How It All Started
Silent James is my dream job. I'm based in beautiful San Francisco, and I travel around the world (or work virtually) creating live illustrations at events in front of thousands of people. Most illustrations are only seen when they are completed, and rarely are they seen in person. I have a direct relationship with my audience, and they get to see the entire life of the work. I also enjoy a much more hands on partnership with my clients as their creative sidekick. I'm their first and last point of contact, and I can personalize my approach to best suit their needs. I live a very rewarding life, and I'd like to share some more of my story with you.
An Early Live Illustrator
I was born in New York, and I discovered I had a talent for drawing at a young age. I grew up in a house on a dead end, and loved video games, cartoons, and pro wrestling. In school, I would live illustrate my notes in the same manner as I do in my career today (except I don't get scolded for it anymore). I also found I excelled in spelling, which comes in handy :)
Freelance Illustration as Silent James
In 2005, I became a freelance illustrator working under the name "Silent James". I spent a year illustrating for Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carrol's site "Ask E Jean". I was also doing editorial illustrations for newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and record labels. My work has always had a handmade feel, and asymmetry plays a big part in my life (right down to my own heterochromia).
Immersive Theatre Actor
In 2011, I took my character skills to the theatre and starred in Cynthia Von Buhler's immersive play "Speakeasy Dollhouse". Originally scheduled for just 3 nights, it ran for over 3 years with me as the barber John Guerrieri. This experience taught me many skills I use as a live illustrator: improvisation, interacting with crowds, and performing live in front of people.
First Live Illustration Events
Through Speakeasy, I was asked to live illustrate Amanda Palmer's record release party. This was the moment I knew being a live illustrator was what I was meant to be doing. I traveled throughout the space and created live drawings of all the performers and colorful guests. I needed to be able to draw very fast, as excitement was happening all around me! Then I was cast in a spin-off show to Speakeasy, as the role I was born to play... myself! I was a mime that created live illustrations throughout the show. I found I was very comfortable drawing in front of people, and decided to pursue it as I relocated to San Francisco :)
I published 2 children's books via Kickstarter, and in 2017 I published my illustrated memoir "Secrets of Silent James".
As seen on CBS Sunday Morning
Silent James Visual Notes
In 2017, I live illustrated for NY Times best selling author Caitlin Doughty at her conference Death Salon Seattle. It was featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and I couldn't think of a more fantastic start to my own company! I'm supporting conferences, meetings, weddings, trade shows, and receptions worldwide. Please consider me as your creative sidekick, and let's make a memory together!
That's my story, now let me live illustrate yours!