Florida Highwaymen artist James Gibson was born in Moore Haven Florida in 1938 and passed away after a heart attack on August 5, 2017.
James was among the original core group of Florida Highwaymen painters.
In later years James been one of the most active of the remaining artists. He was selling paintings up until the last few days of his life.
James learned how to paint and sell landscape paintings by Highwaymen founder Alfred Hair. James knew Alfred from Lincoln Park Academy High School in Fort Pierce, Florida.
James went on to the college in Tennessee in 1958 but soon dropped out for financial reasons and returned to Florida. That's when he reconnected with Alfred Hair.
Back in Fort Pierce James went to work for Alfred painting backgrounds, prepping boards, and selling door to door. Alfred was a major influence on Gibson. Gibson not only imitated his painting style, but he also paid close attention to Alfred's business model and sales techniques.
James always lamented Alfred's murder in 1970. The Highwaymen artists were all dependent on Hair's leadership.
“If Alfred had lived, he would have been a millionaire. If he was a millionaire, I would have been a millionaire as well.”
After Hair's death James set out on his own. He cruised the East coast of Florida selling paintings out of the back of his car to tourists for $35. James quickly developed a flair for sales.
“You know, you dress decent, that means a whole lot. And even if they say no, you still have a smile. They never forget it,” James said.
James often estimated that he created over 10,000 paintings in his career.
Vintage James Gibson Highwaymen paintings that date back to the 1960's, 1970's and 80s are highly sought after. His later paintings are also sought after and were normally painted on commission.
James'earliest paintings from the 1960's are easily identifyable. He often used monochromatic hues with very little detail. While certainly not fine art, Gibson's early paintings have that irresistable Highwaymen charm.
The older and mature James Gibson painted on commission and spent much more time on his paintings than he did when he was younger.