Jim Wagner

Jim Wagner

Graduated from Los Gatos High School in 1959. The rumor is that when he graduated, he had more hours of detention  than there were hours remaining until graduation. He was born May 4, 1940 and lived to be 81.  He said he'd done everything he wanted to do in his life, for him every day became physically more difficult, he was ready to move on. Jim's parents were Bill and Maxine Wagner, a college professor and a middle school teacher.  He leaves two sisters, Amy Wagner (Will Sandford) and Ellen (Chuck Wear), two nephews, Jeffrey(Momoko) and Michael Wear(Margarita), and six great nieces and nephews. Jim's family moved from Bowling Green, Ohio to Monmouth, Oregon and finally to Los Gatos, California. His sisters can't remember a time when he wasn't painting, drawing, or creating art in some form, he always won blue ribbons at the County Fair in Oregon. The kindergarten teacher in Monmouth, a friend of the family, was a good friend of Agnes Martin, and that eventually, was the carrot that got Jim to Taos.  Jim lived in Taos for sixty years, where he plied his talent becoming a well known and  successful artist. His story is told in Jim Wagner, Taos, An American Artist, by Stephen Parks and there is a documentary titled "Jim Wagner, A Lot of Good Things", on YouTube  His work has been shown in galleries including Phillip Bareiss Fine Arts, The Harwood Museum, Trudy Knox's Rancho Milagro, and most recently, Jones Walker. Jim was a prolific artist, selling everything he produced, which number in the thousands. Paintings, sculptures, jewelry, furniture. After spending eight months in the State Penitentiary, where he learned wood working and furniture making, Jim started Muebles de Taos, a model program for first time offenders. Later he was pardoned by the governor. They built furniture which was in Bloomingdales and Macy's. His furniture can be found in the offices and homes of Joni Mitchell, Rick Springfield, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, to name a few. He was written up in the New York Times and had his work in galleries from Malibu to New York.   There is no medium that Jim didn't use for his art work. He designed silver jewelry, wood furniture, painted with his recognizable fish, birds, rabbits, flowers, geese, and angels. He  painted with oils, acrylics, pastels, and water colors, created pieces with clay, made mono prints and silk screens. So much of his work makes you smile, it lifts your spirits. His art is whimsical, it has a sense of humor and those of us who have some of his work, get to enjoy it every day. "Creating art should be fun" was one of Jim's credos and you can see that in his work. In 2013, Jim was honored to received the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. Jim was a passionate fly fisherman and a huge hearted friend to so many. Women were a large part of his life. He honored them in his art and curated shows for local women artists. Each of his two sisters were his "favorite sister". Jim was blessed to have Mary Shriver as his dearest, most loved companion, for the past 20 years. A memorial service is planned for Jim on June 19 at 11:00am at the Golden Willow Retreat. Arrangements by Rivera Family Funeral Home.  To share a memory, please visit our website at www.riverafuneralhome.com

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