James Jean

For some people, a finished piece is all that matters. It doesn't matter what you went through to get there, the result is the thing. Me? I love seeing the work put in behind the scenes to complete a project. Seeing someone's thought process and the hard yards they put in (or didn't as the case may be) drives home how much value a final piece really has, whether it be an amazing sculpture, or a fashion shoot, or a piece of writing, or even just the retouching of a car for an advertisement. And if there is very little background work, if the piece was just created from an obscene bout of inspiration, well that's even more amazing.

James Jean doesn't seem like the sort of fellow who has those bolts of genius lightning strike. He works hard to create his amazing pieces. And luckily for you and I, he scans and presents his sketchbooks on his site and they are incredible. The amount of skill, patience and craft he puts into his works is self-evident, but these really drive it home. And they prove that the best way to get good is by working really, really hard. And that's a satisfying thought. Some excerpts below:

I love that his sketchbooks (and his finished pieces) are arranged chronologically, so you can see his progression over the years.

Of course, his final pieces are wonderful as well (sorry for all the "gushing" adjectives in this post, but it really is great stuff).

Kindling installation, 2008

Go to his site if you haven't already and have a browse, you won't be sorry.
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