James Maxwell multimedia artist Concerns - Artist's Statement Commercial Designs Email

Recent Work 20202019 - 2018201720162015201420132012


Bread Server
Concrete Bread Server - size in inches 20.5 L X 7 W X 3.24 D
Christmas Gift for a good friend and baker - impressions of flowering kale

Saki cups
Saki Cups decorated with Rust, Gold, and glass beads. The size of 1/2 medium orange.

Gold and Rust  Sushi Plates
Sushi Plate
Plates all approximately 6.25 X 8.25 X 1.25 inches deep - two coats of surface lacquer
Sushi Plates - Hydrangea leaf impressions with faux gold and rust lacquer finish


Rhubarb Pllatter
Rhubarb Platter – food-safe concrete serving platter 12 X 18"

These past few months, August, September, and WOW! now December, I’ve been “playing in the mud.” Returning to work in concrete/cement, sand and steel – doing what comes naturally for me. No gallery is breathing down my neck for merchandise, no school has enticed me back to teach, nobody has caught my attention to recreate what I did in my past. No market is driving me. I don’t seem to need the money at this very moment, or the grief in trying to please.

I entertain the illusion that I am free, and that really is scary. Trusting my instincts, I plow ahead to mimic the forces of nature. I’ve never felt so comfortable in what I see as my current direction. I am not imposing myself on anybody – this is going with the flow – I like my tastebuds.

Sushi Plate
Food safe dishs inspired by Japanese lacquerware
Sushi PlateJapanese anemone recorded in wet cement - organic stains

One project, that is ongoing, is to make gifts. Food safe serving ware and concrete dishes inspired by my memory, like glimpses of looking over my garden or out the window seat being driven from New Zealand’s Mt. Cook heading down the mountain to my hotel in Twisel. Tired from a full day’s hike, forced to take in the vision of the churning, milky river speeding ahead of us alongside our bus. Nature carving channels with melted snowfall cascades through layers of stone, a river slicing canyon walls, earth exposing layers of time not measured – relentless – it left a vital impression of the falling-away forever-earth.

sushi plate
Plates all approximately 6.25 X 8.25 X 1.25 inches deep - two coats of surface lacquer

I now slow down, mimic it in concrete – this process is anything but modern, and it invigorates me like fresh love, much like a puddle reflecting a clear sky next to that torrent. And I find a quiet in ancient leaves embossed in shale reminding me of spiderwebs, just like today, shown in the corner of my kitchen window, and not unlike the dark leaves off the healthy kiwi fruit vine on the garden fence.

These small constructions, 12 sushi plates, I call them “little fens”– small dishes (little ponds for food) with impressions of nasturtium, Japanese anemone, hydrangea, and kiwi fruit leaves. The small pools are stained with random organic earth tones, protected in the manner of Japanese lacquerware. Dishes to ponder one’s nourishment while looking at what reminds one of the cosmos, or timelessness at the bottom of a bowl. I consider I may be walking the walk, acting on my connection to life in ways I’ve never imagined. I don’t have any real answer, and I like that finally. Perhaps like art, these ponds, along with food, are symbolic of many possibilities to reinvigorate the body, mind, and spirit. Confusion does little good – I’ll try the discipline of neutrality, and I’ll wait in my mud. Here are six samples of the production.

sample sushi plates

Sushi plate
Sushi from Safeway

My other project, are concrete containers. One has dark blackening greens and midnight blue stains on an anemone leaf encrusted 10 inch cube. The lid can cradle the box or sit closed on top like the cap of an fantastic mushroom. The inside is lined with black velvet. I am not conscious of a reason why I do this – I intend to keep the box momentarily empty. I see it as an “Honor Box.”  


Black box

Black box
Black Box Open

The other, currently in process, is a little chest, with a lid that will double as a serving tray. Emblazoned with foil of shining fool’s gold on hydrangea embossings that let the surface stains of rust red break through the gold – a dark cranberry red velvet will coat the interior. This one will be for treasures. I’m pondering naming it, “Lusts.” And with that four dessert plates that accompany it. I’m thinking juicy green grapes will tastfully go with all that gold and rust.

I'll post it when I have it in my sights.


JULY - Acrylic and faux gold leaf on canvas, diptych 6 X 3' on wrapped stretcher bars.
photographed in the ambiant light of my living room.

"Siberian Iris in Tangled Season"

Siberian Iris Siberian Iris

close up details follow

Siberian Iris detail


Siberian Iris



Peculiar, inspiration always arrives unannounced - remembering now, opportunities abound.

I was so put-out and angry that a client was late. I was actively waiting for him as it was to be a crucial part of our work together that I was prepared to accomplish that day. He was 10 minutes late.

