Ravenswork Studios, Venice, Califonia


The first time I met artist Jim Barrett, he climbed out of his white station wagon, pulled an oxygen tank from the back seat, and threaded the plastic tubes around his neck and into his nose. Our friend Mark Governor introduced us. Jim shook my hand as he briefly explained his scoliosis and the oxygen tank he pulled around with less concern than if he’d spilled coffee on his t-shirt.

He opened the back of his station wagon, and there sat a half dozen three-by-four foot, black-framed paintings wrapped in clear plastic. Mark and I carried the pieces into the studio and began to unwrap them. I felt a surge of excitement as the bold images emerged, which slowly turned to a shade of guilt that he was actually going to let me hang this beautiful work in my studio.

The distinct style struck me, the quality clean and meticulous, bold images in bright settings, each with its own feel. I hung the painting of a woman with dark hair flowing to her waist, pulled back with a blue band, looking over a cityscape. The image came alive and transformed the room with color and life and depth like a passage to another world.