Artist Spotlight: Jamie Lester
Artist, sculptor, and musician, Jamie Lester is quite popular in Morgantown. With a list of accomplishments as great as the Zackquill Morgan, Jerry West, and Don Knotts statues, it is not hard to see why! Jamie Lester has contributed so much already to our slice of almost-heaven, and he may be ushering in a West Virginia Renaissance by influencing new artists to come! This Thursday, October 27 at 8 pm, he will be taking us behind-the-seens of his Benedum Gallery Exhibition, Behind These Eyes and into his mind.
Jack Fleming “An Artist With Words” This life size half figure of “The Voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers” was commissioned by John and Anita Fleming in 2009. The project is in the finishing stages and will be installed at the WVU Alumni Center in February of 2011.
Jerry West Jamie Lester was awarded the commission for the larger than life sized bronze statue of Basketball great Jerry West in April 2006. The bronze sculpture was installed at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, WV and unveiled in February of 2007.
The Don Knotts Statue This life size bronze statue was commissioned by the City of Morgantown and unveiled on July 23, 2016. Jamie Lester worked with the Don Knotts family to create the design for the statue, depicting the brilliant comedic actor in his prime.
The Colonel Zackquill Morgan Statue This life size bronze statue was commissioned by the City of Morgantown and unveiled on June 20, 2016.
Jamie Lester lives in Morgantown, WV with his three children Hannah, Everett and Sophia.
Lester was born on September 7, 1974 in Oceana, West Virginia, a small mining town in Wyoming County. After graduating from West Virginia University in 1997, with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, he formed Lester Sculpture, specializing in bronze monument sculpture and fine artwork. In 2012 Lester created Vandalia Bronze LLC., further expanding his art team.
In 2003, Lester designed the obverse side of the West Virginia State Commemorative Quarter, depicting a panoramic view of the New River Gorge Bridge.
Lester’s award-winning bronze sculpture has shown in galleries in West Virginia, Maryland, and The Society of Fine Arts and Crafts in Boston, Massachusetts. His experience in the monumental bronze industry is specialized in portraiture and figurative sculpture. Since 1997, Jamie has sculpted thousands of basrelief portraits and has completed several large scale bronze statues. Lester’s bronze work is heavily influenced by Italian Baroque sculpture. His bronze figures possess a dynamic sensitivity with exquisite detail. Lester’s fine art work takes this baroque realism and balances it with the surreal juxtaposition of objects, influenced by Rene Magritte.
He also spent 5 weeks studying figurative sculpture in Jingdezhen, Xian, and Beijing, China in 2011, while teaching as a guest artist at Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute.
In 2015 he completed a two week course of study in Rome, Italy, focusing on the figurative sculpture of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Lester was recently selected as the official bronze sculptor for the Boy Scouts of America, and is currently in the process of sculpting three 8 foot bronze statues for outstanding former boy scout leaders.
The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance at Keyspan Park on Coney Island is one of the most well-known and widely viewed works produced by Jamie Lester. The monument features two lifesize depictions of New York firefighters cast in bronze. The sixfoot tall figures were commissioned in 2002 to commemorate the 105 firefighters from Brooklyn who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
He is a member of the Portrait Society of America.
You can check out more about Lester's Company, Vandalia Bronze, here http://vandaliabronze.com/about/
You can see more of his sculptures and keep up with him on Facebook by liking https://www.facebook.com/Jamie-Lester-36909097880/
Behind The Scenes of Behind These Eyes
Jamie Lester will be giving a special behind-the-scenes presentation of his Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) exhibition, Behind These Eyes this Thursday, October 27 at 8 pm. The exhibition, located in MAC’s first floor Benedum Galery, showcases a variety of Jamie’s sculpture abilities and is inspired by realistic tradition, spirit and transcendance. He will explain the making of his sculpture and the exhibition process from the stage of the Tanner Theatre at the Monongalia Arts Center. Lester will go into detail about his past and future work in bronze, and will break down the process of making the work included in his solo exhibition. A question and answer session will be offered after the lecture and MAC welcomes all students and community members to attend, meet and learn from the accomplished sculptor.
A two hour set of original acoustic compositions will be presented subsequently by Lester's band, The Standard Preparations. The Standard Preparations feature Jamie Lester, on mandolin, harmonica and lead vocals, Francisco Amaya on guitar and backup vocals, Michael Reynolds on stand up bass, and Caleb Winters on lap steel guitars. Standard Preparation creates compositions that synthesize bluegrass, country and folk for a fresh and original yet distinctly Appalachian sound.
His artwork will also be featured in MAC's upcoming Bare Form exhibition, like the piece above, Hillside 2. Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) will celebrate the human body this November with the return of Bare Form in the Benedum Gallery. This exhibition features non-erotic pieces from a range of diverse artists.
The beauty of the body has inspired artists from the dawn of history yet remains an inextricable part of the human experience. Our intimate familiarity with the human body bears the challenge to the artist, transforming that which is known into an expression of emotion. MAC intends to capture that emotion with the return of Bare Form.
MAC is still accepting entries. All artists are eligible for the Bare Form 2016 exhibition. All forms of visual art (video art excluded) and literary art (no erotica) will be considered. No reproductions will be accepted. Artists may enter two pieces. Any work conceived as a multiple should be in an edition of no more than three. More information about submissions is available at monartscenter.com/opportunities, or by contacting email@example.com or (304) 292-3325.
There will be a public opening reception on Friday, November 4 at 5:30 pm, with a ribbon presentation at 6:30 pm. Refreshments and snacks will be available, and MAC encourages all locals and students alike to attend. The exhibition will remain open until November 23.
Behind These Eyes
Sculptor, painter, musician, composer and Morgantown local, Jamie Lester, presents Behind These Eyes, an exhibition of sculpture inspired by realistic tradition, spirit and transcendance.
He says “"Clay is my vehicle for the creation of a portrait. With clay, I strive to achieve a likeness, and in the process, I find myself contemplating the expression of the human spirit." The exhibition opened on October 7 during the annual Downtown Morgantown ARTS Walk with a fun and well-attended public opening reception. Jamie also produced a special sculpture, live on the front lawn of MAC on Thursday, October 6 and MAC is pleased to have been a part of it!
The exhibition will be available in the Benedum Gallery throughout October 29, so experience the "revival" while you still can!
The image above is of a sculpture featured in Behind These Eyes, titled Revival.
He will also reveal a special "behind-the-scenes presentation on Thursday, October 27 at 8 pm with a performance by his band immediately following.