Capturing the essence of Canada’s scenic beauty is an art-form. One of the masters of capturing this essence is the Canadian illustrator James Hill, whose paintings and illustrations are featured on the Sullivan Boutique website. As with all art, it can only add to the painting when you know a little something about the one who made the brushstrokes. Here’s some more information about the famous illustrator James Hill (1930-2004).
Renowned 20th century painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell once said to James that the Canadian artist had succeeded in representing his generation through his art just as well as Norman had. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, James’ first step towards becoming an illustrator was enrolling in an art course at the technical school in Hamilton where his father taught decorative plastering. He began working on his illustrations professionally at the age of 16, when he worked for an advertising company in his home town. After that, James became internationally recognized for his illustrations in books, posters and magazines and is said to have had an enormous impact on the field of advertising. He once stated, “Magazines were my art galleries,” and during the 20s, 30s, and 40s – referred to as “the golden age of magazines” – illustrators like James were in high demand. With the advent of television in the 50s, however, periodicals lost much of their former draw. James then entered a new stage of his career – travelling across Canada and putting the colourful scenes he witnessed to canvas.
Some of James’ many accomplishments include being the first Canadian artist-illustrator to be elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, being named “artist of the year” in 1966 by the American Guild of Artists and receiving the Queen’s Silver Jubilee medal.
James is known for being extremely meticulous and his illustrations often took him more than a month to complete. In the 1960s, he was one of the first illustrators to portray not just one image or one idea, but the whole story within his artwork. He believed illustration was a “fine art” and should be recognized as just that.
To see some of the artist’s work, please visit Shop At Sullivan’s Art Gallery.