Charcoal Art


Jim Meskimen, artist

Jim Meskimen studied classical painting and drawing with accomplished Spanish realist, Miguel Arguello in Spain and in Northern California. The works on this page were done for a show at the Johnson Art Collection Gallery on Melrose Blvd. in Los Angeles. The originals are charcoal on paper, approximately 40" by 52". Originals are framed and available for sale except where noted.

High quality gyclee prints are available of any of these images. Send an email if you are interested in owning any of these prints, or the original drawings.

Click on the red text below to start at the first drawing or select a title to view a specific drawing.

 

Title: Big Baby

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Available for sale
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

This was the first of the series. I had a little photo of a friend's child that I found very attractive; what was he chewing on with such ardor? I still don't know. The original is quite large, so it has the interesting quality of being a very oversized baby presence. It was with this piece that I set my own "Rules" for the series, how long to work on a piece, when to end off, and what materials to use and which to avoid. My specifications were to use only black charcoal, no white, to find the light only by leaving the raw paper in the lightest areas. I also decided to work only until there seemed to be a human presence there when I entered the studio after a day's work; never too far beyond that. That way I could actually accomplish finishing a number of large pieces before the deadline of the show.

 

Title: Captive

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Collection of Persia White
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 40"
Gyclee prints 19" x 13"

This image was from a small photo I ran across in a news magazine, and depicts a person in Iraq after a house raid. I was haunted by it, and I still feel enormous sympathy for anyone who is put in that unlucky position, shoes scattered on the lawn, a rolled-up rug tossed out, and completely at the mercy of his captors in the night. War is something that I feel we must outgrow; this is a small comment on the injustice of using force recklessly.

 

Title: Cell Phone

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Available for sale
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 56"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

I took a photo of these young men while shopping with my daughter, Taylor at an Urban Outfitter in Santa Monica. I was very interested in the way they were all grouped together on that chair. The fact that they all held cell phones was also interesting to me, and as I worked on the piece, I noticed a lot of wild patterns and textures that also contribute to a unique mood. I had to take the photo in a very furtive way so that they would not notice me observing them.

 

Title: Chick

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Available for sale
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

This is a portrait of my favorite artist, jazz legend Chick Corea. I took the photo while I was working with him on a CD cover for his incredible album, "To The Stars". My design ended up not being used for the final, but I kept the photo and decided to honor my friend by doing a larger than life portrait of him. His warmth and generous spirit are things I have been lucky enough to experience at close range, and I hope through this portrait others can have a taste of his enormous personal character.

 

Title: Puzzle

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Collection of Marion Ross
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

This drawing was done from a photo of my wife and daughter that I took in San Diego at my mom's house. The girls had such a classical sort of pose that I felt I had to capture and communicate it somehow. They are the beauty of my life.

 

Title: Ray

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Available for sale
Charcoal on paper,
framed 30" x 40"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

This drawing was done in Madrid many years ago when I was a young man. I kept it rolled up for about two decades, then brought it out again for the show at the Johnson Art Collection. This was a portrait done from life, of an american guy I lived with in Madrid for a short time. Unfortunately, he became quite psychotic and we parted ways rather poorly. I was grateful to him for some very kind things he did for me before he became so troubled, but it took me rather a long time to be able to appreciate this portrait of him. I like it very much now.

 

Title: She Loves to Read

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Collection of Marion Ross
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

This is another drawing of my beautiful daughter, Taylor. She used to read like this in our bed before going to sleep. It was always a very aesthetic sight to see her absorbed in a book, lit by the bedside light, her strawberry blonde hair cascading over her shoulders. Now she goes to her own room to read... I was lucky to see her when I could.

 

Title: Strongman

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Available for sale
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

The story is this: I encountered a photo of this man in the obituary pages of the Times; he was a well-known street personality in Montreal, and had died at age 70 weighing over 500 lbs. His name was Antoine Bareckovitch, but he was known as "The Great Antonio". I have asked people from Montreal, and they knew who he was. He would do feats of strength on the streets of that city, often pulling a bus using his long rope of hair (he never cut his hair, apparently) and lifting heavy things for effect.
I was attracted to his playful expression, his antique style of dress, and that strange rope of hair, capped with duct tape, that drapes his huge body. He was a real giant, over 7 feet tall; he must have really been a character.

 

Title: The Painter's Daughter

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Collection of the artist
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

This is a portrait of my dear friend and teacher, Miguel Arguello and his daughter Alba. We lost Miguel to cancer in the summer of 2005, and it was a huge blow to all who were lucky enough to know him. He taught me to paint and draw, and will always represent to me a model of how to use affinity, reality and communication to help others. This drawing was done from a photo I took of the two of them in Florida. Alba was painting something. I treasure this image of Miguel. There has been no greater painter in this or any other century, and no dearer friend and teacher. Come back soon, Miguelito.

 

Title: Three Sisters

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Collection of Mr. Isaac Hayes
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

These girls were outside of a store where my daughter and I were walking by and she pointed them out to me. I had my camera and was lucky to catch the spirit of their mood; playful and full of sisterly mischief. They were all dressed in identical outfits, and since it was a Sunday afternoon, it seems likely that they had just come from church. The girl on the right was in constant motion, playing around and making her companions react. I presented it to my friend, Mr. Isaac Hayes as a wedding gift in 2005, and he has it hanging in his home in Memphis.

 

Title: White Dress

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Available for sale
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

This is a drawing taken from a spooky little photo I shot of my daughter Taylor when she was about five. The mask is a Venetian carnival mask I purchased from my friend, actor John D'Aquino. It is a bizarre little scene which I have drawn more than once.

 

Title: Wind in Iraq

Artist: Jim Meskimen

Medium: charcoal drawing

Available for sale
Charcoal on paper,
framed 40" x 50"
Gyclee prints 13" x 19"

Another disturbing image from the war, this mother and child struck a deep chord in me. I saw it in the paper the day of the american invasion of Iraq. Mankind has had wars and wars, and never learns from them. In the meantime, women and children suffer. This woman could be my mother, this boy my son. I am uncomfortable with violence as a solution to anything, especially on a national scale, where little care is taken for details such as these two fragile figures.