James Bama

James Bama is simply one of the most highly acclaimed Western artists working today. His distinctive portraits portray the oldest living Crow Indian, a man who would be Buffalo Bill and all manner of men and women of the new West keeping the traditions of the old West alive. There is no mistaking a Bama painting. The exacting texture and detail he captures in his work sets him apart from his peers. Whether the texture is skin, stone, cloth or leather they are what is noticed first and foremost in all his art. Indeed, one look at the lines etched in the faces of the cowboys and Native Americans, for example, speaks volumes about the lives of the artist’s subjects. It’s a technique that held him in good stead when Bama spent several decades as a noted commercial artist with such clients as the New York Giants football team, the U.S. Air Force and both the Baseball and Football Halls of Fame. His portraits of the famous pulp hero character, Doc Savage, appeared on the covers of the best-selling book series and set the look of the character for generations. But this Art Students League-educated resident of the northeast saw his commercial success as a means to accomplish what he most wanted to do. "I wanted to (move to Wyoming and) trace the beginnings of Western history," Bama said. "To see the oldest weapons and saddles and be close to the culture." His second career was even more successful than the first, with his portraits of fascinating, real people of the new West maintaining and preserving their history and heritage, being seen in prominent galleries, collections and exhibitions across the country.

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