JAMES H. EDDY

Published on August 24th, 2021

James H. Eddy

The person behind this year’s Bumblefest poster was dealing in art long before he went public with his own: James H. Eddy is a partner in Divers Gallery, a San Francisco gallery with an outpost in the Rio Grande Valley capital of McAllen, Texas. Divers represents several artists, and exhibits even more, but it’s only recently that Eddy’s own output hangs next to that of his clients.

To these untrained eyes the Bumblefest poster — as well as Eddy’s banner illustration for the September 17 music festival’s Web site — is reminiscent of the kid-friendly claymation universe found in Nick Parks’ “Wallace and Gromit” adventures, and their wholesome predecessors from the 1960s, “Davey and Goliath.”

Eddy, for his part, emphasizes folk art from the Americas in his artist biography: “Retablos (small oil paintings on tin, often of saints) and exvotos (devotional paintings offering thanks for miracles performed) are major influences.” He also cites “proverbs from oral traditions, ledger drawings, modern advertising, spoken cliche, comic books, salesman’s samples, story boards, street art, broadsides, and pop art” as other means “to render stories about events in his life”.

His Instagram bears out the smorgasbord of influences and the strangeness of his vision. Side by side sit affectionate portraits of dogs and other domestic animals, childlike portrayals of family home life, saints and devils, ambiguous female nudes, a profane depiction of a famous superhero duo, recurring images of a certain orange-haired political figure, and dreams of personal and professional glory rendered as thought bubbles.

BY JAMES H. EDDY

BUMBLEFEST 2021

In a site devoted to his retablos, Eddy is often the protagonist in paintings captioned with backstories: getting vaccinated against COVID-19 (My ticket out of hell) or the day he decided to give up drugs (“the miracle of San Jesus Malverde’s intercession and James’ sobriety”).

His work can be an almost literal expression of the adage about a picture equaling a thousand words. One example is a self-portrait (featured on the Bumblefest landing page) of Eddy on his knees before a piano-playing saint who floats above Eddy’s turntable and LPs. The text begins “James Eddy gives infinite thanks to Santa Cecilia, the patroness saint of music and musicians, for giving us Johnny Cash, Mac Miller, The Clash, Chilly Gonzales, Frank Zappa, Nina Simone, The Velvet Underground … ” and continues on for close to a hundred more acts. It’s a glimpse inside the mind of an outsider artist, and way of explaining things that one wishes Pablo Picasso would have considered for “Guernica.”

View and purchase James H. Eddy work HERE! View other works HERE!

Bumblefest, celebrating 10 years of PureHoney, is Friday, September 17 in the 500 Block of Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, featuring Unwed Sailor, Surfer Blood and more. Admission is 18+. Doors open 5pm. Tickets are $20 at BUMBLEFEST.com ~ David Rolland 

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