James Xavier Barbour is an American fine art painter and sculptor whose primary vehicle for expressing contemporary narrative or metaphor is the human figure. He is the founder, and director of Decorus Atelier of Figurative Art located in New York City and a principle instructor. He has taught for over 14 years as an instructor at Academy of Art University, and at other academic institutions, and conducts regular art workshops and seminars.
His talent for art developed at an early age, as well as his passion for human anatomy. His early years were self taught and more instinctual. He studied fine arts in the classical realist atelier tradition and art conservation while living abroad in Italy, and completed his undergraduate study at The Hartford Art School. He also studied at The Art Students League and has a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the New York Academy of Art. He has been fortunate to have studied with many of the world's most respected artists like Steven Assael, Vincent Desiderio, Deane Keller, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, Stephen Brown, Fred Wessel and many others.
He is endlessly curious, and has spent hundreds of hours studying the works of the old masters to better analyze their techniques, and observing human anatomy from dissected human cadavers in order to specialize in both artistic and forensic human anatomy. James is passionate about expressing the eternal or universal truths that bind us as human beings as well our differences. His work often contain a psychological narrative which dances on the edges of both reality and the surreal. He fearlessly captures those moments of life which appear an illusion or dream, but remain anchored in possibilty or reality. Themes explored can range from the chaotic "dark circus" of life around us and exploring human nature, to the affects of technology and industrial/ mechanical growth as we attempt to adjust and evolve. It is his firm belief that observation is a necessary component of a successful work of art and prefers to work strictly from life, model, and/or imagination.
He has won numerous artistic awards, grants, and has been featured in various publications, magazine articles, and films. His work can be found in many private and public collections around the world and on exhibition in various art museums and galleries across the United States and abroad. Recent exhibitions have included the Museo Arte Contemporanea Sicilia, Tampa Museum of Art, Peninsula Museum of Art, Six Summit Gallery, RH Gallery, as well as other exhibitions located in Italy, Australia, London, and in Japan.
He works from his studio based in New York City.
James is a wonderful teacher. I learned so many techniques for improving and making really great pencil drawings. Highly recommend this class!
What a special experience! From the moment I walked in, I felt so welcome, and the level of personal attention and the overall vibe was truly other-worldly. I kept wondering what the catch was, but I left feeling as if I was welcome to come back, but not pressured to. I think that will actually make it so much more likely I'll head back very soon!
Great class! Very patient and friendly teacher. Learned a ton
Learning at Decorus has been an absolute pleasure. As I've spent more time there, I've seen how well and thoughtfully James adapts his teaching style to each new student. I've been amazed how much I've improved in the last month and could not recommend more highly.
Nyoka G. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.
James is an excellent artist and teacher and all around great guy. He is inspiring to work with and seems to truly enjoy getting the best out of his students. This is a great starter starter course but also worth taking if you have some experience sculpting. James is very hands on, not afraid to criticize but also very motivational.
Diane B. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.
Very explicit and simple.
It was a great experience, James was a great artist and teacher and super nice. The please from the inside was above my expectations, I thought it would be just a normal school but actually it was where James lives and it was full of great art pieces that was done by James, his wife and there students, there were a couple of rooms each one of them is for a different type of art. It was a good experience and I totally recommend it.
Hi! This was a lovely class. James and Laura were very gentle and with a lot of patience to explain different techniques. It has been a great experience. Also they give me many tips to improve my skills. I really recommend them! They are so profesional!
In summary: The instructor has a near encyclopedic knowledge and superb technical skill with the philosophy of a true artist to back it up. In detail/My experience: The location at a glance, especially when you first arrive, seems peculiar but it absolutely does not reflect the inside. Once you enter and get a tour of the place, you definitely see how skilled and masterful the artists residing in this location. The teacher there really will try to understand you then guide your craft from the simple foundation. As such you really have to let go of your grounded understanding of art. You have to start from the beginning, master that, then you can continue on to more of the fun stuff from there. So if you're looking for a teacher that will give you the proverbial tools from becoming a flawed artist to a master of craft then this is the right place. Sign up, be patient, be willing, and be ready to learn.
Brilliant - James is extremely meticulous and knowledgeable, as well as being a great teacher and communicator. Highly recommended if you would like to do something creative, instructive and different.
Small class size, individualized care and attention. They meet the student at whatever level they are at and invested in helping them grow. Very genuine and kind teachers who helped me progress a lot in a short amount of time, thank you!
Great instruction, extremely helpful and informative.
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