"So wait," I said to myself, "look how healthy the garden is after watering."

Five minutes past and I referred to this client with, "Darn his socks, I'm going to let him have it how I feel when I have to wait past an appointed time." I noticed our patch of Siberian Iris in full bloom - so simple, stunning.

Ten minutes after that, I referred to that client with an expletive. I walked over to closely look at the purple/blue Iris and thought of photographing them.

I stewed in my angry brew, I walked indoors and checked my answering machine. Nothing.

Walking back to my position by the gate, the expletive became an XX thoughtless - . . . The Iris patch moved in response to a breeze, became a focus of calm in my storm of vindictive yuck. I got my iPad and photographed all of them.

He still didn't arrive and I thought of spilling everything into the phone call I would make. I went inside for a glass of water and checked for his number on my calendar.

The appointment was for the following day.

I had two three by three foot panels ready, primed, and stretched. I began immediately to work. Self forgiveness, so grateful I didn't say anything that I would regret, humility - the Iris reminded me, time is required to create anything, and to persevere, stick at it.

So, three months - I'm back to happy.

– And somebody said that I take myself too seriously.


Every year the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens has an artist inspired Bird House fundraiser.
This year has one difference, a new limitation - nothing growing on it. (Like the one I did for them last year, too much maintenance for point of sales.) So here is this year's "Newly Birds House" is as white as a wedding cake.

Futher down this page you'll see images of Bird Houses in process.

Newly Birds House
  Newly Birds Concrete house

The bird house is made of Apple plywood and weather sealed, that's how I get it. I cover the exterior with hard-ware cloth, a rubbercoated steel mesh, 1/2 inch squares - to this I coat a Rustoleum paint coating all raw metal. I prepair my stucco to seal the first layer embedding the hardware cloth. I used two cements, gray and white, my bonding agent I invented so I could use it like paint. I literally frosted (like cake frosting) leaves and used them as veneers. The halo of steel/cement is a folly, it fools the eye to give the house a glow at a distance.

Concrete Paint on Bird House Halo
Bird House in garden

Mendocino Arts Council  

The Arts Council of Mendocino County promotes the arts and cultivates creativity to benefit and enrich the lives of residents and visitors.

For 2014 I was in their spotlight for the month of February. They are showing the paintings of the Pudding Creek Watershed I completed 2013. CLICK THEIR LOGO

The 2014 Mendocino Film Festival also showed this work as a slide show before the running of their films.

Here is the first stage of work on the bird houses. Veneers of gray and white cement over house's surface embossed with Japanese Anemone leaves. The idea I have is to get the houses finished to my satisfaction and then put the houses into open cages that will glow at a distance. I never question inspiration, this is what I gotta do.

Birdhouse Concrete Veneer
Both the top Birdhouse and the bottom
are constructed with a particular bird in mind.
The interior space influenced which
species of bird will use this to nest.

  BirdHouse2 Veneer of concrete leaves
concrete printed leaves on Birdhouse

Birdhouse with concrete leaves

I'll post some more as I get along on this project.

While the leaves are busy being cooked by the sunshine, sometimes the only solution to removeing them cleanly, I've been on the computer learning iAuthor - an Apple program for publishing ebooks.

Here's a test run on something I've been meaning to do in regard to personal writing. You may download it, maybe get a picture on how my mind works. It won't hurt you, it shows how I learn. It is a pdf that is not too large.



I return to being busy.

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last update December 8, 2014

Recent Work 20202019 - 2018201720162015201420132012



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concerns - Mission Statement































This site promotes James Maxwell - multimedia artist and author.

Its contents supports the work of James Maxwell multimedia artist and writer. As a graphic designer his work consists of being a teacher of watercolors, oils, acrylic, and other graphic media. He is commissioned for paintings in private collections, and public venues. His print works ranges from etchings to glicee. Author of "The Concrete Gourmet's Cookbook - Solid Recipes" - the book consists of 12 chapter of how to make objects using the referred concrete recipes, cement recipes, using concrete as fine art material, cement as media. The how-to use these concrete projects range from making garden planters to food safe serving vessels, worm bunkers to sculptural mixes, and day to day usable objects to follies.

Names and words associated with James Maxwell are: artist James Maxwell, author James Maxwell, illustrator, Graphic designer, painter, watercolorist, sculptor, multimedia artist, writer, The Concrete Gourmet's Cookbook, cement recipes, concrete recipes, how-to mix concrete, concrete art projects.

© James Maxwell 2010 | P.O. Box 2627 | Fort Bragg, CA 95437 | jasmax@mcn.org