The Manchester-based, nationally recognized mixed media artist, educator, volunteer, and art commissioner gives us his two cents on how New Hampshire inspires and influences him.
James Chase has made his mark – literally – as a mixed media sculpture artist throughout Manchester and the country. As an artist, educator, collaborator, and volunteer, the 36-year-old has done everything from crafting meaningful public works of art and guiding students at the New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) to serving on the board of the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts. When he’s not busy in the art community, he’s scouring old buildings, junkyards, and vintage stores for the items that will inform his own personal creations. That’s right, all of his materials are all foraged and recycled items: Think slats of wood from burned-down buildings, old bricks, hubcaps, old bottles, mufflers – what you might deem as “junk” that he then turns into eye-catching multi-layered, mixed-media assemblages with a genuine history behind them.
How NH Has Shaped Me
More than anything, it has groomed me into the artist I’ve become thanks to the state’s unique natural, cultural, and historical references that very much inspire and play a major role in my work. For example, the landscape’s vivid blues and greens are often seen in my work, as well as the rich industrial scenery, like the gridded structures of the Amoskeag Millyard in Manchester.
What NH Has That Other States Don’t
Not only is New Hampshire home to scores of local organizations and municipalities that invest in the arts, but it’s easy to connect with others that have the same interest. In fact, with so many amazing social and professional networks available, artistic ideas tend to become a reality in this state.
What “Living Free” Means to Me
For me, it’s about being able to connect with what you’re passionate about while being able to give back. Both the opportunity to make a career doing what I love while interacting and serving the communities in NH through the power of art is important to me.
Favorite NH Pastimes
I know how difficult it is to be a working artist, so I take any opportunity I have to help others. That is why I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and why I include New Hampshire Institute of Art students in my public art installations and other civic engagement opportunities.
Favorite NH Place to Pause
My wife and I enjoy hiking our local trails and camping. When we have some time over the weekend, we’ll head to Manchester’s Precourt Park to see the wildlife (lots of ducks!) and wander the trails. It’s a great half-day escape right out of the city.