[Excerpts from an interview with Jim Whiteaker]
[...] What I’m hoping for is art not only to be mainly figurative, but that there will be imagery that deals with human values….and we’ll get off this nihilistic bandwagon. How can the artist avoid eventually getting around it? It’s the most familiar image we have. By its very nature, he’s involved with the figure. He shaves or combs his hair every morning, he goes to bed with it, he puts his shoes on. What I think and hope painting will come down to is the human scale - the intimacy. Man bringing things down to a very personalized, meaningful world which reflects his concerns and his values. I personally want to see painting, drawing and sculpture and other art forms which really reflect something of humanity. You are touched by another human being. I am fascinated by a lot of the current aesthetical gymnastics of geometric dynamics - poles intersecting poles, and lumps emerging out of lumps…It can be very beautiful, but it doesn’t, in the end, mean that much to me.
I found myself doing a lot of experimentation, asking myself some very, very serious questions. It would be much easier to fit into the hard-edged or abstractionist type of thing, but I asked myself what are my interests? Who are the writers I like, who are the painters, what type of music do I like? And what I really wanted was to get involved with the human condition. And I love skill. I love things which are maybe a little more quiet. To create something which is beautiful to me is not a bad thing. I still want to capture some magic moment of exquisite beauty, something compelling, something which strikes one to a core…I’ve never thought there was anything wrong in something that was beautiful to look at.
What I’ve been trying to do is to create a situation through imagery, which will actually seduce the viewer to participate in this little world I’ve created. I think if you make a painting of quality, you should be able to entice the intellectual and very cultivated viewer as well as the layman. So there is something for everyone.
Whoever thought of the idea that Realism is dead was absolutely insane. It happens to be the way man sees. That is something that is never going to fade [...].