James Penfield was born in St. Paul, MN in 1983. He studied art and art history at UC Boulder and Hamline University, followed by graphic design at The New School in NYC. His work is represented by:

Gallery Mar in Park City, UT :


Horizon Fine Art in Jackson Hole, WY :


Schoonover Gallery in Steamboat Springs, CO :


Penfield bases his work in the concept of phenomenology, drawing primarily from experiences in the western US. He relies heavily on working off of the photo image, in order to retain the initial impression that an experience leaves.

Phenomenology is a philosophy of experience. For phenomenology the ultimate source of all meaning and value is the lived experience of human beings. 

Phenomenology emphasizes the immediacy of experience, the attempt to isolate it and set it off from all assumptions of existence or causal influence and lay bare its essential structure. Phenomenology restricts the philosopher’s attention to the pure data of consciousness, uncontaminated by metaphysical theories or scientific assumptions.

Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object

Objects are always grasped partially and incompletely, in “aspects” (Abschattungen) that are filled out and synthesized according to the attitudes, interests, and expectations of the perceiver. Every perception includes a “horizon” of potentialities that the observer assumes, on the basis of past experiences with or beliefs about such entities, will be fulfilled by subsequent perceptions (see Husserl, Meditations 39–46).


Penfield grew up snowboarding out west in the 90’s which grew a love and fascination with the mountains. When he was 16, he suffered a TBI from a car accident that he fully recovered from, but altered his path in life. After undergoing rehab and gaining a new perspective placing a greater value on life, he moved off to Boulder, CO when he was 18 to attend CU Boulder and explore the mountains.

After a fateful crash while snowboarding at Keystone, CO, Penfield was forced to return to MN. After enrolling at Hamline University in St. Paul, he studied philosophy, intaglio printmaking and earned a bachelor’s degree in art history. After graduating from undergrad, traveling around and working out west in San Francisco, Penfield came back to Minneapolis where he created art and design for the music scene there at the time.

After doing that for a few years, he moved to NYC where he studied graphic design at Parsons the New School. He interned with Vice Magazine/Media and freelanced as a graphic designer and screen printer in the city.

While in NYC, he started to paint more while looking for work or in between jobs, and eventually ended up showing at the Abend Gallery in Denver, CO in a show titled “Bold New West.”

The time in the city came to an end in 2012 and Penfield moved back to Minneapolis and found work in framing and fine art printing while continuing to paint.

Now he works as a full time artist with his work in permanent and public collections around the US.

You can read 2 interviews below:

2011 AAS Graphic Design, Parsons the New School, NYC

2007 BA Art History, Hamline University, St. Paul, MN

Read an interview by Gallery Mar


Read an interview by NYC based art consultant company Indiewalls.com 



2023 – “Gallery Mar 15th Anniversary Show,” Park City, UT

2022 – “LA Zoo Beastly Ball,” Los Angeles, CA

2021 – “LA Zoo Beastly Ball,” Los Angeles, CA

2019 – “It’ll Last Longer,” Gallery Mar, Park City, UT

2018 – “Windows,” GX Gallery, London, England

2017 – ”Looking In, Looking Through,” neo:gallery23, Manchester UK

2017 – ”Art of Engagement,” Touchstone Gallery, Washington DC

2016 – ”26th Annual Holiday Show,” Abend Gallery, Denver, CO

2016 – ”Love, SooVAC, Celebration of 15 Years of Art,” SooVAC Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2016 – ”Art As Politics,” Touchstone Gallery, Washington D.C.

2016 – ”MN Vikings Permanent Collection,” U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

2014 – ”Make the Machine Feel Human,” Soo Local Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2014 – ”3 Person Show,” Will Call Gallery, St. Paul

2013 – ”23rd Annual Holiday Show,” Abend Gallery, Denver, CO

2013 – “Parsons Alumni Exhibition 2013,” Aronson Galleries, NYC

2013 – “Art For Life,” Abend Gallery, Denver, CO

2013 – “Bold New West,” Abend Gallery, Denver, CO

2011 – “Skate Related 2,” XYZ Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2011 – “Teenage Elixir,” Tarnish and Gold Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2010 – “EYE Will,” Nicademus Art and Framing, St. Paul, MN

2010 – “MN State Fair Annual Art Exhibition,” St. Paul, MN

2009 – “Midwest Biennial,” David Hummer Gallery, Wausau, WI

2009 – “MN State Fair Annual Art Exhibition,” St. Paul, MN

2008 – “The Fall Collection,” 555 Studios, Minneapolis, MN

2008 – “Hot Off the Press,” Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis, MN

2007 – “Intaglio Archives: Selected Student Prints 1972-2007,” Hamline U, St. Paul, MN

2005 – “Drawing Conclusions,” Offbeat Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2002 – “Yo the Movement group show,” Calhoun Square Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

1999 – “MN Student Art Exhibition,” MN State Capital, St. Paul, MN

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.