Jim Campbell never planned to be an artist. At least not in a conventional or traditional sense.
And, as a matter of fact, Jim’s path to becoming an artist is not one travelled by many. But that’s quite all right with him. As Proverbs 20:5 says, “A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.” Becoming an artist was something that was truly drawn out of Jim’s heart.
He began his career in 1975 in construction. By 1989, Jim was opening his own commercial concrete tilt-up business. But the shrinking economy caused a hard downturn in the tilt-up industry and Jim’s company was not immune to its effects. At its height in 2008 Jim employed 107 people, but in a few short months – by January 2009 – there was literally no work to be had. Jim began to pray for direction. Surprisingly, Jim felt a clear call to become an artist. When Jim shared that calling with his wife Deanna, she asked, “Are you having a nervous breakdown? You don’t do any art.” While he shared her concern -- he had not done anything remotely artistic in his life -- he was clear on the directive he received through prayer.
On April 30, 2009, Jim took his first art lesson in drawing and painting from Heritage Park Artist-in-Residence Nancy Ward. Through Nancy’s encouragement, Jim returned to college after a 34-year hiatus. He began to study drawing and painting.
On his way to that first art lesson, Jim met Heritage Park Artist-in-Residence John Ruth, a master glass blower. John’s story of starting his artistry in mid-life sparked further inspiration in Jim’s desire to follow his new life direction. After some lessons, and through John’s encouragement, Jim enrolled in Palomar College’s Glass Blowing program, taught by renowned glass artist Garry Cohen, owner of The Glass Ranch in Escondido. These events ultimately led to Jim’s purchase of the hot shop teaching studio from John Ruth in April 2011.
Now, Jim plans to continue in his growth as a glass artist by operating the hot shop studio 4-5 days a week about six months a year. During his studio breaks, Jim will continue to draw and paint. Classes are available by appointment. Demonstrations are also available by appointment.