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James Mesple

Born in the Missouri Ozarks, 1948, painter James Mesple studied with Fred Shane at the University of Missouri.  Through Shane, he met Thomas Hart Benton, who introduced him to the “mixed technique” of egg tempera and oil, which he continues to use today.  After moving to Chicago in 1968, he studied with Karl Wirsum at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He lives and works in Chicago, where his works on paper are represented by Printworks.

Mesple developed an interest in classical mythology during summers spent with his half-Osage grandfather, who shared with him many Native American tales of nature and animals.  The common theme of the battle between good and evil, the “battle of the Cosmos,” inspires many of Mesple’s paintings.  His work captures the spirit of Prometheus who, throughout history, has symbolized unyielding strength that resists oppression, and it reflects man’s quest to obtain spiritual enlightenment and creative freedom. 

Mesple attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, and studied painting for two years with Fred Shane.  Through Shane, he met Thomas Hart Benton, who introduced him to the “mixed technique” of egg tempera and oil, which he continues to use today. 

Mesple moved to Chicago in 1968 and, after graduating with honors from Northeastern Illinois University in December 1970, began teaching art at Chicago’s Francis W. Parker School.  While teaching at Parker, he returned to his study of painting under Karl Wirsum at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He also became a part-time instructor in the SAIC Studios Program.  Over the years, Mesple has taught egg tempera workshops at Midway Studios, University of Chicago; North Central College; the BASIC Program (advanced studies for art teachers) at SAIC; and to Ed Paschke’s graduate students at Northwestern University.  Since 1988, he has worked full-time on his paintings, which have been showcased in numerous exhibitions both locally and nationally.  His work also is included in many public and private collections.

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