An eye for beauty is one of the many talents of this issue's featured artist, Jim Rousonelos
We are excited to be able to show you a slice of some of his
James Rousonelos, an artist with ideas.
is an idea man. He's
aware it's probably not the first thing most people think about a professional artist, but that's the beauty and complexity of it...
ideas and messages are 90 percent of his
"My art often shows man's struggle between the spiritual and the material.
My art contains personality traits.
I integrate symbols around people that communicates their aura-what that person's spirituality is."
artwork is a form of symbolic realism that contains an element of mystery and spirituality, striving to capture the soul, personality and the deep essential essence of each human being portrayed.
ideas obviously strike a chord with his
He has been a professional artist since 1971, specializing mostly in oil paintings, drawings and prints that "depict the human condition in our society.
Rousonelos' work is in private collections and he also has done work for corporations, including McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook; Wolfe-Lipson Metals, Inc. in Evanston, IL; Colby of Northbrook, IL; Marshall Fields of Skokie, IL, at the old orchard mall, and many others.
art also helped him strike a chord with Judith, a special woman taking his
class at Sycamore's Art Attack in 2002.
They were married in September, 2004, and live in DeKalb
has a basement art studio.
also has a studio in Sycamore and teaches art appreciation for Colorado Technical University online.
Rousonelos earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University in 1975, and his Master of Fine Arts degree from NIU in 2005.
graduate exhibit at the DeKalb Gallery
titled "Symbolic Portraits" was centered on people he
knows and also incorporated himself in many of the portrait pieces.
said by the time he
was four years old, he
wanted to be an artist.
When his parents asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he found his Dad to be very supportive of the idea.
drew and painted at a young age, he
didn't take art classes in high school, in his
hometown of Joliet, because his
mother wanted him to pursue more financially stable career paths.
In the early 1970s, he enrolled in the pre-dentistry program at Western Illinois University.
While there, he
began painting and drawing again for the first time since eighth grade.
Before long, Rousonelos
transferred to SIU
to attend the same college as his
brother, but still enrolled in pre-dentistry.
was struggling in his
classes and was not happy, however.
was changing his
major to follow his
true passion, art.
It was from Betaudier that Rousonelos
focused his direction and theory on the idea and the message behind his art.
When Betaudier started a workshop in a southwest suburb just outside Paris, France, Rousonelos
was one of 18 students invited.
Out of all his
said the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods were the most influential for him and his
favorite artists are Titian and Caravaggio.
After graduating from SIU in 1975, Rousonelos moved to New Jersey where he and some of the other French Studies participants started their own artists' workshop.
then lived in New York City on Second Street for about one-and-a-half years.
worked for a company where he
air-brushed women's clothing.
also painted a lot in his
apartment and showed his
work at a SOHO gallery, which he
said was really good exposure for him.
During that 10-year span, Rousonelos
sold about 3,000 pieces of his
work, including oils, acrylics, charcoal, graphite and pastel drawings, limited edition prints and photography.
moved back to Joliet in 1998, he
took 8 months off and then decided to enter NIU's
Masters of Fine Arts program.
Through Betaudier, Rousonelos
learned a rarely used glazing technique called the Technique Mixte.
Fueled by mugs of coffee and a deep passion for his
usually paints late into the night or early morning hours.
is preparing now for a group show at the Brio Art Gallery
, 116 S. Main St., Galena, IL. Titled "People and Places," it will represent paintings of people and places that have impacted his
life within the last few years (Greece, the Midwest and Galena).