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James J. Lloyd

It is only in retrospect that we can see how James Lloyd’s boyhood interests provided an enduring platform for his life’s vocation as a sculptor. Dazzled from an early age by the beauty and diversity of the natural world, the young James played biologist, paleontologist, and chemist in a basement laboratory that was the venue for his fascinated exploration of natural forms, structures, and their interactions. Although a naturally gifted artist, it never occurred to him to make any of the arts his vocation.

In his senior year of high school, however, an elective class in oil painting, taught by a remarkable art instructor, was to dramatically change the direction of his life. Arguing that all of his passions and interests could best be expressed through the arts, this extraordinary teacher, Rose Rosen, cajoled Lloyd into applying to America's oldest art school and museum, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Accepted in 1962, Lloyd majored in painting for four years, while minoring in sculpture. In his fifth year, however, he chose sculpture as his major and never looked back. In 1968, after studying drawing with Neil Welliver at the University of Pennsylvania, Lloyd finished his academic course work and graduated with a BFA from the university's Graduate School of Fine Arts. By 1970 Lloyd was working full time in the studio as a sculptor.

In 1973, James commenced work on his first public sculpture commission, for the University Science Center, Philadelphia, and also began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania's undergraduate Department of Architecture. Over the next three decades Lloyd would teach and lecture on sculpture at various professional art centers and art schools, including his old alma mater, The Pennsylvania Academy. During this period he continued to receive commissions, entered into juried competitions, and exhibited in one-person and group shows.

In musing about his influences, Lloyd says’, “I look at everything, whether it be created by nature or made by man. It is true that nature has been the greatest influence, and teacher in my form-making issues. But how can I fail to acknowledge and bow down to the vast and great traditions of art in all cultures,-east, west, ancient, indigenous, and the modern era as well. I see sculpture everywhere. The humblest seed, the tiny tooth of a shrew, the human figure, the polygonal stone works of the Incas, great natural stone arches, the monumental floating icebergs of the Artic--all of these spark my hands to create. All is useful, all is beautiful.”

Perhaps Lloyd’s most unusual and challenging commission was for the altar for the Hospice Chapel at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, in Angola, Louisiana. Completed in 2000, “Reliquary For A Chosen Spirit”. Composed of steel rebar, slate, clear acrylic lenses, 24k gold plating, halogen, and ultraviolet and laser lighting) celebrates, by metaphor of structural form, the triumph of love and redemption in the shadows of incarceration and death. Although rarely ever seen by the public, Lloyd believes this reliquary sculpture has the ability to heal and transform human life. His time working with and for the inmates on location at Angola was a deeply moving experience that continues to echo in both his personal life and art.

For most of his adult life, Lloyd has been a student of the teachings of the contemporary spiritual master, Adi Da Samraj. To enjoy closer proximity to Adi Da’s Mountain of Attention Hermitage Sanctuary, in May, 2005, Lloyd closed out his life in Pennsylvania by mounting a major retrospective of 51 sculptures and commissioned models at the Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania, resigning from teaching positions at three institutions, packing up 40 years of equipment (including some 26,000 pounds of sculptures, molds, materials and machinery), and relocating to Northern California.

In his new California studio, Lloyd uses the uncommon language of form to create sculptures resonant with the mystery of transcendental beauty. Whether generated solely out of his own vision, or developed in consultation with private clients or architects, Lloyd always works to draw the viewer into a visceral, transformative, multidimensional dialogue with sculptural form. He comments;, “We are here for such a short time. It is my hope to leave some markings in the spirit of the beautiful. My sculptures can be small enough to fit perfectly in a human hand or large enough to pass through onto the way to the temple or city square. This present world culture needs Art that harkens to the Heart that speaks universally without words, that is unencumbered by ownership. My work and life's journey is to resonate with enlightened form and offer it up to all.”