Tucked away in an old gymnasium on the outskirts of downtown Athens is a studio filled with more than 1,000 12-by-12-foot acrylic figure paintings by artist Jim Herbert.
The painter and filmmaker taught at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art for over four decades and has art in prominent museums around the world. Now retired, the two-time Guggenheim Award winner continues to create art with studios in Brooklyn, New York and Athens, Georgia.
Herbert sat across the room in a fold-out chair, dressed in a hat and his painting clothes. As he described his life in great detail, he spoke with his hands, the same hands that have built his career.
Herbert’s story as an artist began with the support from his parents in his early artistic pursuits. Both his mother and father encouraged his creative abilities and his wish to create a career for himself in the arts.
“It was something I was automatically attracted to as a young person,” Herbert said.
For his undergraduate degree, Herbert attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. Because of his progressing artistic efforts, particularly in painting, Herbert was offered a paid education at Dartmouth College, where they were looking to fill their newly established art program.
It was during his second year at Dartmouth that Herbert was offered a position to teach painting to other students in the program because of his accelerated skills.
It was also at Dartmouth where Herbert developed an affinity for creating art depicting human anatomy. His paintings drew the attention of the local medical center for which he created anatomical drawings for their books and magazines.
After graduating from the University of Colorado with a master’s degree, Herbert got his first job at the University of Georgia teaching at the