer. He was inspired when his father was in the navy. When his father would go out to sea, a band would be playing at the dock. He was especially fascinated with the drums in the band. At 10 years old, James sold newspapers and earned money. His father took him to the local pawn shop and he purchased red sparkle drums.
He wanted to play drums in High School but there were too many drummers so he had to play the coronet, trumpet and sousaphone. He played in a band during Jr. High School, right after school with two guitar players. He remembers: “Girls would come over and stand outside listening to me playing the drums. I was attracted to stardom.” Anecdotally, James’ art teacher told him in grade school that he would never make it as an artist. His High School music teacher told him he’d never make it in the music business.
After having a life threatening appendicitis attack, he made a point to start doing what he loved for a living. Tomlinson said, “I started doing it for money and didn’t like it. I didn’t want it to be about money. I wanted it to be about music. When things become about money, you can lose the joy in your art. When I’m depressed, I play the drums. I’m in this place where time doesn’t matter and I’m connected.”
Tomlinson went on to found a graphic design business and operated it for 12 years. In 2006, Tomlinson made monumental life altering decisions. He decided to leave the business world, leave an established marriage, and move into the Verde Valley. “Nobody knew me. No one knew what I did. I didn’t tell anybody.” That’s when Tomlinson started painting. “For years, my image was tied up in what other people think. Now, I’ve left that all behind. I’ve stopped caring about what other people think. It’s about my art and being in touch with that part of me.”