Click here to download James Fiorentino's Resume (Download .PDF)
Although James Fiorentino started painting sports celebrities to obtain their autographs, autographs are now requested of him nationwide. Prestigious companies, galleries, museums, politicians, athletes, and entertainment personalities have commissioned James. James has worked with Yogi Berra, Cal Ripken Jr., Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Greg LeMond, and many contemporary athletes. His artistic ability has evolved into more than just a childhood hobby. James has painted and illustrated hundreds of intricately developed works in watercolor and oils since he was a young child. Like many artists, Fiorentino enjoyed painting at an early age; however, his talents displayed a unique maturity for someone so young. While others his age were coloring rough images, his mother Jackie noticed that he could draw fully developed anatomy at the age of three. He was recognized as a prodigy and has been prolific ever since. Included in his diverse collection are photo-realistic portraits ranging from sports figures and celebrities to everyday life, most recently adding neo-expressionism to his portfolio.
James is considered one of the most unique artists of the twentieth century. His skill embodies a compelling sense of realism. His remarkable, realistic qualities evoke a great deal of emotion. James' theme in every painting is the image of the human spirit. James indicates that being an artist comes naturally for him; it is as much as an act of will as it is the product of inspiration. "Sometimes, I step back and wonder if what I am painting will be rendered the way I want it to, but when I am finished, the painting looks exactly the way I imagined it." James continued, "I don't concentrate too much on painting a flawless image. I let my eyes and hands do the work. Just as a poet expresses himself through words, I express myself through paint. I feel fortunate to be able to use my art as a means of communication."
At the age of fifteen, James was the youngest artist to be featured in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for his likeness of Reggie Jackson, which hung beside the paintings of Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol. His painting commemorating Roberto Clemente remains in the museum as a part of their permanent collection.
"Although James' extensive portfolio resembles the like of contemporary painter Norman Rockwell, James' paintings are more trenchant and have a candor that is almost lost in the sentiment that Rockwell emphatically displays," said Michael Peaglau, professor at Drew University and acclaimed artist. He adds, "Unlike Rockwell, James displays in his paintings sweat and grit that baseball is really about. This most likely has to do with the fact that James is not only an established painter, but is also an avid player of the game." In fact, James was an all-state player for his high school team and was a four year starting shortstop at Drew University.
James' watercolor paintings speak more eloquently than photographs. Each painting emanates detail and realistic imagery that comes to life right before your eyes. Unlike many watercolor painters, James stresses the fluidity of the medium while using an almost dry brush. This allows him to focus on such minute detail, giving his paintings a level of definition and detail like that of a Renaissance tempera painter. James uses a technique autonomous from traditional watercolor and a style developed on his own. In viewing his diverse collection of portraits and sports paintings, one feels as if he or she has stepped into the action of a live sports arena.
Many of James' lithographs are part of the permanent collection in the United States Sports Academy Museum (Daphne, Alabama). James also has his work displayed at the National Basketball Hall of Fame, The National Museum of Art & Sport (NAMOS) (Indiana), Cycling Hall of Fame (New Jersey), Roberto Clemente Museum (Puerto Rico), and The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center (New Jersey), just to name a few.
In 1994 he became the youngest artist to win Beckett Magazine’s annual sports art competition for the likeness of Hall Of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton. When Beckett opened up the competition worldwide the following year, James triumphed again with a stunning collage of Muhammad Ali. When Ali saw James latest work of himself, the greatest said, "James, you are the greatest." James' artwork has been featured in numerous national publications and published as cover art for official commemorative programs for the 1995 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, Don Mattingly Day in 1997 at Yankee Stadium, 1996 Red Cross Calendar, and the 1995 and 2001-2003 covers of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame Induction program. James was also the official artist for Cal Ripken Jr's 2131 Consecutive Game Streak and 2632 Ending of the Streak for which he created limited edition lithographs.
As the youngest artist inducted into the prestigious New York Society of illustrators in 1998, along with Rockwell, Pyle, Wyeth, Kent, Peaks, Holland, and Fuchs. James continues to prove his achievements as a highly regarded illustrator and painter. Although James is one of America's renowned sports illustrators, he is currently developing a collection of neo expressionist artwork. Although James will always continue to paint realistic portraits, he comments that his love for painting has burgeoned into a figurative expression. "While I enjoy painting portraits of sports personalities, my passion also lies with my neo expressionism because I am able to delve into serious issues of the conscience." These two discrete ways of painting illustrate the two sides of James' imagination.
James followed up the success of his ten baseball cards which he created for Topps Gallery Heritage in 1999 with "The Fiorentino Collection." James created fifteen cards, over 70 paintings, of baseball, basketball, hockey, and football legends for Legends’ 2001 sports season. He also illustrated seven cards of golf legends. Two years later Upper Deck commissioned James once again to create more cards for their 2003 Upper Deck Playball Series. Modeled after the 1941 Playball series, James created over forty paintings depicting current stars, legends of that 1941 year and a tribute to Ted Williams.
Fiorentino has been featured on national and regional television, magazines, and newspapers including ABC World News Tonight with Dick Schaap, CBS This Morning, ESPN's Baseball Magazine, ESPN Magazine, The New York Times, Fox After Breakfast, NBC Good Day New York, MSG's New York Yankee Pre-game Show, and the New York Mets television broadcast just to name a few. He has been interviewed by ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and UPN affiliates throughout the country.