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The Artist Index home page
the artist index for Upstate South Carolina
jim creal

about the artist

art of the carolinasBorn and raised in Spartanburg, SC. Jim Creal studied philosophy at Washington and Lee University and received a BA in 1975. Five years later, he graduated with with a BA in Geology from the University of Montana.

During the 5 years between, he worked on a production line at a textile factory, as a mate on a dive boat in the Florida Keys, and briefly as a welder on a massive fossil fuel plant being constructed in the heartland of Nebraska.

In 1981 he was hired by Dresser Minerals Division of Dresser Industries and eventually ended up on a large exploration drilling program in the South Central Grampian Highlands where he was part of a discovery team that outlined a world class deposit of barite and lead, zinc and silver sulfides.

Looking for a new direction, he returned to the University of Montana, declared himself a major in the fine arts program. In 1992 he earned a BFA with a concentration in monotype printmaking. He returned to Spartanburg to set up his own studio and begin a his career as an artist.

about the work

"Lithography traditionally involves making a drawing on a limestone block from which you chemically process the image and print an edition. When I first started my study of lithography I fell in love with the rich drawing possibilities that this process offers. There is nothing like drawing on a grained limestone surface. It is possible to build rich tonal and textural passages as you work with different grades of lithographic drawing crayons and pencils. It can take many hours for the image to develop on the stone. After a time the image starts to take form or have a presence with which I can engage in a dialogue about its future development. This is when the fun begins. I have made several romantic barrier island forest images derived from our South Carolina coast.”

Creal says, "A monotype is a one of a kind print process. Ink is laid up on a plate and manipulated to make an image from which one good impression can be made. There are no editions with this process. In my monotypes I enjoy the fluidity and speed of the process and most often explore non representational works involved in the exploration of textures, movement and variations in light and dark. I work to create strong formal abstractions with elegant gestural movement."

jim creal jim creal jim creal art of the carolinas art of the carolinas art of the carolinas



Inking up a lithostone for the printing of an edition in
the 2010 Barrier Island Series

Lithography is a time consuming, technically demanding two hundred year old print process practiced by few artists today. Lithographic prints retain with fidelity all the nuances of an artist’s drawing made on the surface of rare Bavarian limestone blocks.Lithography is possible, simply put, because oil and water do not mix. The artist makes his drawing in reverse on the stone with oil based pencils.

The image, once finished, must go through several critically precise chemical processes to enable printing. These processes create two distinct surfaces on the stone. One is an oil loving surface where the oil based media was drawn and the other is a water loving surface in the non-image areas.


Printing the edition is an art-form in itself. It requires considerable skill and intense concentration. Each print in the edition is hand printed and considered an original work of art. In printing, the stone is wiped with a dampened sponge depositing a water film in the non-image areas. Then, a roller, charged with oil based lithographic ink, deposits ink only where the original media was drawn.

Paper is laid over the inked image and rolled under a special litho press transferring the image to paper. The printed impression, a mirror image of the original drawing is lifted off the stone to dry. The process is repeated for each print in the edition.


awards, grants, and experience



  • 2nd Place, Daufuskie Island: Palmetto Stage, lithograph, 1st Annual Juried Art in the Library Competition, Spartanburg County Library,
    juror: Dr. Will South, juror.

  • Susan B. Benjamin Memorial Purchase Award and Honorable Mention Award, Daufuskie Island: Palmetto Stage, lithograph, 33nd Annual Pickens Juried SC Artists Competition, Marcia Wood, juror.

  • Seth Schafer Heimlich Memorial Purchase Award and Juror's Choice Commendation, Pritchards Island: Mystic Wood, lithograph, 32nd Annual Pickens Juried SC Artists Competition, Frank Thompson, juror.

  • Merit Award, Pritchards Island: Forest Section, lithograph, 30th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists Guild, Jack Leigh, juror.

  • Selected for Art in the Air Billboard Competition, Geometry Lesson, monotype, Spartanburg/ Greenville

  • 1st Place, Professional Graphics Division, Vapors Rising, monotype, 35th Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Museum of Art, Pam Myer, juror.

  • Cultural Exchange and Exhibition, Winterthur, Switzerland, 2000, Spartanburg Artist Representative.

  • Best of Show Crystals Descending, monotype, 27th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists' Guild, Dr. Leo Twiggs, juror.

  • 1st Place, Professional Drawing Division, The Three of Diamonds, monotype, 1998 SC State Fair Juried Exhibition, Mary Douglas and Richard Gruber, jurors.

  • Best of Show/Burwell Purchase Award, Marking in the Grid, monotype, 31st Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Museum of Art, Kathleen Jardeen, Frank Thompson, and Toni Elkins, jurors.

