Jim Carson was born July 8, 1942 in Little Rock, Arkansas and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He received a Bachelor of Science from Memphis State University in 1964. In 1970, he earned a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry and molecular physics from New York University, and subsequently accepted a postdoctoral fellowship to Princeton University to continue research in molecular physics. His doctoral thesis and several other research articles were published in the Journal of Chemical Physics over the next two years. From the fall of 1971 to the spring of 1973 he was on the faculty of Princeton University. During these two years he also commuted to New York every evening to study life drawing, life painting and composition at the Art Students League. He had decided to change his career from science to art, his life long passion.
After two years at the Art Student's League, he continued his art education in private study with several well-known illustrators and painters, and in 1974 began a career illustrating covers of western novels for major publishing houses in New York. He met and married Marguerite Wilson in 1976, and they made their home in Baldwin, New York on Long Island. They have two children, Sarah and Miles. In May of 1980, he founded Hankins and Tegenborg, Ltd, in New York City, an agency representing commercial illustrators. This same year he joined the May Gallery of Scottsdale, AZ and began painting and selling western historical paintings.
Over the next 21 years he divided his energies among his agency, his illustration and fine art careers. In 1984 he was nominated for the Spur Award for best western cover. From 1983 to 1998, he participated in numerous group shows at the May Gallery, and in 1999 he joined with two other artists for a three-man show. Starting in 1990 he has been selected every year as a Gold Medal artist of the May Gallery an honor signifying high sales and popularity with collectors. Stuart Johnson invited him in 1997, and every year since, to participate in his prestigious American Miniatures show at Settler's West Gallery in Tucson. He had his first one-man show October 2000, and this show has become an annual event. In 2001 he moved his studio to Saluda, North Carolina in the Carolina Smokey Mountains to devote full time to his historical painting. His paintings are in numerous private collections including that of the late Stephen Ambrose and the prestigious Pearce Western Art collection.
He and his wife recently purchased a second home/studio in Cave Creek Arizona. They plan to spend warm months in North Carolina and the cool months in Arizona.
“In my paintings I strive to combine romantic idealism with historical reality to create lasting interpretations of America’s westward expansion and the heroic people who lived it.” – Jim Carson
Known for his romantic depictions of the West, Jim Carson thoroughly researches his subject matter, which combines romantic idealism and chronicled historical events. He is dedicated to keeping alive visions of the Old West.
Memphis State University, Memphis, TN: BS in Chemistry, Mathematics and German Language
New York University, NY: Ph. D. in Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Physics
Postdoctoral fellowship Princeton, University: Molecular Physics
Princeton University: Taught Undergraduate Chemistry
Began a career illustrating western book covers from major publishing houses in New York.
Founded Hankins and Tegonborg, Ltd, New York City, an agency representing commercial illustrators.
Nominated: Spur Award for Best Western Cover
Pearce Civil War Museum and Western Art Collection; Corsicana, TX
Southwest Art Magazine, March: Start Your Collection
Art-Talk, October: In the Galleries
Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson, The Artists Bluebook: 34,000 North: American Artists to March, pp 479.
Editors, May Galleries, Gold Medal Artists, pp 30.
Samuels, Peggy and Harold, Contemporary Western Artists, pp 608.