Jim Wider is a unique artist who creates from his childhood memories of the south a genre that commands attention both visually and emotionally. Somehow avoiding the enormous pressures of the changing trends and influences that all artist face, he follows his own course – pulling images from both memories and folklore.
His interest in art began as a young boy scratching drawings in the dirt with a stick in Columbia, South Carolina. As he grew, so did his talent and the selection of art as his life’s work. Concluding his formative years with a BFA degree from the University of Southern Colorado, he selected the beautiful city of Colorado Springs near Pikes Peak for his home and studio.
Mr. Wider is also a businessman; however, his business evolves from his art. An admirable trait is his ability to make a living from his art through his own gallery in Colorado Springs while at the same time not compromising his ability to paint his memories in his own distinctive fashion. As a painter and gallery owner he publicizes and markets his own work, and his work is represented in many private collections. Collectors of original paintings and limited edition prints include Keya’s Ambassador to the United States, show host and actress Oprah Winfrey, actress Esther Rolle, actress Marla Gibbs, General Colin Powell, basketball super star Grant Hill, activist Dick Gregory, football Hall-of-Famer “Mean” Joe Green, actor Hal Williams, and many other art lovers. Jim Wider’s realism in the marketplace complements his personal view of art.
He has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Far East. He lived and worked on a southeast reservation, where he painted the beautiful southwest landscapes and activities of the Native Americans. Mr. Wider has exhibited his art in numerous one-one shows and higher learning institutions to include the National Art Club, New York, New York, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (Austin Texas), and Mann-Simons Museum of African-American Culture (Columbia, South Carolina). These museums all have permanent collections on exhibit. Further, he has exhibited his art at the United States Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Howard University (Washington, DC), University of Southern Colorado (Pueblo, Colorado), Philander-Smith College (Little Rock, Arkansas), The Pioneer Museum (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Sangre de Cristo Museum (Pueblo, Colorado), and major juried arts festivals throughout the country.
While Mr. Wider’s art is basically traditional his preparation techniques are inventive. He prefers to work on textured surface, so he often incorporates fabric bits, crushed dried paints, sawdust, and other materials bonded together is a slurry of gesso which he trowels and works onto the face of the painting surface. Before beginning his work he studies this extremely rough surface so as to wed the shapes suggested in the texture to the painted image. His preferred media are oil and watercolor. He finds it exciting to be able to express himself using difference media, and explains, “I have never found any form of art to be dull.”
Most recently Mr. Wider was presented with plaques of recognition from the Congress of the United States of America House of Representatives, State of Texas House of Representatives, and State of Colorado House of Representatives. He has also received letters of appreciation from General Colin Powell and author and poet Maya Angelou.