Jim Self

Drawing from four decades as a choreographer and dancer, my paintings and works on paper capture the movement, energy and play of human and natural forces. My studio occupies the front rooms of an 1825 Greek Revival farmhouse in West Danby. The house has beautiful views of hills, fields, a nature preserve, and the Danby State Forest.




2575 W. Danby Rd. West Danby, NY 14883


My studio occupies the two front rooms of an 1825 Greek Revival farmhouse in West Danby, NY. The house is located on Route 34/96 in Southwestern Tompkins County between Ithaca and Spencer -- (ten miles south of Ithaca, and seven miles north of Spencer). The house is on the East side of the highway and the entrance to the house faces the road with a small front porch and three steps. There is a small driveway next to the garage in front of house with space for one or two cars. The property is on the corner of Walding Lane, directly next to the southern border of the Lindsay-Parsons Nature Preserve, and visitors can park on Walding Lane and walk down the path from my mailbox. One can also park on the grassy area directly in front of the house across Rte. 34/96. The highway can be busy, so take care crossing.


I have always worked in multi-media—movement, dance, performance, installation, painting, drawing and photo/printing.

When I first started dancing and painting in high school, the disciplines informed and influenced one another. This is still true, and lately my paintings and works on paper capture the movement, energy and playfulness I find in human and natural forces. I often have human or animal figure(s) dancing in a field of color and shape, and sometimes the field itself is creating movement and flow.

From 1972- 2014, I identified primarily as a choreographer/dancer. I was also conceiving, creating, and producing performance and installation events in collaboration with painters, scene and costume designers, film and video artists and other performers. Moving across disciplines and closely interacting with other artists on small, medium and large-scale productions has deeply influenced my visual style, aesthetics, and content. I am most aligned with the Trickster/Artist frame of reference, i.e., moving freely from one perspective/point of view to others, often testing boundaries and pushing the edges of cultural and physical limitations.

After 25 years of teaching dance at Cornell University (1989-2014), I now work in my studio in West Danby, NY. This 1825 Greek Revival farmhouse is surrounded by beautiful scenery in all directions.

In addition, I produce local dance events with the support of the New York State Dance Force, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Tompkins County venues and patrons.

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