  • Best of Show, Movement in Fibonacci Sequence, monotype, 24th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists' Guild, Maureen Garvin, juror.

  • 1st Place, professional graphics division, The Arousal of Desire, monotype, 30th Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Museum of Art, Guy Lipscomb, juror.

  • Merit Award, The Contemplation of Caravaggio, monotype, 23rd Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists' Guild, Jean McWhorter, juror.

  • Best in Show/Purchase Award, Spartanburg Gothic, monotype, 29th Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Art Association, Paul Martyka, juror.

  • Honorable Mention, Development of Form in Space, after Boccioni, monotype, 20th Annual National Juried Artists Exhibition, Shelby Art League, Shellie Williams, juror.

  • Fine Arts Merit Award, Spartanburg Gothic, monotype, 1994 SC State Fair Juried Exhibition, Harry Messersmith, juror.

  • Merit Award, The Cast of the Die, monotype, 19th Annual Anderson National Juried Exhibition, Katherine T. Carter, juror.

  • Best in Show, World Pulse, mixed media on paper, 1992 University of Montana Student Art Show, Larry Pirne,  Stephani Stephenson, and David Samuelson, jurors.


  • 2010 - SC Arts Commission, Artist’s Venture Initiative Grant, Establish Lithographic Print Facility in Creal’s Studio
  • 2006 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, New Work Development: Etching Processes
  • 2002 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Lithographic Collaboration w/ Rolling Stone Press
  • 2001 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Lithographic Landscape Study with Boyd Saunders
  • 1994 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Lithographic Training with Boyd Saunders
  • 1993 - Arts Council of Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Monotype Exhibition.


1993 - Present
Owner of Creal's Studio and Gallery,
Spartanburg, SC

Create original artwork, (ongoing), and represent outstanding SC artist/printmakers.

1995 - Present
Resident Artist/Teacher
South Carolina Arts Commission's Arts in Education Program

Taught printmaking processes in schools across the state.

2009 – 2012
Exhibits Coordinator and Preparator,
Spartanburg Art Museum

Coordinate exhibition activities and prepare exhibitions

1996 - 2000
Gallery Director
Milliken Art Gallery, Converse College

Created yearly exhibition schedules and coordinated all exhibition activities.

Minerals Exploration Geologist
Dresser Industries, Ireland and Scotland
Participated in the 1982 discovery of a world-class deposit of barite, lead, zinc and silver ores in central Scotland.


2013 - Art Fields 2013 Juried Exhibition, Lake City SC; Carolinas Got Art Juried Exhibition, Charlotte NC; 2013 S.C. Arts Gala, Columbia SC;  invitation to exhibit at 2013 South Carolina Biennial, Columbia SC

2012 - Jim Creal: Prints, Etheridge Center, USC Aiken, Aiken SC: “Shifting Plates: South Carolina Upstate Printmakers,” Metropolitan Arts Council, Greenville SC: Coastal Carolina University, Conway SC: Spartanburg Art Museum,

2008 - “Working Proofs,” Artist's Guild Gallery, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg, SC

2005 - “Contemporary Regional Printmakers,” Spartanburg County Museum of Art

2000 - Alte Kaserna, Winterthur, Switzerland.

1996 - “2 Printmakers: Doug Whittle and Jim Creal,” Presbyterian College, Clinton. SC • “Graphic Works,” Nina Liu and Friends Gallery, Charleston, SC

1995 - “Jim Creal Monoprints,” Tryon Fine Arts Center, Tryon, NC • “Running the Gamut,” The Arts Center, Spartanburg, SC

1994 - “Monochromatic Studies,” Nina Liu and Friends Gallery, Charleston, SC • “Visual Explorations,” Goodall Gallery, Columbia College, Columbia, SC, & Fluor Daniel Gallery, Greenville, SC

1993 - “Jim Creal and David James,” Sandor Tezler Library Gallery, Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC

other personal sites

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other professional activity


Creal studied lithography with Boyd Saunders, initiator of the print program at the University of South Carolina and co-founder of the Southern Graphics Council. I have also had the opportunity to work collaboratively with professional lithographer Wayne Kline of the Rolling Stone Press and receive training with professional lithographer Lynn Froelich.

In March 2010, I was one of two South Carolina artists to receive the new South Carolina Arts Commission's Artist's Venture Initiative Grant. With the support of the grant, patronage of the 2010 Barrier Island Series Collectors' Club and a commission from Wofford College I have set up my studio to produce original lithographic editions.

I continue to work on the creation of new work in a Barrier Island Series. Lithographic edition commissions are accepted.

other personal sites

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realism : barrier island series

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expressionism : monotypes
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