After receiving a BFA degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1957 and doing a two year army tour of duty in Germany, I moved to New York in 1960. I consider this the beginning of my professional life as an artist.

Initially I worked in the display department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This gave me a good tie to the city and a very in-depth contact with the museum collection. The drawings I began doing of details of column capitals, pottery designs, tapestries, etc. became the basis of the paintings I did for the next five or six years. I wanted these rendered fragments to trigger associations, adding other levels and ways to "read" my paintings, which were primarily abstractions.

In 1967 I was offered a graduate teaching assistantship at Cornell University. I taught there for two years, painted, made lithographs based on my painting ideas, and received an MFA degree in 1969.

Back in New York, I continued painting and teaching at schools and universities in the New York area. Technically, I moved from incorporating rendered fragments in my paintings to using photographic silk screen. I used this printing technique also in the collages I began doing and which became the main focus of my work

In 1976 I was offered a one year teaching job at San Francisco State University, which gave familiarity with the west coast and its art scene. Over the next twelve years I made three year long working trips to California. I found myself getting more energy and inspiration in that environment, and decided to relocate. I moved to Los Angeles in 1991.

Partly motivated by some wooden pieces I'd experimented with in the late 1980's, and by a desire to try a new material in my new environment, I began doing wood constructions, wall reliefs and free standing sculptures. This work, and my continuing interest in collage, has been my main focus since relocating.

James Zver
Los Angeles, California