Self-taught artists visit Eureka Springs

By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting two very talented, yet very different artists who were showcasing their work in Eureka Springs.
James Dean is a self-taught artist who used to spend his days as an engineer for the state of Georgia. Eleven years ago, James began painting Pete the blue cat, and once he realized people would buy enough of Pete to pay the bills, James made the decision to hang up his engineer’s hat and began life as a full-time artist.

James Dean and plush Pete the Cat

Not only has Pete been spotted in a couple of books and numerous paintings, including a stint as Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, Pete has now been incarnated into a plushie.
When asked if he thought he was good, James replied, “I make people laugh. I know that emotion comes through my work.”
James’ work can be seen at Iris at the Basin Park in Eureka Springs or can be purchased online at
Doug Hall is another self-taught artist, but rather than whimsical blue cats, Doug paints eastern woodland Native Americans and does so extremely well. He has been passionate about Native Americans ever since he can remember, so it’s only natural they are his subject of choice.
When asked how he rates himself as an artist, Doug stated, “I can set up paintings in a show, and I watch people literally stop in their tracks and go, ‘Wow.’ And I know when I can do that with a painting, that’s the greatest feeling there is for a painter. If I could live on that, I would.”

Doug Hall

Doug has no plans to make plushies out of any of his subjects.
Doug’s work can be seen at 83 Spring Street Gallery in Eureka Springs or on his website,

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