The Art of Bennecelli
James (Jim) Bennett

My Story

My art is a visual exploration of dreams and the subconscious.

I was raised in the rural south and exposed to a lot of superstitions and paranormal phenomena indigenous to the culture. When I was very young,  the spirits of my deceased grandfather and great-uncle visited me regularly.

I have always had a very active imagination and showed a talent for drawing at a very early age. At six years old I drew a realistic bird’s-eye view of my grandmother’s living room complete with all the furnishings.

As I was growing up, my interest in art, my preference for classical music, and my attraction to the unconventional set me apart from other family members and friends.

As a teen, I discovered I was able to dowse. About the same time, I began to experience involuntary premonitions of important future events. These premonitions have continued throughout my life.  I have also been fascinated by magic tricks – especially what is called mental magic.

It seems that my imagination is “on steroids” -- creative ideas flood my mind.

One explanation for my very active imagination has to do with the fact that I am on the autism spectrum. My inner world is far more exciting and multi-faceted than the exterior world. I see myself as a courier between those two worlds.

With all this in my background, one might logically write me off as some new age crackpot. But I believe that would be a  mistake. I see all these things as having completely rational explanations which can be found in a deeper understanding of the subconscious mind. My art is all about delving into the subconscious in hopes of bringing about such an understanding.

My current artwork is an investigation of dreams – which have been called " the windows into the subconscious."

I have worked as an artist and teacher for five decades. Since my retirement in 2015 from full-time teaching, I have focused on writing and producing art that is my investigation of the subconscious workings of our minds.

My Pictures
When viewers approach one of my pictures from a distance, I want them to think they are looking at an ancient artifact. Then, when the picture is viewed up close, an array of hidden images and archetypal symbols is revealed. Perhaps there is an element of surprise when the viewer discovers these “secret” details hidden in the image.

I’m inviting the viewer to see beyond her first impression of outer appearances and to look deeply within to find the hidden elements. At that level, I hope we will step in unison into a realm of our imagination where we might perceive and appreciate a shared consciousness of our ancient origin.


Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, 1967. Studied with Washington Color School painters: Thomas Downing, Gene Davis, and James Twitty.

BFA, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1970

MFA, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1972

Exhibitions & Awards

Numerous Juried Shows in Washington, DC, Virginia and North Carolina, 1967 – 1974

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia

                “Virginia Artists 1969” – Certificate of Distinction

                “American Painting 1970” – Selected by Peter Selz

                Solo Show, 1970

“Virginia Artists 1971”

Undergraduate Fellowship, 1969-70

Graduate Fellowship, 1970-71

University Of North Carolina at Greensboro

                Graduate Assistantships, 1970-1972

Southwest Ohio Art Education Educator of the Year, 2003
Exhibited widely in Poughkeepsie
                Barrett Arts Center, 2017, 2018
                Arts Mid-Hudson, 2017, 2018
                Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, 2017
                Art Centro, 2017
                Gallery 330, 2018
                Crafted Kup Coffee House, 2018
                Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, 2016


1975 – 2015 I taught at several private schools in Virginia, Ohio, and New York. Explored a variety of styles and techniques including calligraphy, illustration, murals, and portraiture, but did not exhibit during that time.


Authored Calligraphy For Dummies, 2007, as well as other books on art and four novels including The Poughkeepsie Mystery, 2016, To see all my books, please visit

Copyright © James Bennett, 2018