"After some experimentation, I tend to enjoy figurative sculpting the most. I'm a story teller, and seem to do my best work when the piece has a connection to some yarn, or hints at some simple event which the viewer may find."
Jim Palmer was born in a small railroad town in northern Wisconsin during the great depression. Growing up he spent most of his time out of doors hunting and fishing, and often consorted with the hoboes who detrained at the bum camp outside of town. Life was simple and as a boy his greatest desire was to own a horse of his own.
He tried many things, often through necessity. Jim pumped gas, painted signs, dabbled in taxidermy, learned woodworking, soloed his father's airplane when he was sixteen and drove a taxi. He wanted to try everything from sky diving to free lance writing. After four years in the Air Force and graduation from the University of Wisconsin in Superior, he began his career with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Beginning as a game warden, he went on to become a commercial pilot for the department and eventually served as the chief of the Special Investigations Unit. It was during these years that he also began raising, training and showing champion Arabian horses.
There was little in Palmer's colorful background that pointed him towards sculpture, and only when he moved to the active art community of Silver city, New Mexico did this talent emerge. He found Scattergrass Studio, a gathering place for sculptors, and it was there he first laid his hands on the clay. With no formal training in art, Palmer benefited greatly from the guidance and direction available there. According to Jim White, the director of Scattergrass, "Palmer showed up the first day with an innate sense of feel for the clay."
The rich memories of an eventful life have provided him with the subjects of his sculpture. Jim's very first piece was an artistic and sumptuary success. The simple but elegant Herd Sire, was modeled after Palmer's Arabian stallion only weeks before the horse died. The piece was juried into the first large show he entered, and several casts of it reside throughout the U.S. and in Germany. Recently Palmer studied with the noted French sculptor Philippe Faraut at the Sculptor Academy of Austin in Texas. At the Academy of Fine Art in Loveland, Colorado Jim studied with the renown Norwegian sculptor Kirsten Kokken. He works exclusively in oil base clay and his bronze sculpture is available in strictly limited editions of three to ten casts. Jim now works at his Studio Behind the Mountain north of Silver City, New Mexico. He is a member of the San Vicente Artists.