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James Xavier Barbour

Teaches at The Decorus Atelier of Figurative Art

James Xavier Barbour is an American fine art painter and sculptor whose primary vehicle for expressing contemporary narrative or metaphor is the human figure. He is the founder, and director of Decorus Atelier of Figurative Art located in New York City and a principle instructor. He has taught for over 14 years as an instructor at Academy of Art University, and at other academic institutions, and conducts regular art workshops and seminars.

His talent for art developed at an early age, as well as his passion for human anatomy. His early years were self taught and more instinctual. He studied fine arts in the classical realist atelier tradition and art conservation while living abroad in Italy, and completed his undergraduate study at The Hartford Art School. He also studied at The Art Students League and has a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the New York Academy of Art. He has been fortunate to have studied with many of the world's most respected artists like Steven Assael, Vincent Desiderio, Deane Keller, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, Stephen Brown, Fred Wessel and many others.

He is endlessly curious, and has spent hundreds of hours studying the works of the old masters to better analyze their techniques, and observing human anatomy from dissected human cadavers in order to specialize in both artistic and forensic human anatomy. James is passionate about expressing the eternal or universal truths that bind us as human beings as well our differences. His work often contain a psychological narrative which dances on the edges of both reality and the surreal. He fearlessly captures those moments of life which appear an illusion or dream, but remain anchored in possibilty or reality. ​Themes explored can range from the chaotic "dark circus" of life around us and exploring human nature, to the affects of technology and industrial/ mechanical growth as we attempt to adjust and evolve. It is his firm belief that observation is a necessary component of a successful work of art and prefers to work strictly from life, model, and/or imagination.

​​He has won numerous artistic awards, grants, and has been featured in various publications, magazine articles, and films. His work can be found in many private and public collections around the world and on exhibition in various art museums and galleries across the United States and abroad. Recent exhibitions have included the Museo Arte Contemporanea Sicilia, Tampa Museum of Art, Peninsula Museum of Art, Six Summit Gallery, RH Gallery, as well as other exhibitions located in Italy, Australia, London, and in Japan.

He works from his studio based in New York City.

Reviews of James Xavier Barbour

(39 Reviews)
Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

6/28/2022
rachael l.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


The atelier was really a unique location and the teacher James is tremendously skilled tutor, & incredibly welcoming, with a vast knowledge base.Within the two hours I had learned so many techniques and it was great to see how much I developed & made progress in a few hours of the intro class. Due to the small class size the course offers some one-on-one focused tuition & James tailored his tutorial to my skill level. Hearing him encouraging & working with other students was very inspiring. I would highly recommend the class.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

5/23/2022
Anonymous

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Great class, small class size with lots of 1 on 1 instruction!

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

5/21/2022
Alexander S.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


James was a very knowledgeable teacher. He was patient, offered great feedback, and guided me on how to improve. I would highly recommend this class for anyone wanting to be a better artist, including people like me who are just starting out!

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

5/1/2022
Candy S.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Candy S. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

4/18/2022
Anonymous

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


FANTASTIC intro class. James was an incredible teacher and helped me progress more than I thought possible in a few hours. I highly recommend this course and will be back for more!

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

2/27/2022
Claudia D.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


This experience surpassed our expectations. It was such high quality, engrossing, and worthwhile. Prof. James spent so much time and took great care to meet us where we are and to inspire us to integrate an artistic practice into our daily lives. He is genuinely committed to the craft of teaching. Very down to earth and comfortable studios.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

2/20/2022
Anonymous

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Hi, I learned a lot but was hoping for more people to be in the class. Overall though it was good

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

2/12/2022
Anonymous

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Lots of fun. Learned a lot and made progress in my drawing.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

2/7/2022
Olive C.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Prof. Barbour is very passionate about teaching all of his students his techniques to the best of his ability. I quite enjoyed picking up several new skills over the course of just a few hours! I was a bit nervous at first because learning a new skill is sometimes very intimidating, but he was kind and eager to teach me the basics. I would highly recommend visiting the Atelier for anyone interested in making art.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

1/27/2022
Giulianna P.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


This art class was very helpful. I learned a new technique on how to shade using cross hatching. The instructor was also very informative and provided good criticism. Also, he is a great painter. Have to check them out while you're there. Would definitely recommend!

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

1/21/2022
Rey R.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Rey R. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

1/10/2022
John M.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


This class was an excellent plunge into the world of visual arts for someone with enthusiasm but whose skills are rusty. James did a great job of diagnosing patterns in my technique from the outset and giving me tangible advice for which aspects to focus on. I also appreciated his tour of the studio space and his explanation of different pieces and the styles they represent. I would recommend this class to anyone looking to get their feet wet in drawing and anyone seeking a welcoming yet serious environment in which to practice.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

12/28/2021
Joe L.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


We spent an amazing time with James. His passion for art is infectious and his skill at teaching his love of art is truly a gift. Our time with him flew by as if transported to another realm, having to be dragged back to reality when we had to leave. In just a few hours our drawings went from mere scribbles to what actually looked like an ear. Most importantly he instilled in us the confidence and desire to continue our path to Art. We visited the MET the next day with a new and valuable perspective. We will definitely visit again.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

12/6/2021
Silvanna T.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Silvanna T. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

11/26/2021
John F.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


The Barbours are excellent teachers, each with an extensive history of art-making as well as a current, modern body of work. The class sizes are small and provide individual attention. Anatomy is studied rigourously as well as technique. Homeworks are encouraged. If requested they will also discuss their history with art, how to make money creating art in the digital age, and different materials and implements. In later classes, live models are used, but usually you work from Barque plates, figures, and statues. Great class, and worth your time if you're serious about drawing.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

11/21/2021
Uma M.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Uma M. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

