In this country we are blessed with many talented wildlife artists. Jim Hansel is not only talented, but he has had to overcome special challenges to paint so beautifully.
The outside world that Jim Hansel sees is not the one we see. At an early age, Jim was diagnosed with an eye condition called Stargardts. This eye condition, which has stabilized, left Jim legally blind from an early age. Despite his disability, Jim has learned to overcome his visual limitations. Through the use of magnifiers and low vision aids, Jim brings his work into focus. Jim also relies on his camera to capture his ideas. Like many other artists, Jim uses photographs of his wildlife models to bring the landscapes he sees back to his studio. At this point, Jim will enlarge the images if it is necessary, for him to see them more clearly.
But snapping pictures is not the same as painting original oils. Amazingly, Hansels' brush stokes create detailed moments in nature that his eyes cannot clearly see. With the use of low vision aids, Jim's paintings are now in focus, but only a few square inches at a time. Hansel believes that due to his vision, he spends more time on a painting adding more detail than many other artists. He has spent as much as four months on one individual painting.
Jim has said that he wants his artwork to be judged on its own merit and not on the basis that he is an artist with a visual impairment. This determination has launched Hansel into the national spotlight. In just a few short years, Jim has released over seventy limited edition prints, many of which are sold out. His reputation for detail and his distinctive, colorful landscapes have proven to be very popular with art collectors across the country.
Reaching his level of popularity has not been achieved on his own. Jim's wife, Lois plays a major role in the success of their art business. Since their marriage in 1985, Lois has been in charge of the production of Jim's art prints. With a background in advertising and and print production, Lois oversees all the printing of Jim's artwork to ensure the highest quality possible. Lois and Jim also have two children, Joey and Laura, who share their lives.
Jim has also received much recognition and numerous awards. In 1992, Jim was commissioned by Ducks Unlimited to produce the Minnesota D.U. Print Of The Year. He has been a finalist in the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association print competition six times, and receiver the People's Choice Award in 1994. Hansel has been honored with many other awards to his credit, and he believes that hard work and persistence is why he has been successful.