Collectible Figurines By Jim Shore
Who is Jim Shore?
The enormous popularity of award-winning artist Jim Shore is the consequence of a lifetime of dedication, inspiration and plain old hard work. And as with most successful people,some good fortune has played a part in addition. As Jim puts it, “Art is something I’ve done all my life. It’s what I’ve always loved and the only thing I ever wanted to do. But making a living as an artist isn’t easy. There are thousands of very talented people out there that never get a chance to show what they can do. I’ve been lucky. Not only do I get to do what I love, I get to proportion it with people around the world. I’ve been given a tremendous gift and I thank God for it every day.”
Jim Shore grew up in rural South Carolina, the son of artistic parents who instilled a love of the traditional values expressed in American folk art. His grandmother was a master quilter who taught him an appreciation for the patience and skill required to bring complicate designs to life. Jim drew inspiration from these roots. “There’s an innocence and purity to the quilts, appliques and folk scenery found in the early days of our country. These were masterpieces that were designed not for commission, but because the artists were pushed to create. I collect quilts dating back over 150 years and when I look at the level of skill and creativity I am continually amazed. This is high art from humble beginnings.” Initially Jim pursued his art when and where he could. He studied engineering and received a degree in business – not art. He supported his young family as an engineer, honing his skills as a sculptor and painter in his spare time. But his passion was always his art, and after several false starts established his own company, Designs Americana, to market his sculpture. “We went to a show with some of my sculptures and planned to manufacture them if we received enough orders,” Jim recalls, “We didn’t have a factory, didn’t really know what we were going to do. Luckily, we made the right contacts at the show and it all worked out.” Within three years Designs Americana had over 350 employees and more orders than they could fill. In fact the demands of managing Designs Americana made it difficult for Jim to concentrate on his art. “I needed to focus exclusively on the creative and artistic side of my work, and that meant finding the right business partner to concentrate on the three piece suit side of the business.” There was no better partner than Enesco, a worldwide leader in marketing gifts, collectibles and decorative accessories. In 2000 Jim joined forces with Enesco to create the Jim Shore line of seasonal and home accessories.
While working with Enesco Jim perfected his rare style, combining elements of folk art and a vibrant color pallet applied to traditional themes. To Jim, a Santa Claus isn’t just a Santa Claus, it’s a canvas to be painted. Taking designs from quilting, rosemalling, applique and flat perspective folk art, Jim creates an complicate and colorful work of art that reflects our shared cultural heritage however is unmistakably Jim Shore. “I can’t imagine myself ever tiring of this,” Jim says of distinctive combination of themes and motifs, “I get to create two designs every time I develop a new piece – what the item will be and then what colors and patterns will go on it. The variety keeps me inspired.”
The magic of Jim’s design style is that it can be applied to a huge variety of themes and formats, creating a charming and inventive American country décor statement for the home. “My work is not a single statement, but a lot of elements mixed together. I use colors that I love – colonial, antiques, jewel tones and some uncommon colors that I loved at the moment. Put together it’s a pleasure to look at. It doesn’t really matter what item it’s on. It’s just fun to look at-American Folk-Art.” Jim is now working to develop a more extensive lifestyle brand, creating functional home décor and fact accessories using his indisputable style. He will continue to solidify his position is the premier name in the specialty gift market by a selective licensing program designed to introduce inventive new products while maintaining high quality standards and exclusive dispensing. The focus will be on exciting new formats that compliment the current brand offering from companies including Enesco, Department 56, Evergreen/Cypress and Manual Woodworkers and Weavers. Jim has received multiple awards from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers, the premier trade organization in the gift and collectible industry, including:
NALED Artist of the Year 2003, 2004 and 2005
NALED Rising Star 2002
NALED Christmas Collectible of the Year 2003 and 2005
NALED Christmas Décor of the Year 2004 and 2005
How long has Jim been designing his line? Jim’s been designing his current line for Enesco since 2001, but Jim’s been a working artist designing wonderful products nearly all of his specialized life. Jim estimates he’s designed over 3,000 Santas in his career. Some of his older work can be found on auction sites like eBay or can be bought by private collectors. How are Jim Shore figurines made? Due to Jim’s busy schedule, it’s no longer possible for him to sculpt every item. Now he provides a detailed drawing of a new piece to a group of master sculptors, handpicked and trained by Jim over the time of many years. These artisans then produce clay molds that are sent to Jim for approvals to ensure they are faithful representations of Jim’s original art. Often these prototypes are revised several times until they are just right, down to the last detail and texture. Molds are made from these original sculptures and products are cast in POLYresin. Each piece is then painstakingly hand-painted and finished by artists using folk art techniques developed by Jim. Jim’s attention to detail and involvement in the complete course of action ensure products with the look and feel of real wood and have a quality and level of detail that is rare in the industry. Jim Shore figurines are a simply amazing set of sculptures. Between his Disney, Nativity, Angel and Santa Clause lines you are bound to find a product to fall in love with.