Artist Jim Salvati has a message for artists of every persuasion - Even "normal people" can make it in the art world. "I'm a very regular guy; there's nothing fancy about me," says Salvati, who grew up surfing the beaches of southern California and went on to graduate from, and teach at, the prestigious Art Center College of Design. "I tell my students that you don't have to be extremely talented to make it. You can make it in life on passion and determination."
Salvati, an American painter of contemporary figurative fine art and one of a select group of painters for Disney Fine Art, has demonstrated plenty of those two attributes, and he most certainly has "made it" by art world standards. "I'm very fortunate to have this career. My future plans are to build my career. I am very passionate and excited by my work now more then ever. All I think about is art and creating it. I'm in a really good place. I want to expand on new ideas and images and I don't like complacency. I produce a lot of work." In fact, he has been painting and designing for a Who's Who of the entertainment and advertising business for over two decades. More recently, he was the master illustrator and conceptual artist behind many of the memorable images and finished paintings associated with the "Harry Potter" films. He's been a prolific artist for movie studios and theaters, with a client list that includes Disney, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Queen Mary, Radio City Music Hall, Castle Theater, Fox Pictures, Arena Stage, the Ahmanson Theater, and Verve Records, to name a few. He won the Washington Post award of excellence for his work with the Kennedy Center Honorees. In addition to all of this, Salvati has also found the time to illustrate books The War of the Worlds, Art of War and Frankenstein.
But beyond his pronounced gift for being able to take ideas and thematically bring it to visual reality, his greatest talent lies in his artistic development skills. He has been associated with many different artists devoted to growing their creative abilities. For more than two decades, he has been teaching at his alma mater, a gig he's found just as rewarding and inspiring as painting. "I love teaching, and students respond to my style because I'm so down to earth," he says. As a byproduct of his years as an instructor is his strong connection to artistic diversity as well as a careful observation of the changing world of art and how art interrelates with technology. His experience and knowledge cross many boundaries into print
, film, animation, and the fine arts.
Salvati grew up surrounded by art and architects - his mother painted and his father filled the house with works by his favorite artists. He also had two uncles that were artists, "one a fine artist and the other an architect, and he always remembers seeing their art and photography and was amazed at the beauty of what they had created." His southern California influence is also prevalent in his work. The ocean, surfing and the movie studios are all a major part in his life and career. Due to his uncle's influence, Salvati initially pursued a career in architecture once out of high school. However, he soon learned that the field wasn't all it was cracked up to be. "I learned that architecture was not as glamorous as I though it would be. An instructor noticed my frustration and saw that I could draw. He recommended that I take some drawing classes." Shortly after this, he was accepted to art school and the rest is history. Once out of school, Salvati's career took off. His unique style and unbridled talent, allowed him to hit the ground running, and he began painting for various industries including feature film, the surf industry, advertising and publishing. Salvati particularly enjoys painting for the theater.
He describes his own style as "painterly realism," and his favorite subjects are people. Ask him about a painting, and he will give you the subject's entire personal narrative. "Even with my Disney art, I think it's important to show who a person or character is and what is the most interesting part of their life the part that is bold and has guts. Perhaps that is why I choose the moodiest and edgiest figures to work on. Cult films like Alice in Wonderland are fun, Fantasia's hallucinating imagery, and any of the evil, dark queens and princesses help to create more than just a pretty picture." Individual personality and boldness can be observed in the scenes that Salvati chooses to depict. They are often not only a defining moment of a film, but usually the most climactic, emotionally charged and sometimes devastating - Bambi alone in the woods, the Huntsman with Snow White, and Scar leaving Simba in the canyon, all turning points in the story, when the lead character had to reveal his "guts" or courage. Salvati sees his creations as portals into various cultures and different areas of society. "I like the connection between people and their culture," he offers. "The different emotions, gestures, moods, environments, and style of people in my life and those that I cross paths with, all become part of my storytelling.
Working in oil paint, Salvati uses panel and sometimes mounted paper
, preferring the option of layering paint to create a lot of texture, as he feels that an uneven surface adds to the emotion of the story. "My paintings are extremely thick and layered and oil allows me the time I need to play with the color," he says, explaining the intricacies of his art. "I work in oil, alkyds on canvas
or wood, and gouache or graphite on paper... My color palette is never the same. It always changes with my ideas and subjects. Mood and atmosphere usually dictate my palette. Patience is not one of my good traits. I need to see things finished and paint "combat" style in long stretches of time to complete a piece." Indeed, it is his palette of oils that has inspired Salivate to search out a new look, which has energized his love of the old painters in conjunction with the great Walt Disney Studios.
World Wide Art
World Wide Art is known for its wide selection of limited editions and originals by renowned artists, including the captivating works of Jim Salvati. Their expert staff also specializes in custom conservation framing
. In business since 1996, World Wide Art is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a well-known art shop for both serious collectors and casual decorators. The staff at World-Wide-Art.com not only deals art, but are collectors and artists themselves who consider their work a labor of love and lifestyle of art appreciation.appreciation.