Artist Profile: Jim Christiansen – Illustrator
last updated: June 22, 2008 07:18:18 AM

Residence: Modesto
Type of artist: Known for
watercolors, pen and ink, cartoons, acrylics and posters
Daily job: Community volunteer, landlord, artist

Family: My mother, Virlee Christiansen, lives in Modesto, and I rent from her, while renting out my house, and she puts up with the gallery around our house. I have two brothers — Larry, a professional grandmaster chess player and reason I am a published chess cartoonist, and Scott, who works for the city of Modesto. My sister, Nancy, is director of Stanford University’s Hansen Experimental Physics Lab. My late father, Harold Christiansen, was a real-estate developer who supported our chess book, calendar and other art, chess, music and publishing ventures.

Background: Born in Riverside, was an advanced student at the Riverside Art Association. Went on to studio art as minor studies at University of California, Riverside, where I won an award in student erotic art shows. I was most noted for cartoons and comic strips, including ones that got the UCR Highlander confiscated. I was a contributor and editor for two years of the Highlander Comix Book. I started Mercenary Graphics tradestyle at age 14, producing silk-screen “black light” posters for sale, and concert promotion, and collaborated with high school underground Foolscorner Press, and went on to regional underground comics for a short period. While at UCR, I studied under painters James Strombotne and William Bradshaw, international printmaker regents lecturer Connor Everts, and in the well-rated art history department. However, my major was economics. I moved to Modesto in 1977.

Art experience: Published in Chess Life, Chess N Stuff and Professional Chess News, among other chess-related publications, books and posters, as much related to chess themes of my cartoons as to my brother’s international chess career of 38 years. A printmaking series version of the Pawn Shop cartoon hangs in the trophy area of the Boyleston Chess Club in Cambridge, Mass. Received a 1993 first-place award and 2008 second- and third-place awards in watercolor category at the Central California Art Association Spring Show. Operated my own gallery space at home and have done posters or hung art with sales to restaurants such as Minnie’s in Modesto and Fiddler’s Green in San Francisco. I have art hanging in the Bay Area, Germany, Denmark, Florida and other locations. I have done art related to concert events, festivals and advertising in addition to nonprofit programs and fund-raising events. I help host and show other artists in the downtown Modesto Third Thursday Art Walk.


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