James Kerr was born in Buffalo, New York and Kerr’s mother quickly recognized that they had a prodigy on their hands. By age 6 he was apprenticed to the city’s most prominent portrait artist, the late Lazlo Szabo. By 16 when Szabo passed, his class of 24 elected him the instructor to the roster of students.
Kerr’s approach to oil painting is direct and colorist. He has distilled his subject and palette into an exquisitely vibrating field of strokes, with a harmonious balance of tone and hue. Inspiration for much of his work is derived from scenic locations in New England, Florida, and the Caribbean and in North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast. In his portraiture lies Kerr’s ability to capture engaging expressions and draw the viewer into his manifest.
Responding to the vibrant colors of nature, Mr. Kerr has developed a high key palette. Conversely, he is also influenced by the somber tones of the New Orleans night life and jazz musicians.
James Kerr displays his interest in the human form through figurative works, portraits and studies of human activity. Tropical markets, nudes, fishermen, loggers and sawyers are frequent subjects.
Exhibiting for over 25 years, James has had more than 20 one-man shows throughout the United States. Collectors have sought James Kerr’s oils since 1966. His paintings are represented in hundreds of private and corporate collections, including the Wachovia Bank and Trust, RJR Nabisco, the Glaxo Corporation, and NationsBank.
A long time resident of South Florida and North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, James maintains studios in both North Carolina and Florida.