James Denmark is a formally trained artist, and one of the few masters of collage. Denmark utilizes an exacting process to cut and assemble brightly handcolored papers, fabric and objects into familiar figures and images. Denmark is also proficient in charcoal and watercolor. Born in Winter Haven, Florida in 1936, Denmark’s grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, exposed him to color and form at an early age. He was also influenced by his grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds.
Denmark attended Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, FL where studied under the artist and acclaimed African-American art historian, Dr. Samella Lewis and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. After graduating from FAMU, Denmark moved to Brooklyn, NY and began teaching art in the public school system. Denmark earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the prestigious Pratt Institute of Fine Arts in New York. While at Pratt, Denmark was heavily influenced by the abstract expressionists, admiring such mainstream artists as Jackson Pollock, Clifford Still, William deKooning.The African-American masters Norman Lewis, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Ernest Crichlow instilled in him an appreciation of African/American artistic heritage and it was during this time that Denmark’s work underwent a stylistic transition as he began experimenting with collage.
Denmark has had over 60 one-man exhibitions and has participated in numerous group shows. Works of art by James Denmark are a part of well recognized private and corporate collections in this country, as well as in permanent museum collections in Mexico, South Africa, Europe, Japan and Africa, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Denmark has received numerous awards and recognitions including the 39th Annual Printing Industry Award given by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and The Living Legends Award presented by the National Urban League among many others.