Master Artist Series
“I never stopped doing art. It’s like life; it’s like blood. It’s more than money,” reflects James Brantley, in a 2014 interview with the Philadelphia Tribune. “A life without art is like a life without air.” This statement encapsulates the life and identity of Gallery Artist James Brantley, famed contemporary painter and life-long Philadelphian.
"A life without art is like a life without air."
Celebrate 2 by James Brantley, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 48 inches. Inquire for price.
Brantley was born in Philadelphia in 1945, and artistic creation has central to the artist from his earliest days. Upon graduating from Simon Gratz High School in the Nicetown neighborhood of North Philadelphia in 1963, Brantley began studying art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). In September of 1964, Brantley was drafted into the United States Army to serve in Vietnam. After one tour of duty in Vietnam and on tour Stateside, Brantley earned an honorable discharge in 1966.
Called by an irresistible impulse to create, Brantley resumed his studies at PAFA, completing a four-year Certificate Program in Painting in 1971. He then enrolled in the General Studies Program at The Philadelphia College of Art in 1971, and later studied 19th and 20th Century Art History at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972.
"Find one person that believes in your voice and sing to them."
Left to right: SWG by James Brantley, acrylic on canvas, 37 x 49.5 inches; Ursula by James Brantley, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 inches. Inquire for price.
“My journey as an artist has not been an easy choice. There were the constant reminders of not being appreciated, in this life. These concerns were from family, friends, educators or just total strangers. I want people to know that I have the determination of a pit bull dog, once I bite, I hold on until I'm done. Young artists need to have that dog, crocodile, wolverine, or whatever it takes to persevere. Find one person that believes in your voice and sing to them."
Showtime by James Brantley, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 48 inches. Inquire for price.
James Brantley’s much sought-after works are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Woodmere Art Museum, located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, and the US Department of State Collection in the Embassy of the United States in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His debut work, “Brother James (1968),” was acquired by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1970 after its composition was notably admired by famous realist painter Andrew Wyeth. Brantley has also won awards for his work, including the Hallgarten Price from the National Academy of Design, and the Louis Fine Purchase Award from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.
Left to right: Hustler by James Brantley, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 inches; Jimmy's by James Brantley, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Inquire for price.
Brantley’s works sit at the intersection of abstraction and figurative painting. Employing abstract principles of form and color, Brantley pushes the perspective and composition of his figurative paintings. His often-surreal paintings offer spaces that beg to be inhabited by the viewer. His extensive oeuvre features airy and optimistic landscape paintings, bold portraits, expansive and moody cityscapes, and thought-provoking interiors. Deeply dedicated to his studio practice, James Brantley is experimental in his approach, and has created a distinctive visual language across his ever-evolving artistic career. Brantley is both a master painter and a compelling story-teller, who continues to remain true to his artistic vision and personal identity as an artist.
New works by James Brantley are available to purchase through the gallery, and will be featured in an upcoming exhibition in May 2021!