James Nelson Carroll
The Pet Impressionist
Welcome. I'm an artist who loves creating beautiful art for people who love pets and living life! I strive to capture scenes that evoke meaningful memories for people.
Using photos as reference, I create original, colorful paintings, as well as charcoal and graphite drawings.
Most of my work is commissioned, although I also enjoy exploring different subjects and techniques that are both meaningful and intriguing to me. I'm always learning something new.
To commission a piece, please visit my Order page, or simply contact me. Thanks!
Phone: (630) 677-9773
Follow me on IG and FB @petimpressionist
I discovered I wanted to be an artist when I was 6-years-old. I was given a paint-by-numbers set as a holiday gift, and instead of painting within the numbered lines, I flipped over the canvas and started painting my own scene on the blank side.
When my mother saw what I did, she was wowed by my creative act of disregarding the lines and painting from my own imagination. She recognized I had talent and encouraged me to develop it. I entered art contests in grade school and started winning first place a couple of years in a row.
When I was in 7th grade, my mom told me she’d learned about a citywide art contest. She said, “First Prize is summer art classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and I think you can win!” She was right. I won First Place, got a story and my picture in the local paper, and learned a variety of new art techniques. I drew inside the Art Institute, as well as on Michigan Avenue, Grant Park, the Loop and under the “El” train and loved every minute of it.
In high school, I was fortunate to study drawing and painting at an artist’s studio in town. I credit Martin Prible for teaching me how to draw. As I approached making college decisions, it was important that I attend and earn a degree to get a good job. I would be the first in my family to earn a college degree.
My father told me, “You can always get a job in business,” so I enrolled at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in its school of business administration. Drake also had a strong arts program and an impressive new fine arts building. Three weeks into my freshman year, wondering what I was doing in an accounting class (!), I transferred into Drake’s emerging Graphic Design program.
I received a BFA at Drake, where I also discovered and fell in love with the field of Advertising. I went on to have a successful career in Chicago at top national marketing agencies, becoming a senior executive and creative director working with many world-renowned brands.
In 2016, I decided to dedicate my time to being a fine artist. I exhibited at art shows in Chicago and Naples before moving to Sarasota in 2021. Most of my work has been pet scenes commissioned by clients. They are passionate about my work, and several of them keep coming back. I love the experience and the joy I’ve been able to bring to people.
I also enjoy traveling and exploring more of the country and the world, where I’ve discovered new places, people, cultures, experiences, and the expansive world of art. While I continue to paint and draw pets – as well as portraits of people – for clients, I’m beginning to translate my discoveries and learnings into my own art.
Regardless of the subject, each piece of art I create is meant to tell a story that is personal and creates an emotional response for the viewer – perhaps of love shared, a memory hidden but never lost, or simply awe, wonder, and all those feelings that are universal and timeless.