Growing up with a deep love for the outdoors, and snowboarding in the mountains, Penfield’s approach is based on actively interacting with landscape to generate perceptions and impressions, to break it down and build it back again, creating work thats based on direct contact with nature through experience.  He comes from a family of commercial artists, woodworking carvers and educators. You can see his fine artwork hung in  galleries and spaces across the country.

As a graphic designer I love to work with musicians and music branding, developing aesthetics along with sound. The idea of mixing sensory experience has always intrigued me and I do dabble in the music as much as possible. I look at color and sound like a tool that pushes and pulls space. Trained as a printmaker and graphic designer, color is applied intuitively while painting in process.

I don’t believe in translating nature or the city without actually experiencing it for the impressions it communicates.  But do believe that there exists a distinct set of experiences that we all have related to what we call landscape and wildlife. The trick is to find the spark in the chaos and translating that with order through a medium, to present back to the viewer a more accurate visual image of what we call nature, or to elude to an alternative interpretation through that method of presenting order/chaos, not to overwhelm the mind which misses the point, but to guide it to a higher ground.

Penfield has created original works for Totally Gross National Product, Converse, Vice Magazine/Media LLC, the Denver Children’s Hospital, Hilton Hotels, MN Vikings LLC, Palladium Boots, and others.

He’s painted large scale permanent murals addressing the transformation of MN historical rhetoric, has work hung in permanent collections around the US and has taught painting to students aged 8-18. He’s co created a published 6 book series, step by step on”How to Draw” through Abdo Publishing, available always. You can view his client list and CV below.

“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.”

– Victoria Kennedy, art consultant

Read an interview Penfield did with NYC based art consultant company here:

Studio Series: James Penfield

60×40″ “Glow” deer commission hanging in Deer Valley, UT.


5 3×4′ MN Vikings wide receivers past through present Commission – Hanging permanently in the Loft Suites at US Bank Stadium, downtown Minneapolis, MN.

Wildlife paintings hanging in the Denver Children’s Hospital.


“Deep Divers’ Turtle piece hanging in the Hilton, Los Cabos, Mexico.

“Run to the Hills” Horse piece hanging in Hotel Indigo, downtown El Paso, TX.

“Walking Home, Concrete Glow, Dumbo Bridge, Brooklyn” Hanging in the Foundry Lake Street Apartments, Minneapolis, MN




60×40″ commission in Deer Valley, UT. Hanging in One Empire Pass.


CV/Client list

James has created original artwork or design for:

Vice Media LLC
Vice Magazine
Hilton Hotels
Denver, CO Children’s Hospital
MN Vikings LLC/ US Bank Stadium
Hotel Indigo (El Paso, TX)
DAC Art Consulting
Princeton Brushes
Palladium Boots
Conveyor Magazine
The town of Wadena, MN (murals)
The East Side Arts Council (MN)
The McNeely Foundation (MN)
NoEcho Records
Totally Gross National Product
Graham O’brien (composer/producer)
Glenn Crytzer (band leader/composer)
Abdo Publishing
Blick Art Materials


2011 – AAS Graphic Design – Parsons the New School of Design, New York, NY
2007 – BA Art History – Hamline University, St. Paul, MN

Select Group Shows:

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,” duo show with Brian David Downs, 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 – “The Show That Never Was,” Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
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

2000 – “MN Student Art Exhibition,” MN State Capital, St. Paul, MN

Permanent Collections:

– U.S. Bank Stadium (MN Vikings permanent art collection)
– Children’s Hospital, Denver, CO
– One Empire Pass, Deer Valley, UT


• 2016 – Selected artist for “Artists Serving Artists” program – Blick Art Materials
• 2015 – Selected artist (out of 34) for permanent art installation – MN Vikings U.S. Bank Stadium
• 2009 – Joseph Gazzuolo Memorial Award, for fine art illustration – MN State Fair
• 2006 – Henriette Diebold Art Scholarship – Hamline University
• 2006 – Karl Stumpf Travel Award in Art and Art History – Hamline University