James Koskinas

Artist Statement


Faces are one of my primary subjects, part of my quest to know the human condition. I attempt to paint as automatically as possible, intending to bring forth elements of my unconscious. I add layers of paint until the original painting has been covered over many times, working rapidly. Influenced by Native American mythology, I see the role of artist as akin to shaman, trusting my instincts and freeing the portrait from the customary restraints that painting imposes.

I like building faces and watching them go wild. I like to bring them back and reassemble them in some order. I like to collect the scattered pieces and fragments of a nose her, an eye and a mouth there, the reassembly is not always realistic. On the contrary, the usual order I start out with changes continually, finally revealing a personality of essence I am looking for. Then I know the painting is done.


A chance meeting with a lost stallion on an Arizona highway set in motion my lifetime obsession with painting horses. Later I added a rider to these horses. The riders have become self-portraits and a search for unity between horse and man.

I am fascinated with the shape of the horse, especially the head. I change the shape of the head, sometimes lengthening it, sometimes shortening it. I like to paint horses life size or almost life size. I can always to back to the horse, he is always there for me.