11/8/2021
Matthew A.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Matthew A. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Cast Drawing and Developing Drawing Accuracy

10/29/2021
Anonymous

Attended: Cast Drawing and Developing Drawing Accuracy


James is a patient and encouraging teacher. His class is a great mix of beginners and advanced students. The class is small enough that everyone gets the individual attention they need. The studio has a great welcoming vibe. I would highly recommend any of his classes. - D

Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)

10/25/2021
Anonymous

Attended: Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)


Anonymous gave this class 1 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

8/5/2021
Anonymous

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Fantastic class. I really cant recommend it enough. James was attentive, experienced, and an all around excellent teacher. He managed to pinpoint the areas you needed the most help with and gave you feedback in a positive, motivating way. Everything from James's proficiency, warmth, and enthusiasm for art made me feel so lucky to have taken the class. It was a wonderful experience.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

8/3/2021
Luis T.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


James is a very charismatic and passionate person. I've never been good at art, but he has manage to teach me simple techniques to draw. Nevertheless, I highly recommend taking any of his drawing classes, for those who want to learn and experience something new.

Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)

5/17/2021
David G.

Attended: Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)


In short, this class was a revelation. When I signed up for this class I did not consider myself an artist, and certainly not a sculptor. James showed me otherwise. He is as talented a teacher, as he is a fine artist. I learned so much in this course. It’s more than just sculpting, it’s anatomy, philosophy, drafting, studying light and shadow and more. This class was honestly an inspiration. It allowed me to pursue artistic abilities I didn’t know I had. Abilities we all have and maybe just haven’t nurtured enough. I am proud of what I made and proud to call myself a sculptor now. I look forward to working with James again on another project and would highly recommend this class to anyone interested in sculpture. Two thumbs up. 10/10. 5-stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

4/12/2021
Miriam C.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Miriam C. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

8/3/2020
Aaron G.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Aaron G. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

7/19/2020
Aaron G.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


James took great pains to get me to see that I was working towards a greater artistic goal. He was patient, informative and resourceful. He made form and anatomy a pleasurable subject to study. I would not hesitate to attend his classes.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing (online)

4/18/2020
Leslie W.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing (online)


James is a wonderful teacher. I learned so many techniques for improving and making really great pencil drawings. Highly recommend this class!

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

3/16/2020
Erin M.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


What a special experience! From the moment I walked in, I felt so welcome, and the level of personal attention and the overall vibe was truly other-worldly. I kept wondering what the catch was, but I left feeling as if I was welcome to come back, but not pressured to. I think that will actually make it so much more likely I'll head back very soon!

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

2/22/2020
Molly H.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Great class! Very patient and friendly teacher. Learned a ton

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

2/19/2020
Hunter L.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Learning at Decorus has been an absolute pleasure. As I've spent more time there, I've seen how well and thoughtfully James adapts his teaching style to each new student. I've been amazed how much I've improved in the last month and could not recommend more highly.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

1/27/2020
Nyoka G.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Nyoka G. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)

1/6/2020
Eric M.

Attended: Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)


James is an excellent artist and teacher and all around great guy. He is inspiring to work with and seems to truly enjoy getting the best out of his students. This is a great starter starter course but also worth taking if you have some experience sculpting. James is very hands on, not afraid to criticize but also very motivational.

Cast Drawing and Developing Drawing Accuracy

8/18/2019
Diane B.

Attended: Cast Drawing and Developing Drawing Accuracy


Diane B. gave this class 5 out of 5 CourseHorse stars.

Accelerated Introduction to Sculpture

6/10/2019
Anonymous

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Sculpture


Very explicit and simple.

Accelerated Introduction to Sculpture

5/3/2019
Ali A.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Sculpture


It was a great experience, James was a great artist and teacher and super nice. The please from the inside was above my expectations, I thought it would be just a normal school but actually it was where James lives and it was full of great art pieces that was done by James, his wife and there students, there were a couple of rooms each one of them is for a different type of art. It was a good experience and I totally recommend it.

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

11/11/2018
Erika R.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


Hi! This was a lovely class. James and Laura were very gentle and with a lot of patience to explain different techniques. It has been a great experience. Also they give me many tips to improve my skills. I really recommend them! They are so profesional!

Accelerated Introduction to Drawing

10/8/2018
Adam M.

Attended: Accelerated Introduction to Drawing


In summary: The instructor has a near encyclopedic knowledge and superb technical skill with the philosophy of a true artist to back it up. In detail/My experience: The location at a glance, especially when you first arrive, seems peculiar but it absolutely does not reflect the inside. Once you enter and get a tour of the place, you definitely see how skilled and masterful the artists residing in this location. The teacher there really will try to understand you then guide your craft from the simple foundation. As such you really have to let go of your grounded understanding of art. You have to start from the beginning, master that, then you can continue on to more of the fun stuff from there. So if you're looking for a teacher that will give you the proverbial tools from becoming a flawed artist to a master of craft then this is the right place. Sign up, be patient, be willing, and be ready to learn.

Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)

9/30/2018
Kent E.

Attended: Introduction to Écorché: Portrait Anatomy (Sculpture)


Brilliant - James is extremely meticulous and knowledgeable, as well as being a great teacher and communicator. Highly recommended if you would like to do something creative, instructive and different.

Introduction to Drawing and Critical Drawing Techniques

9/22/2018
Marcea D.

Attended: Introduction to Drawing and Critical Drawing Techniques


Small class size, individualized care and attention. They meet the student at whatever level they are at and invested in helping them grow. Very genuine and kind teachers who helped me progress a lot in a short amount of time, thank you!

Cast Drawing and Developing Drawing Accuracy

7/28/2018
Molly N.

Attended: Cast Drawing and Developing Drawing Accuracy


Great instruction, extremely helpful and informative.

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