James ‘Jimbot’ Demski, an artist from Milwaukee, has an uncanny ability to capture the fun and playful magic of birds.
Jimbot, as he prefers to be called, uses Chickadees, House Wrens, and Cardinals in many of his paintings, and through the juxtaposition of robots, Jimbot creates a truly unique narrative that transforms our daydreams into reality.
Or at least until robots become even more mainstream.
Birds and Bots was the name of his one-man exhibit at The Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, IL in late 2015 and are a recurring theme that resonates with his fans.
Jimbot says he finds himself using birds as inspiration in his artwork because they represent the freedom we all yearn for in our lives. The addition of robots and technology meets nature and them living together in harmony in the firm of Birdhouse robots is his playful way of saying that we can all coexist together.
“we can all exist together respectfully”
His art is fun, bold and quite colorful. Jimbot masterfully uses mixed media, which includes pencil, ink, stencils, numbers, and vintage papers. What each viewer interprets is left up to the clues Jimbot leaves behind in each piece. And every time you look at Jimbot’s art, it becomes a form of escapism taking you to another new place in your mind.
I call it artistic daydreaming.
Read on to see our complete Q & A with James ‘Jimbot’ Demski – creator of Bots and Birds.
Q&A with James ‘Jimbot’ Demski
Most of your art includes birds. What draws you to birds?
The simple answer is that birds are fun to paint and looking at them they’re just beautiful. The more complicated answer is that, to me, the birds I’m painting represent this sort of freedom that I think we all want in our lives. They dance around the trees and fly off to the next spot. It’s magical if you think about it.
Birds and art. What’s the connection
It could be the color, forms, or just what they represent to the artist. But for me, they are just immensely interesting. Birds have so much variety, and they are so much fun to study. I find myself building stories around the ones I see in my backyard…. maybe I’m just into birds though.
Robots in your artwork…why?
I used to paint robots primarily in my work…especially robots in nature. I always liked the idea of robots experiencing nature for the first time, and the innocence of it all.
To me, birds are a natural extension of that innocence, especially the Chickadees and House Wrens I paint. Once I started experimenting with putting the imagery together, I was just drawn to it. The idea of a non-natural robot next to the birds and living together was great to me.
Then the idea of Birdhouse Robots came to me. I just loved that there was this human-made thing, living together with things in nature. It’s like a “we can all exist together respectfully” type of thing.
What mediums do you like the most?
Primarily acrylic paint, but I also dabble in sculpture. Lately, I’ve been doing assemblages where I create several small pieces then put them all together as one big piece. That can include painting, sculpture, found objects, etc. It’s anything I want.
Tell us about your mixed medium approach? (Dry transfer letters, pencil, and ink, etc.)
I’ve always been drawn to numbers and letters, and dry transfer is just a look I like. They represent something of a forgotten part of graphic design. Certain numbers mean certain things to me, and I use those in my work.
They go along with the juxtaposition of the ‘man-made VS natural’ world I use in my work. I like to use pencil, ink, vintage papers, etc. to get the right feelings across. I do a lot of my work by ‘feeling,’ and if it feels right for what I need, I use it.
Do birds inspire you?
I do draw inspiration from birds, but I think it is more of a subtle way. I have this crabapple tree with tiny fruit the size of a bead. I find myself watching the House Wrens and Chickadees that dance around in there when I am sketching new ideas. Or many times I pull out my old Golden Field Guide bird books to thumb through for inspiration.
Are you into birds?
I would say that I am into birds. I especially love spotting unique species in the wild. Those unexpected moments when a Golden Eagle, or hawk soars above my yard are just amazing.
Earlier this year some wild turkeys were walking around on my patio, just outside my window. I was only a foot away from one of them. Then last year several turkey vultures went flying over my house, and I watched them till they were out of site.
It’s those little moments in life when a wild bird suddenly shows up that makes things feel special. It’s inspiring.
I am into wild animals in general. We get a lot of wild foxes, deer, coyote, etc. where I live in Wisconsin, and when they cross my path, I can’t help but feel like I am part of something special and something bigger than me.
Why do you think birds matter?
I think birds matter for the same reason that other life matters.
Birds matter because they are a living thing that’s a smaller part of this bigger universe in which we all belong. Birds – and every other living thing – are all interwoven with each other. Everything is connected, and there is something very wonderful in that.
Until you step outside yourself and watch (or appreciate) birds, or other things that are part of this planet, you never really experience life.
What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve made featuring a bird?
One of my favorites is ‘Get out of jail.’
Your favorite bird is…
Chickadees are at the top of my list and wrens of all types.
How often do you bird watch?
I don’t go out to specifically bird watch because I don’t have binoculars. But I try to put myself in situations, though, where unexpected birds cross my path. I just love those encounters so much.
Your favorite place to see birds?
The crabapple tree I mentioned earlier is my favorite. I see lots of small birds there, and I love it!
Chickadees, Wrens, Cardinals, Orioles, and lots more show up there. It’s a fantastic little eco-system. There is also a park by my house that has lots of magnificent wildlife, especially birds of all types.
What’s next for Jimbot?
I have a show at the Rotofugi Gallery on January 6, 2018. I am still preparing for it, but this is going to be my first big show that will primarily be assemblages. I’m working bigger these days, so I am excited about that too.
Be sure to visit Jimbot’s site at www.jimbot.com
And connect with him on