Xanadu Gallery | Scottsdale, AZ*

James Guçwa


James Guçwa (pronounced: Gooz -wa) was born with a paintbrush in his hand. There was never any doubt in his mind that, one way or another, he would become a professional fine art painter. This was his dream.  After obtaining a BFA in painting, he yearned for more and began additional study as a private student at the Dan Welden Lithographic Studio in Long Island, N.Y., and shortly after, as a painting apprentice in the art studio of the late contemporary painter, Gregory Gillespie.

The French post-impressionist, Paul Gauguin, moved to Tahiti to live and paint its people and tropical landscape. Admiring this artist's choice, Guçwa left for the island of Jamaica to do the same. Purchasing just a one-way ticket, James set off to the Caribbean with his easel, paints, a 10-speed bike, and $300. James was looking for an inexpensive shack to rent, away from tourist areas. He pedaled around the island until he found the town of Port Antonio where he spent his days painting, drinking coconut water and Red Stripe beers, and swimming. After a few months, James realized he was low on cash when a Jamaican entrepreneur approached him. The man wanted James to paint him a sign for the new lobster house he was planning to open. James never painted a sign before but needing the money, he accepted.

When James returned to the States, it was the lobster house sign that prompted him to begin painting vintage signs on canvas as fine art. His photorealistic paintings of vintage neon signs caught the eye of one fine art gallery after another, and before long, he was having one-man exhibitions in some of the finest art galleries across the country including several in New York City.