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Featured Artist: Jimmy Rouse


Images and stories by Jimmy Rouse. See more on his website:

“This print is of my step-grandson Jackson in the Canadian woods. He was three or four at the time, insisted on not wearing clothes, grabbed a big stick, jumped up on a rock and declared, “I am Jackson, master of the universe.”

“This was done of my then wife and oldest son, Louie, when we lived in the Fells Point section of Baltimore. We had a nice back yard and indeed an urban garden. Suzan would tend the garden while Louie played outside. The yard was closed in by high walls and backs of other buildings and was very secluded from the noise of the busy street on the other side of the house which was a thoroughfare for pedestrians, lots of shops restaurants and bars, trucks going to the port, and even railroad cars that ran down the middle of the cobblestone street. It was an idyllic retreat. We loved it.”

“In the painting, those are my two grandchildren charging up the hill. The painting is a homage to an early painting hero of mine, Chaim Souttine. He was a Russian Jew who fled to Paris as a teenager because he was beaten in his village for making graven images.  At the end of his life, he said there were only two things he wanted to paint, children and trees. I get that. What is more alive than children and trees.”

Jimmy Rouse was born and raised in Baltimore. He graduated from Yale University in 1967 with a B.A. in Political Science. From 1967-1968 he attended MICA in pursuit of his real love: art. Jimmy worked in various jobs to support his art habit. From 1981-1998 he owned and ran Louie’s Bookstore Cafe, a combination full restaurant and bar, bookstore, art gallery and classical music venue. Since selling Louie’s he has worked full time as an artist. In 2012 he co-founded Transit Choices, an advocacy group for better public transit in Baltimore. Now he spends his mornings working on that cause and the rest of the day painting, drawing or doing sculpture.

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