Jim Hansel, one of Minnesota’s premier wildlife, nature and landscape artists, is an artist with a twist. At the age of 12, Jim was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called Stargardt’s. This eye condition left him legally blind. At a young age, Jim began to demonstrate his artistic ability. Throughout his life, he never swayed from his childhood dream of becoming an artist. In spite of his limited vision, he pursued his passion for painting with the use of low vision devices and has become one of the most collected artists in the United States and Canada.
As a result of his partial loss of vision, Jim hopes to serve as an inspiration to the American spirit in overcoming his disability and pursuing his passion for art. With images in nature, wildlife and Americana, Jim shows versatility and love of his subject matter.
Jim’s ability to paint these images has not come without its challenges. Despite his visual limitations, knowing that the world we see is not always the world Jim sees, he has learned to create beautifully detailed images with the use of magnifiers and low-vision devices. As Jim paints the detail work of a painting, he is working only one or two inches away from the canvas. Yet, while he painstakingly adds these details, he has a clear mental picture of the final product.
As Jim puts on his glasses and begins his brush strokes, his paintings come into focus, if only a few square inches at a time. Each painting is a collective of these small areas, and a masterpiece of magnificent detailing, sometimes taking up to four months to complete a single painting. It is Jim’s desire that his artwork be judged on its own merit in spite of his visual impairment, and it is this determination and a commitment to excellence that has launched him into the national spotlight. Since the release of his first
image in 1987, Jim has produced nearly 200 limited edition prints, many of which have sold out due to his immense popularity as an artist. His reputation for detail as well as distinctive, colorful landscapes, have proven to be very popular with art collectors worldwide.
Jim has also received much recognition and numerous awards for his work. In recent years, he has been commissioned to produce numerous paintings which have been featured by Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and TIP (Turn in Poachers).
Jim resides in Chaska, Minnesota with his wife, Lois. Jim and Lois have two adult children, Joe (a meteorologist in South Bend Indiana), married to Alyse and daughter, Laura, an artist.