Local artist tells story of his organized chaotic art

Shannon Orr, For the Herald Democrat

Jim “Jimbo” McDonald’s studio in Bonham is covered in various art, materials, paints and even a drum set. The longer someone stands there the more art and secret hobbies of McDonald can be found stuck in every space available.

It was organized chaos, the typical décor that can be found among most artist work space. He was fascinated by graphic art at an early age. The work took a natural progression for him.

If he had an idea, he would try it, and if he wasn’t happy with it, he would repeat it until he was satisfied with the outcome. He never set out to impress anyone, just himself. He found most inspiration in his youth by album covers.

”I think the 1980’s get over looked a lot of times as being kind of bland in terms of art, but if you pull back that curtain and dig in, you’ll find that some were way ahead of their time,” he said. “Artists like Jim Phillips, Steve Nazar and Robert Williams began coming into the spot light, I think those guys, mixed with the urban art scene and musical artist of the late 80s, early 90s, really pushed me in the direction I needed to go.”

Now McDonald sees himself as a self-professed “jack of all trades, master of none” type when it comes to his art. He enjoys woodworking, graphic design, sign painting, photography, pop art and even paper collage work.

“I enjoy doing it all differently and for sure have phases that have my interest more invested in one medium than another,” McDonald added.

His favorite project is a surprise he made for his wife, Amanda, with the help of their children. An oversized wooden Texas made out of several salvaged wood pieces, he had his children dip their hands in different colored paints and cover it with their hand prints.

McDonald also enjoys working with various materials people will bring him, for example an old barn door that may have belonged to someone’s grandparents. He hopes to work on more collaborations with local talent, bigger projects like murals and large scale paintings.

He also wants to work with more locally ran art shows that cater to the fringe artist who are often overlooked. Yet, he feels he’s never had any obstacles in pursuing his art because he’s never taken his art seriously.

It’s always been a hobby.

“When it starts turning into a job is when things feel different,” McDonald said. “For example, a couple years ago I got to a point with my woodworking where it really took off. I was taking on way too many projects. It was overwhelming. I worked a full time job already and just got bogged down coming home working seven or eight ours in my shop. It felt like I wasn’t making one of a kind pieces anymore and I felt more like a one man factory spitting out stuff to stay ahead of deadlines.”

He said he had no connection with this stuff and it was all handmade, which was a shame.

“I understood real quick that that wasn’t how you should feel if you have been given a talent and a means to express it,” he said. “It should be about what makes you, the artist, happy. Sure I still do stuff for people and businesses, whether it’s sign painting, logo design, etc, but now I kind of do it at my own pace. I can kind of pick and choose what projects I take on in a sense. It’s ok to say ‘no’ sometimes.”

McDonald does sell his work on a commission basis and relies on word of mouth but he does have a Facebook page, McDonald Trading Company, dedicated to his woodworking and home décor.

McDonald has recently done a show with The 12 O’clock Siren Podcast, and he will be at the Lowbrow Hoedown Artist Showcase on Oct. 19 from 2-7 p.m. at Tupelo Honey in Denison selling and showing his original artwork.