James Walker Studios

The Importance of Persistence

Skateboarding exclamates and elevates many life lessons. One of my favorites is Persistence.  If you’ve ever watched a skateboarder going for a trick and witnessed all the times they get close to landing it, walking the fine line between success and serious bodily harm, then you must appreciate their persistence in the face of absolute peril. Try, fall, get back up, repeat. This is a huge part of the essence of skating.

The important thing to remember is that you never know how close you are to accomplishing your goal, it could be the very next try.  If you really want to succeed you must keep pushing yourself because there would be nothing worse than trying something 150 times and then giving up and walking away not knowing that attempt number 151 would have been the winner.

Persistence my friends, if you are physically capable of getting back up, then you have the ability to keep trying.

Here’s a snapshot of Brian from a few weeks ago, he put in some work to get this backside air over the spine at Castle Rock.  I admit I cringed a little bit every time he nearly clipped his back wheels on the copping and bailed on the landing. But like most everyone I’ve ever skated with he kept getting up and going for it and was rewarded with a clean landing a fraction of a second after I snapped this photo.

Digital VS. Analog Post Production (and a fun Landscape photo)

While we were on our way out of town after a glorious skate session at Loveland Skatepark Anna spotted this beautiful old car reposing in the landscape. She insisted that I jump out and photograph it and I’m super stoked that I did because one of my favorite things about the Southwest is all of the random vintage artifacts that are just lounging around, ruminating and waiting for someone to photograph them.

With a background in traditional wet darkroom photography I am always searching for a way to merge the worlds of digital and analog image making. In the past I was hesitant to apply too much post production “art sauce” to my images until I realized that one of the things I love about film photography is the serendipity of print making, especially with type 55 and 665 Polaroid negatives. Obviously the “craft” of black and white darkroom printing is extremely important, but where you push it to after you’ve mastered the craft is what makes your images unique and special. I recently realized that that was the same in digital post production as well.  It is imperative that you start with a decent image, but where you take that image, whether it is a simple levels correction or a set of custom actions, is what ultimately makes your photographs unique.


Super stoked to watch this guy’s progression. One of the keys aspects of skateboarding is pushing yourself to be better than you were the last time you skated, that’s one of the reasons why this art form is so amazing. You are only in competition with yourself.  Keep it up Jason!

New Work Preview!

This new painting is based on a photograph I made many years ago in Savannah. I decided to revisit and re-contextualize the image in the piece. The main part of the background was created using acrylics, aerosol, colored pencils, and watercolors.  The image of the bird is a hand-colored, toner based transfer. This piece is part of a new series of small paintings on heavyweight watercolor paper and measures 9″x12″.

Rock n’ Roll at Golden

A snapshot from Golden Skatepark last night. For this photo I had originally placed the flash behind the subjects in hopes of getting some nice rim lighting but that left the foreground too dark.  Anna suggested holding the flash in front and to the right which worked out much better. The warm highlights were created by the overhead lights at the park. It took a few tries for the guys to get the timing right but with a little persistence and teamwork we pulled it off!

A Girl and Her Dog

On the heels of the post I put out this morning here is another photo from last weekend. Anna (@nominramen) has a unique and beautiful relationship with her puppy Ripley, check her out on Instagram for more wonderful adventures!

A portrait from Sunday

A sunset portrait of my lovely wife and her loyal companion on the edge of the bowl at Railbender Skatepark. We were in the middle of a super fun session and as I carved through the bowl I noticed that the sun was about to dip behind the trees and everyone standing on the west deck of the bowl was a silhouette against the afternoon sky. I knew I had to stop and make some photographs, fortunately I had two perfect subjects for this portrait. This image was made using a 35mm prime lens at f1.8 1/8000 ISO100. I based the exposure on an average meter reading of the sky, just above and to the right of the sun so as to get the beautiful oranges and blues with a nice saturation and still let the brightness of the last few rays of sunlight create a dramatic highlight.

New Work

This new painting was created on a reclaimed skateboard using a variety of mixed media techniques. First I collaged the background with pieces of recycled paper, then I put down a few colors of diluted acrylic paint. I used some spray paint to blend the colors into the white part in the middle. I masked off the bottom to create a solid line and used some old bubble wrap to create parts of the texture, I wanted a pattern that subtly reminded me of water.  The images are original photographs that I had taken a while ago, the elephant is one of my favorites and I re-contextualize him often. These images were printed with a toner based machine so that they could be transfered onto the background. I used some water colors on the images before transferring to create some soft color tones. I’ll be posting a more in-depth discussion about transfer techniques in the future. Thanks for looking!


New Work Preview

This new piece is based on an image I made quite a while ago and just recently figured out construct a mixed media piece that conveys the feelings of the original photograph.  For this piece I used a variety of techniques including acrylics, aerosol, collage, and copper leaf. This painting is currently for sale here: www.jameswalkerstudios.com

Thank you for looking and please feel free to contact me (james@jameswalkerstudios.com) with any questions regarding the artistic processes involved in creating this piece or any of my other work 🙂

Young Minds

Anna and I recently hosted a private workshop for some young up and coming artists. Here is a snapshot of Liam contemplating his masterpiece and another of him hard at work.  There is nothing more creatively refreshing than being in the company of an artist who is completely in the moment and creating entirely based on intuition, exploration, and fun 🙂