James has created original artwork or design for:

Vice Media LLC
Vice Magazine
Palladium Boots
Ricoh Electronics
The McNeely Foundation
The town of Wadena, MN (murals)
Crushkill Recordings
MN Vikings LLC
Abdo Publishing
Conveyor Magazine
The East Side Arts Council (MN)
Blick Art Materials

James is from St. Paul, MN and currently resides in Minneapolis. He grew up around a family of artists, photographers, designers and educators and has been creating artwork since he can remember. He’s represented by Gallery Mar, Park City, UT and has been exhibiting in juried shows since 2001, when he was just in high school. James has work on permanent display in the Denver Children’s Hospital as well as the new MN Vikings football stadium downtown Minneapolis, where he lives and works.

He considers himself a landscape painter, or a documentary painter, with no set plan on imagery in terms of who, where, why, what. More on that below… He’s trained in intaglio printmaking and graphic design technically and has worked professionally as a graphic designer in NYC. He’s been drawing since he can remember and has no formal training in painting. Most of his imagery comes from snowboarding or hiking trips to the mountains in the Western part of the US. Surfin’ on some pow may be one of the greatest feelings for James, not to mention the impressions left by the insurmountable beauty found in the mountains flying by. Many of these temporal experiences can be seen through his work.

A review written by Victoria Kennedy, Fine Art Consultant, Gallery Mar, Park City, UT:

“The brevity and stillness of Penfield’s work often reminds me of moments in time. Brief moments that we try and remember – an image that we try and capture within our minds and memories. And yet here they are on a canvas.

The stripped down memory of a place, the feel of it in your senses – the simple beauty of colors and lines is what attracts me to Penfield’s work. It is a peacefulness that we rarely encounter in modern art. With Penfield, this chaos is stripped away, until we are left with suggestions and imitations of the form’s true essence.”

“Empty our minds as we may, some form of changing process remains for us to feel, and cannot be expelled …Awareness of change is thus the condition on which our perception of time’s flow depends.” – William James

“Photography is nature seen from the eyes outwards. Painting is nature seen from the eyes inwards.” -Charles Sheeler

Penfield’s work comes from a reductionist perspective, or its a way of finding truth. In a sense, homogenizing energy (light (color), matter, etc.) and allowing it to be interpreted clearly in various ways through recognizable and some unrecognizable imagery, to translate the translation process we are constantly doing or is doing to us.

Penfield was involved in a serious head on collision when he was 16, resulting in a 3 day coma. After a full recovery, he felt a new lease on life had been given to him and so he went off to Colorado when he was 18 for college. Returning to Minnesota following a snowboard crash, Penfield attended Hamline University where he studied fine arts and received a BA in Art History, however he still made plenty of trips out west to snowboard in the meantime..

To expand his reach further, James got himself involved with music branding and design around 2006, working with friends and friends of friend’s who played around in Minneapolis, showing more of his work at their shows. He used these works and pieces to apply for a program in graphic arts at Parsons the New School so he could live and work there. He interned with Vice Media LLC in Brooklyn, NY in 2010. There he was able to work alongside international teams of creatives, making pieces for Vice’s many media channels and graphics for companies including Converse. He freelanced with various companies in NYC, worked in a screen printing shop in the East Village and then came back to Minneapolis to pursue his painting career where he is now. James has lived and worked in CO, MN, NY and CA. He likes to keep up to date on news about physics, psychology, cosmology and the universe, and implements aspects of this into his work, thinking about it like a collective growth of information we can relate to and inspire each other with, which puts that energy into action and new forms.

Growing up he was highly influenced by the work of Doze Green, the Russian Constructivists, Joseph Albers, John Cage, Basquiat, Kim Cogan, etc etc. and was known to frequent such websites as Fecalface.com and Giantpeach.com, because those 2 specifically allowed him to check out the artwork coming from different areas of the country, mostly work coming from the SF Bay Area, where he later spent some time living.

Besides painting and graphic design, Penfield loves illustration and has illustrated 6 “How to Draw” books including 240 drawings total, released into elementary schools and available on Amazon in early 2015 through Abdo Publishing, teaching kids techniques on how to start their own art careers. You can view those books through the link on top of this site.


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