Artist Jim Hall had just endured three painful weeks of the shingles virus. Because he was a recovering alcoholic, Jim had refused pain medication and tried to tough it out. So when he awoke on a morning in 2000 and didn’t feel the debilitating pain, he let out a sigh and a smile - until he opened his eyes. The pain was gone but the bout with shingles had suddenly marred his vision, causing him to see the world in all vertical lines.
“It was like the skinny lines you used to see on an old television set,” Jim said. “I was afraid I was going blind.”
Doctors weren’t sure if the lines would go away or if they would be a permanent part of Jim’s vision. Instead of panicking, Jim started painting, inspired by the lines.
“I started to be intrigued about the lines as an artist,” Jim said. “I thought I’d try to paint the way I was seeing the world.” The pivot in his painting created a new art form he called “Lineillism.” As he started painting the lines, they faded from his vision. While his sight was restored, he continued to paint in that style, creating more than 100 Lineillism works.
Jim told his story to filmmakers Steve Oldfield and Jim Hampton, who have spent the past three years working on a documentary and traveling exhibition about Jim and his painting.
“Jim’s creation of Lineillism is an inspiring story,” Oldfield said. “And when you hear the rest of Jim’s personal struggles, you can’t believe one man was able to accomplish so much after being faced with so many challenges.”
Hall was born to tenant farmers in Kentucky during the great depression. After an accident ended his Naval career during basic training, he found himself homeless on the beach in Santa Monica, California. Jim also battled addiction and alcoholism but was able to launch a successful art career and become an executive at Procter & Gamble, while raising three children with his soulmate, Joan.
“Lines of Sight,” the award-winning hour-long version of their documentary, will be featured in a special screening at the Muskogee Art Guild, Tuesday April 24th, as part of the opening festivities of this year’s Bare Bones International Music and Film Festival.
For more information on the documentaries and traveling exhibit, check out www.LinesofSightDocumentary.com and www.LineillismRevealed.org