Friday, September 01, 2006

Jim Towns, Pittsburgh Alumni

Jim Towns

Jim Towns is a formally trained painter and illustrator, an alumnus of the Savannah College of Art & Design. After graduating he worked in Philadelphia and New York City for several years as an illustrator and set designer for theatre before immigrating back to his native Pittsburgh.

In Pittsburgh he re-dedicated himself to painting and mixed-media assemblage. His work has been exhibited all over the city including venues such as Blue Ruin, Box Heart, Gallery in the Square, Digging Pitt, and the Mattress Factory. He was also a co-manager and frequent exhibitor at Penn Gallery in Lawrenceville. His work is in private collections in the United States and England.

Under the aegis Mad Monkey Productions he wrote and co-directed three films between 2000 and 2006 with friend and collaborator Mike McKown: 2003's The Sleep of Reason, 2005's One Nail too Many, and the recently-completed Prometheus Triumphant, a Fugue in the Key of Flesh .

Since late 2005 Towns has lived in Los Angeles, CA. He has written five independently-produced screenplays (Abandoned, The Vicious Circle, Murder on the Red Sea, The Scroll, and the upcoming Scions of Atlantis) and also a one-act stage play entitled Two Fools at the Feet of a Hanged Man. He has provided storyboards and art direction for the independent films The Coming, La Muerte, and Killer Krabs.

He currently works at Fox Studios in Century City, and plans to return to Pittsburgh in spring of 2007 to film his sophomore directorial effort.

"I think on the surface it seems that my work is just a crazy hodgepodge of different disciplines, genres, and styles… but if you look at it across the board, I think you begin to see an overall pattern… similar themes recurring and evolving… one of those themes is definitely time and it's effects… the way people and things age and decay… scars and erosion. I think that all comes from my experiences in Pittsburgh as a child. The city has a powerful history that is still visibly etched on its contemporary face. The bones of the once-mighty steel mills still rise from the ground like the fossils of dinosaurs, now just the rusted skeletons of giants. That iron and earth and that the idea of that now-broken strength have definitely influenced my art, my writing, and my film work. Pittsburgh is definitely one of the reasons that I'm doing the art that I am today…"

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