Did we mention James Gayles?


The Playground of Life

Swings of sadness
swings of gladness
Today i am a rusted swing
tomorrow i am a swing that sings
little kids play in the sand
its like they are playing in a band
big kids reach the bars
they also reach for the stars
teams play on the courts
so they can get better at their sports
adults sit and talk
when they should probably take a walk
we need to remind them that they can still play
when kids play they scream
for the adults its like a dream
there is nothing like the playground of life.

Anthony S.
Age 10


Emmy Award winning artist James Gayles attended Pratt Institute in New York, where he studied under renowned painters Jacob Lawrence and Audrey Flack He simultaneously pursued careers in both fine and commercial art. As a commercial artist he established himself in New York as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, becoming Assistant Director
of Graphics at NewsCenter 4, NBC-TV. At NBC he won a television Emmy Award for design and illustration.

Other awards include the Art Direction magazine award for both the NewsCenter 4 logo design, and editorial illustration for the New York Times, and first place award for illustration at the California Newspaper Publishers’ Awards.

In addition to NBC and the New York Times, James has illustrated for McGraw-Hill, Random House, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, as well as several advertising agencies on both the East and West coasts.

James’ artwork has been represented by galleries throughout the US. Most recently he won a public art commission from the City of Oakland Craft and Cultural Arts Department, in which he transferred his figurative painting technique to ceramic tile murals. In 2003 he was honored at the Art of Living Black by receiving the Jan Hart-Shuyers Award.

He has been selected twice to show at the California Biennial Watercolor exhibit at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. He was chosen to do a public art project for the City of Oakland, received an Individual Artist Grant from the City of Oakland, and was recently commissioned by the Alameda County Art Commission to create a series of paintings.

Art critic and curator Adam Mikos had this to say about James’ most recent exhibition BluesMasters: “Gayles has focused his talents on fusing sight with sound, cajoling color and line to communicate like guitar strings and piano keys. Gayles clearly has a special touch with watercolors. Each portrait and image in the exhibition shows mastery over different styles of the medium. Dreamy realism, hard-edged contours, and abstraction push and pull on perspective. Gayles’ use of color is stunning. These are not the grainy, black and white images many think of as representing the blues. Bright reds, oranges, and blues catch the eye immediately and allow the lyrical quality of the watercolors to lift off the wall.”

James Gayles has lived in Oakland, CA for over 25 years and currently works as an Illustrator for ANG Newspapers.


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