Why Dogs?
Our Weimaraners
Canine Sculpture
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Why Dogs?
Our Weimaraners
Canine Sculpture
My Dogs
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New Work
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Gallery 1
Human Allegory
Animal Allegory
Fantasy Birds
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Installations
Pedestal Sculpture
Wall Reliefs
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Human Allegory
Animal Allegory
Fantasy Birds
Gallery 2
Installations
Pedestal Sculpture
Wall Reliefs
Gallery 3
Paintings
Printmaking
Drawings
Gallery 4
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Media
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About
Exhibitions
Awards
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Dear Friends,

I am living in “overtime” after heart surgery in September of 2009 during which I had four bypasses and a valve repair. I don’t think I’ve been more vulnerable that being split open like a lab frog on a cold slab. I doubt that I will ever make art about the experience but who knows?

Such experiences, like marriage, the birth of a child or the death of a family member, are pivotal and life changing experiences. Before you go under the knife, you take a quick inventory of your life and what you believe. When you are standing on the banks of the river you have to have some commitment about what awaits on the other side. Not everyone has this luxury of introspection in what could be ones final moment. I thank God for the skilled surgeons and specialists and the superior American health care system that is in danger of being screwed up. In some ways I see myself lucky having surgery now rather than ten years from now. Who knows how long I would have to wait or if I would even qualify at 74 years old.

If the surgery had gone differently I would not be here to write this, to mow my lawn, plant a garden, make art, write music and enjoy my wife and grandchildren. Such experiences reminds one of what is important. At the same time I would miss my friends--not the superficial Facebook kind--but genuine friends, the ones that would show up at your funeral and celebrate your life.

I know that many people face their mortality in more terrifying ways. My recovery, with peaks and valleys, was mild compared to survivors of roadside bombs and auto accidents. Most of my life I’ve known that my family and my faith were more important than fame as an artist, but sometimes I forgot my principles and I often became consumed by high expectations and a sense of professional urgency both as an artist and as an educator. The art market has its stresses and pressures to compromise your values and make quick mediocre art that will sell. The University is another corporate business rather than a place of the Renaissance. Administrators have a narrow vision if they have any vision at all and a slow paced mediocrity is valued over visionary creativity. These were the “windmills” that I was jousting and, in my change, have decided to pick my battles more wisely. I am a changed man. I am very aware, thankful and appreciative of the “second chance” time I have left and I’m going to use it wisely. I’m going to love, create, rejoice and “tell it like it is” to the best of my ability. I know that I’m getting back to normal as my passion comes back for art and music—both being instrumental in my recovery. I held my “chest” pillow in one arm and played the piano with the other two weeks after my surgery.

As I’ve redesigned my complete website, I want to take the opportunity to thank the many people who had an influence on my life by supporting my art and encouraging me. You know who you are. “You” includes the people who purchased one of my pieces to those who have purchased many. Maybe I don’t make enough art but I remember everyone who invested in one of my sculptures. “You” includes the former students who contact me many years later to tell how much they appreciated my teaching and the mentors and fellow artists who encouraged me over the years. If you purchase through a gallery, I probably never met you but thank you for your support as a patron. This is from someone for whom Vincent van Gogh is his patron saint.
The Art of James Mellick:   Testimonial
The artist with "Stacking Dogs" in 1985.
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