Bennecelli's Art Bio
Bennecelli's Art Bio

James (Jim) Bennett

My Story

To understand my history as as an artist, we have to look back to the time when I was a student in art school. It was an artistically supercharged time. Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism were strong influences. Pop Art, Minimalism, Photo Realism, Conceptual, and Performance Art were going strong.

I won some acclaim at that time for my geometric paintings on shaped canvases.

However, by the time I graduated, my own artwork had hit a dead end. I was disillusioned and felt that art as a cohesive, enlightening message was losing its way.

For the next forty years, I focused on applying my creativity exclusively to teaching. Along the way, I acquired some new art skills such as calligraphy and achieved a degree of recognition for creating art projects to teach math. I created the website,, and wrote some books on calligraphy, including Calligraphy For Dummies.

Around 2016, having recently retired from teaching, I began to paint again, returning to the kinds of geometric optical illusions I had done as a student. I was shocked to discover that the art world hadn’t really progressed beyond the point where I had left it. I believe my disillusionment forty years earlier was a foretelling of the demise of the art world as I had known it.

In 2018 and 2019 I immersed myself in ancient religious texts and the writings of Carl Jung. I produced close to two hundred works based on dreams, the Hebrew Bible, and the Christian New Testament.

In 2020, during the pandemic, I had a profound inspirational experience which evolved into a new, exciting, metaphysical vision for my art. My painting today is my expression of that enlightening experience.

Major Awards & Grants

“Virginia Artists 1969” – Certificate of Distinction
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Undergraduate Fellowship Grant, 1969-70
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship Grant, 1970-71
University Of North Carolina at Greensboro Graduate Assistantships, 1970-1972
Southwest Ohio Art Education Educator of the Year, 2003

Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, 1963-66. Studied with Ray Prohaska, noted illustrator.
Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, 1967. Studied with Washington Color School painters: Thomas Downing, Gene Davis, and James Twitty.
BFA, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1970
MFA, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1972

Exhibitions 1967 - 1974
Occasional Group Shows in Washington, DC, Virginia and North Carolina, 1967 – 1974
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
                Virginia Artists Biennial, 1969
                “American Painting 1970” – Selected by Peter Selz
                Solo Show, 1970
                Virginia Artists Biennial, 1971
Undergraduate Fellowship, 1969-70
Graduate Fellowship, 1970-71

Exhibitions 2016 - 2024
                Artists' Collective of Hyfe Park, 2024
                Hyde Park Free Library, 2023
                Art in the Loft at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, 2022, WINNER!             
                Green Meadow Waldorf School, Chestnut Ridge, NY, 2022
                Cunneen-Hackett Art Center, 2022
                Office of NY State Assembly Member Didi Barrett, 2021              
                Barrett Arts Center, 2017, 2018, 2019
                Arts Mid-Hudson, 2017, 2018. 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
                Art Centro, 2017, 2018, 2019
                Gallery 330, 2018

               Crafted Kup Coffee House, 2018

                Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, 2017
                Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, 2016

1975 – 2015  Bennett taught at several private schools in Virginia, Ohio, and New York. During this time he was able to explore different art media and techniques including calligraphy, illustration, murals, and portraiture. He received recognition for his work in applying art to teaching math (see MathSquad.Com) but had decided not to exhibit during that time.

Bennett authored Calligraphy For Dummies, 2007, as well as other books on art and four novels including The Poughkeepsie Mystery, 2016. To see all of Jim Bennett's many publications, please visit

View the Story of My 60 Year Art Journey

To send a message, to schedule a visit to my studio, or to arrange a purchase, please use the contact option.

Copyright © James Bennett, 2024