Jim Schell - Biography of a Portrait Artist

Jim Schell Self-Portrait

Born 1918 in Atlanta, Jim Schell was largely a self-taught artist.  His first job in illustration was in the 1930’s at the age of 12 when he had a paper route for the Hearst’s “Georgian American” and was commissioned to do drawings for the publication. At 14, he studied for a summer at the Detroit Art Academy under the director, his uncle, Carlos Lopez, a muralist-painter.  Schell later became a cartoonist and illustrator on “Pacific Stars and Stripes” while serving in WWII in occupied Japan.

Jim Schell in Studio

When he returned to Atlanta Schell co-founded Kirkland, White, and Schell Advertising Agency where he served as art director and received numerous national and regional awards for illustration and design. In 1982, he sold his agency in order to devote all his time to painting, especially the fine art of portraiture. His works appeared in exhibits and one-man shows and hang in homes and businesses throughout the country. Among his honors were “Art Directors Club Award for Design and Illustration”, “Artist of the Year” by American Pen Women and “Member of Excellence”, the Portrait Society of Atlanta’s highest honor. He also taught portrait painting in Atlanta for almost 30 years. Jim Schell, life-long working artist, died in 2013 at the age of 94.

 “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work”.