Hours are Monday - Friday, 3pm - 5pm & Saturday, 12am - 5pm until February 17th.
If this show were taking place one year from now, it could be called 'A 50 Year Retrospective on the Oil Paintings of James Hillis'. Of course, such a stuffy title would have made the artist very uncomfortable. 'Shadowy Fantasies' works a little better. Not that all of Jim's paintings are shadowy and fantastic. There are several touching portraits and a general sense of warmth and good humour. Even his monsters have a certain cuddliness. So, if you're at all in the mood to see something a little odd and a little sweet and a little funny, you might enjoy having a look at almost half a century's worth of Jim's oils.
When Jim Hillis was a very small boy, his dad drew the simple sideview of a car and asked little Jimmy to put circles in the empty wheel wells. As it can be almost impossible to determine these sorts of things, lets say that the praise little Jimmy received for his efforts is one of the main reasons that he became an artist. Another contributing factor was that, like so many other children, Jim had to spend a ridiculous amount of time sitting in a classroom. Which isn't so bad, of course, except that he struggled to pay attention. This made school a draggy and unsatisfying place and his solution was to doodle.
As his schoolyears ticked past, his doodles improved and he became known as the kid who likes to draw. Then, on the summer of his fifteenth birthday and inspired by the cover art of fantasy novels and monster magazines, he decided to try painting. Painting was even more fun than drawing and remained a favourite hobby throughout high school and during his thirty-nine years of hospital work. Now, he's retired from hospitals and the remainder of his life is starting to feel like one very long day of sitting in a classroom. He's almost certain that there's some kind of lesson being taught but he can't quite pay attention. So, like always, he's using art as a means of getting by.
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