Jim Winters attended Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, graduating Summa Cum Laude in January 1988 with a BFA in Sculpture. His education was augmented by a year at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore as part of the East Coast Art School Consortium. Upon graduating from college, Winters took a job at the Lawrence Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia and helped install artwork by such luminaries as Richard Serra, Louise Nevelson and Matt Mullican.
Following this, Winters embarked on an eleven-year freelance relationship with retail giant Urban Outfitters where he introduced a method of screen printing graphics on store windows – a technique still employed today.
He moved to San Francisco in the fall of 1992 and became involved with the seminal art gallery Kiki, where he had his first solo show in the summer of 1993. In addition to exhibiting at various artist-run galleries (ESP, Scene/Escena, Little Frankenstein’s, Showroom), he has been in group shows at larger venues: New Langton Arts and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.
Winters’ varied interests have informed all of his work: vintage graphics and ephemera, portrait painting and photography, and textiles and wallpaper. A street art sticker project led to work with graphic designer Tom Bonauro on the Levi’s 501 Reasons campaign in the mid 1990’s. Subsequent high-profile projects ensued, including a year of horoscope illustrations for Flaunt magazine and concert posters for Bill Graham Presents. Other graphic design clients include Stanford University and the Northern California Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Starting in 2000, Winters began focusing more on commercial decorative work. He mastered highly-detailed ornamentation while painting filigree on silk lampshades at Feneri Lighting. He then expanded his repertoire of skills in 2004 under the tutelage of esteemed decorative painter Elisa Stancil at Stancil Studios. He continues to be involved with the company, now headed by James Stancil, on an on-call basis for special projects.
From 2007 to 2009 Winters held the position of Program Manager for the respected nonprofit Visual Aid, where he fostered and grew his contact base and helped orchestrate three of the organization’s signature “Big Deal” art auctions. While at Visual Aid, Winters was in charge of graphic design and creating posters and promotional materials for all of the organization’s events.
In December of 2009 Winters resumed full-time studio work and freelancing. He has created wall paintings (preferring this term over ‘mural’), both corporate and residential, for leaders in the tech sector. He has painted (graphics, lampshades, wall finishes) for an array of San Francisco’s best interior designers including Gary Hutton, Ken Fulk, the Wiseman Group, Tucker & Marks and Saint Dizier Design.
In the fall of 2011, Winters was an artist-in-residence at Denison University in Ohio. In keeping with the 2011-2012 campus theme of ‘Migrations’, he showed his landscape silk screen series entitled Travelogue and taught a workshop on reduction screen printing.
2011 also brought work drawing portrait illustrations for Men’s Health magazine.
In August 2013, Winters and his good friend, illustrator Michael Wertz, had a two-person show at San Francisco’s Dolores Park Café. In December, Winters mounted a solo exhibition of reduction screen print portraits entitled Presence at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art. You can read about it here.
In March of 2014, Winters returned to Denison University for a group exhibition: Likeness, Portraits by Four Contemporary Artists. The other artists in the show were Karen Schmidt, Susan Moore and Christian Faur. You can see some images from that show here.
In May 2015, Winters conducted an on-stage interview with one of his personal art heroes, John Waters, at the Del Mar Theatre in downtown Santa Cruz. You can see some images from that evening here. He had done a previous Q & A with Waters for Dinosaur Magazine INTL (Volume 01, Issue 03), the same issue where some of his landscape screen prints were also published.
In July, Winters painted a large landscape mural in a San Francisco residence for Ken Fulk, Inc. – one of his biggest projects to date.
The Fall issue of Dinosaur (Volume 02, Issue 01) – a David Bowie tribute – contained 20 of Winters’ portraits. Two of them were hand drawn to accompany a feature on music pioneer, Giorgio Moroder, and the remaining 18 were portrait illustrations for Dinosaur’s first annual 50 Over 50 List. You can see the portraits here.
Jim Winters lives with his partner Jeff Stallings, his mother and their dog, Otis, in Santa Cruz, California. He relocated in September 2014, after 22 years in San Francisco.