Anne Pollard James
“In March 2020, I took my first oil painting class. I did a session with Marjorie Atwood, we bought six paints and some pallet paper, and she taught me how to paint and shade a sphere, then the world shut down. So right then and there, I took a right turn and started painting and
You might know Anne Pollard James, like I do, through her successful real estate business she has run for years in the Tulsa area. Now, she is making a new name for herself as an artist. A contemporary figurative painter, Anne’s journey in art didn’t necessarily start in 2020. Still, the reclusion covid gave her helped her gain perspective on what she wanted to do with a new creative chapter in her life.
As many know, the quest for creativity is often a rocky climb through some unknown territories of our multi-faceted selves. Anne started with a simple desire to be more creative in her life and let the process reveal itself to her. “I started first with poetry. I figured it was a way to start doing something creative without spending any money immediately. I discovered the more you are creative, the more you want to create.” She wrote 30 poems in 30 days and then moved on to ceramics. From ceramics, she found Ross Myers at Zieglers Art and Frame. He leads drawing classes on Fridays, often attended by some of the most notable artists in town; Anne joined that class and has since become one of the clan.
Myer’s teachings resonated with Anne, making her look at art differently. He explained how art is not magic. Instead, he teaches how to look at things differently- not as objects but as shapes, shadows, and contrasts. “Something happened to me in that drawing class. I started charcoals and portraits and eventually found my interest: painting people.”
As children of the 80s, Anne and I reminisced about the sexualization of women in advertising, always portrayed through the lens of a man. Think Baywatch bikini babes, Cindy Crawford in tight jean shorts, and the Material Girl, Madonna. You can see many of these iconic hard-bodies of the 80s hidden in the evocative females Anne paints. But now, Anne is choosing to showcase the bodies in the form of reclaiming their bodies and taking back their power.
In most of Annes’ paintings, you can see female empowerment and body ownership theme. She feels the more she paints and expresses female strength; the more women can regain their power and ownership. Walking around her studio, I even felt like I could see myself in many of the images- evoking some strong emotions and conversations that needed to be had about my own objectification. It also seems to be catching onto others. Through these paintings, Anne has been connecting more and more with a strong female audience, even supportive men, who believe in a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. “There’s a connection with other women that I’m finding in this struggle for strength and self-power. I am also finding that I am not the only one who has felt this way”.
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Her Art Process
There is a power in humor, and many of Anne’s paintings exude a ting of humor and flirty messaging that all lead back to what she is saying in her art now, even though she (we) couldn’t necessarily say it back then. My body is mine, and I do what I want with it. “If you look around, I feel you can see me in many different examples of my paintings. So there’s a thread of things that I’m trying; some of them work, some don’t. But that’s not the point. The point is, I
love the process.”
Since she decided to switch from real estate to painting, she is still being led by the process and giving herself plenty of time and space to try this new art form. “Right now, I feel like I’m doing the right thing. I feel like each kind of jump into the river I take leads me to this amazing place where I have time to try. I love the process. And if I sell paintings, that’s wonderful. But that’s not the point; the point is to dive in and see where it all goes.”
Looking for More Art?
Anne’s art can all be found on her website annepollardjames.com and her Instagram page. You might catch her paintings at various art shows around town, and stay tuned for her upcoming solo show celebrating her 50th birthday. Proving how women at any point in their life can re-write their own story of how they want to be, and in Anne’s case, paint it.
Local Hotels & Restaurants
- 473 Bar: What was once a filling station, now sits a hip indoor/outdoor bar.
2224 E Admiral Blvd
- Catch a movie at the oldest movie theater in Tulsa: Circle Cinema
10 S. Lewis
- She Brews Coffee House: founded by Ronda Bear with the mission to “To improve the quality of life by advocating for women struggling with reentering back into society successfully; to bring effective solutions to the cycle of recidivism by providing programs focused on social and economic change and community. She Brews Coffee Shops helps us do this”
1 North Lewis Ave
- Stay at the Campbell Hotel on historic Route 66
2636 E 11th St
Anne Pollard James' 3 Paintings
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