James Tisdale received his BFA from the University of Mississippi and his MFA from the University of Georgia. He received two UGA Fellowships to study in Italy while completing his graduate degree. He was awarded a NEA (National Endowment Award) Grant and an NCECA Emerging Artist Award. He has received residencies both in the US and abroad including The Archie Bray Foundation, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, The Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, The Pottery Studio in China, as well as a residency through NCECA in Hungary at the International Clay Studio. James was also chosen to be an NCECA demonstrator at the annual conference in Pittsburgh.
James’ personal iconography is rich with references to the cultural, social, political, and religious experiences of growing up in Mississippi. His outlook is humorous or poignant, sometimes confrontational, as he observes the world around him. The work draws upon both the beauty and ugliness of his surroundings. The work simply stated is a visual journal of thoughts and reflections that are difficult for him to put into worlds. While James is influenced by all that he sees and hears, his art influences range from Renaissance art work to the personally powerful folk art of the south.
His latest work is an exploration into the concept of what society ordains as beautiful or acceptable, as well as what it condemns being ugly and undesirable. Having grown up in the south, he often discovered that many situations, events and people were a mixture of both definitions.
For him, the intrigue lies not only within the borders of these interpretations but also in how these labels influenced a lifelong attitude.