Nature-inspired mixed media: James G. Greene

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Viewing James G. Greene’s art, it is hard not to think about nature — and vice versa. His mixed media pieces, which often combine feathers, leather and wood among other items, are on display until May 7 in the Tryon Painters and Sculptors (TPS) show in Gallery One at the Tryon Fine Arts Center, 34 Melrose Avenue.

“I find it exciting and interesting to use what nature created and to combine them with wood,” said Greene, who adds that his greatest inspiration comes from the spiritual influence of the Baha’i faith, which espouses that acquiring the sciences and arts is the greatest glory of mankind.

Right: A mixed media work by James G. Greene, one of those included in the Tryon Painters and Sculptors exhibit currently on display in Gallery One at the Tryon Fine Arts Center on Melrose Avenue in Tryon. (photo submitted)

A resident of Greer, S.C., for the past 12 years, Greene grew up in Pittsburgh, Penn., and graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He served in Viet Nam.

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Greene married Janet, his wife of 35 years, in Maui, Hawaii. The couple moved to Key West, Fla., where they raised their children, Anisa, Khalil and Lua. There, Greene worked as a jeweler and goldsmith for 15 years.

Featuring his own line of jewelry, Greene became known for his original designs for special order pieces. His conch pearl pendant was featured in “Gems & Gemology,” a journal of the Gemological Institute of America, and his black pearl pendant was displayed in an Invitational Japanese International Jewelry Show.
In addition to his jewelry work, Greene pursued his lifelong love of sculpture.

“I have been interested in sculpture since I was a teenager and began sculpting in high school,” Greene said.

Since moving to the area, Greene has devoted his creative energy to working with various art mediums, including oil and acrylic paintings, reverse glass painting and mixed media sculptures.

The wood he uses for his sculptures comes from the various places he has lived, such as woman’s tongue and lignumvitae from Key West, monkey pod from Hawaii and cedar and bamboo from the upstate of South Carolina.

A stroke Greene suffered in 2004 left him with aphasia, a language problem, along with processing issues. Although it may take him longer, he said he always seems to figure out what he needs to do to make his art, which has developed a distinctive abstract style.

“I love creating my art. It is my passion and a spiritual creation of expression. I believe the Baha’i writings that state ‘work done in the spirit of service is worship’ and the success lies in me being happy with what I am creating,” said Greene.

After deciding to join Tryon Painters and Sculptors in 2010, Greene said he fell in love with all the artists and patrons of the Tryon Fine Arts Center and the great activities and programs it offers. It seems to be a hub of diverse cultural activities for the community, he said.

“Creating art is, without doubt, a blessing and joy to be immersed in without restraints,” says Greene, whose advice to aspiring artists is, “Be unrestrained as the wind.”

For more information about James G. Greene and his work, visit For more information about Tryon Painters and Sculptors, go to