Jim Watt resists being categorized. He is a Princeton-trained artist and architect and principle in the Asbury-Park-based firm Smith whose restaurants and build designs have been integral to the reimagining of Asbury Park and other cities. Whatever the medium, he creates works from the complex and energetic interaction of forces traditionally seen as contradictory.
Watt was inspired by architects, artists and critics who believed that painting, sculpture and architecture are not exclusive expressions for an artist. Form, space, material, texture, color and light are common to these languages.
Watt studied under students of Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, Luis Kahn and other pillars of modernism and expressionism who expressed their ideas in a variety of mediums. It was with his thesis advisor and mentor Amir Ameri at Temple University that he began to challenge the traditional formal and special relationships of architecture, painting and sculpture. From there he was accepted into the prestigious Master of Architecture program at Princeton University where just five students were selected from around the world to study with the greatest minds in art and architecture. There, Watt studied with masters such as Michael Graves and Enrique Miralles who stressed that architects must paint and sculpt to fully realize and express their ideas.
Abstract form morphs into representational shapes. Images that at first appear free form emerge as familiar. Three-dimensional form oscillates with two-dimensional surface. Figure vies with ground. The simplicity of a bold palette is manipulated to express nuanced light and shadow. In each work, he is playing with the tensions of opposites. His process is akin to improvisational music where each choice of note informs the next