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Jim Nedelak grew up in Richmond, British Columbia, where he constantly drew images of sports figures and First Nations peoples. His passion for creative expression with pencil, ink and charcoal arrived early in his life and has endured and blossomed.
Although his enthusiasm for drawing would never abate, marriage, becoming a professional firefighter, fatherhood, and all of the accompanying obligations of career and family took precedence over art for almost 27 years.
Jim’s interest as an artist was reawakened when he went to New York City in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks to attend memorial services for fallen comrades. Experiencing firsthand the horror and tragedy of the event struck an emotional chord, inspiring him to express on paper his profound sense of loss.
The result was a dramatic and touching depiction of a firefighter, slumped, weary and sadly clutching the helmet of a missing comrade, with the wreckage of the World Trade Centre looming in the smoky background. The picture was drawn in black and white to capture the darkness and devastation of that day, and the flag is in color to show respect, patriotism, and to symbolize hope. The drawing was put to print. One print was donated to each firehouse in New York City and the remainder of the edition sold out quickly, with all proceeds donated to various charities. For his efforts, Jim was named “Fire Fighter of the Year” for 2002 by the Vancouver Junior Board of Trade/Jaycee’s at their 23rd Annual Awards of Excellence.
Retired as a Captain in the Vancouver Fire Department, Jim has ardently returned to the drawing table. Charcoal being his preferred medium, Jim portrays his love of the Western lifestyle with his commitment to fine detail, complemented by dramatic effects in his shadows and textures. Jim indeed captures the spirit of the “Vanishing West”.