James Edward Martin 1928-2020


Last updated 11/16/2021 at 2:16pm

Northwest painter James Edward Martin passed away on Dec. 15, 2020. Born in Everett in 1928, Jim was raised in Seattle.

Jim's pursuit of art was encouraged by Ballard High School art teacher Orre Nobles, who implored Jim's parents to keep him enrolled. After studying at the UW, Jim's paintings won the attention of gallery owner Otto Seligman, who presented Jim's work alongside Graves, Tobey, and Anderson.

Jim's work eventually transcended the muted parameters of the Northwest Mystics, blossoming into his signature, raucous style. For the last 60 years Jim reveled in the absurdities of life at his Edmonds Way residence, the Donald Duck Ranch.

He was shy, kind, generous and without guile – Jim was his own man. More on Jim's life and work can be read in Sheila Farr's superb monograph, "James Martin Art Rustler at the Rivoli" (UW Press, 2001), or in her biography of Jim at historylink.org.

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Jim was predeceased by parents, Wilfred and Isabel; sister Irene; and dear friends Helen Reynolds and Jessica Holliday. Jim's last couple of years were enriched by his caregiver and new best friend, Mike Ryan. He leaves behind friends Cort and Connie Vezzani, M.T. Peters, and a host of others.

Jim is represented by the Foster/White Gallery; an exhibit of his paintings will be shown in January. A party to celebrate Jim's life will be scheduled once the pandemic subsides.

The Mystic Sons of Morris Graves, Seattle Lodge 93, mourn the loss of Bro' Jim.


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