Welcome!

Hi!

I’m a multidisciplinary artist from Baltimore, Maryland. I make tiny dioramas with paper, wood and ink drawings. I also publish several Web comics and I do stop-motion animation.

I have a B.A. in music composition from Washington College, a certificate in computer programming, and a graduate certificate in information technology from Johns Hopkins University. I’ve been teaching Web design and WordPress at the Community College of Baltimore County and MICA since 2006.

My work has been exhibited across the USA, in Europe and in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. My art has been featured on many websites, including This is Colossal, Beautiful Decay and The Order of the Good Death.

My art is for sale, my services for hire, and I do commissions. Write to me at jim.doran@gmail.com.

Artist Statement

I make art because it brings me joy to make art.

In the late 1990’s, I worked at a geriatric hospital/nursing home as an Expressive Therapist. I made pottery with people, facilitated drum circles in various adult populations and I taught patients on the ventilator unit to meditate. I learned that music and art are very healing, and that, in my case, meditation enhances intuition.

My experiences in working at the nursing home taught me that our story doesn’t end when we die. The Dead can talk to us, and we to them. A lot of my work focuses on what happens after we die, and while it’s comforting to be able to communicate with those on the other side, we still miss their physical presence in our lives. My work is a tonic for that grief.

I do not believe our job in this world is to be miserable. I believe we are here to wake up and become present, and to learn to live in harmony with each other and the planet. We are here to experience love and joy it all its forms – Joie de Vivre. 

Dioramas, Comics and Animation

My first recollection of drawing was with my father when I was five years old. We sat at our kitchen table drawing a detective dressed as Myotis Septentrionalis. I became quite hooked on comic books as a young boy, an affliction from which I never recovered.

I like the idea of taking an idea, which is a thought, and putting it inside on object – making the intangible real.  I’m very interested in depth of field, shadows, and working on a very small scale. One of the first sculptures I made was a 12′ tall circus peanut for a public exhibition in downtown Baltimore. After the exhibit was over, I learned an artist has to store the work they create, and working small suddenly seemed appealing.

Each diorama is a scene from a larger story. Every container is a panel in an ongoing comic. Since 2011, I’ve made hundreds of dioramas in tins, cigar boxes, plastic packaging, spoons, shoes, cameras, bottles, watches and clocks. I’m also interested in animating some of my scenes, and I’ve been developing a process for stop motion animation on a multi-plane camera stand over the past several years.

Four Horsemen in iPod shuffle caseSkeleton greeting dog in a pocket watch Paper fish in sardine tin Death Salon Film Award


Diorama in wrist watchDiorama in tiny plastic boxPaper Skeletons DancingPaper Bird Skeleton


A ghoul selling a coffin to gracklesAltoid tin with house on stilts over the seaTiny sitting room in Altroids Smalls tinGiant Circus Peanut


Tiny paper cut-out fishwifeCuttlefish in SpoonTiny paper tree in a spoonJellyfish in a spoon

This is a tiny fraction of my work, most of which has been chronicled on my blog, which began in 2007.

Selected Exhibits & Such

2017

  • The Great Mystery Show, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
  • What May Be, Tectonic Space, Baltimore, MD
  • Alchemical Vessels, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington D.C.
  • Repurposed on Purpose, Fleckenstein Gallery, Baltimore, MD
  • The Great Mystery Show, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

2016

  • Jordan Faye Contemporary Uniting Diverse Artists | Benefit for The Midtown Academy, Baltimore, MD
  • DIORAMA-RAMA DEUX, Baltimore, MD
  • Alchemical Vessels, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington D.C.
  • Shape, Line, Color: St. Paul School, Baltimore, MD
  • Life Soundtrack: Prince and Bowie, A visual response to musical loss. Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington D.C.

2015

  • At Home Group Exhibition, The Park School, Baltimore MD
  • Diorama-rama, Baltimore, MD
  • LED Ekphrasis Exhibit, Baltimore, MD
  • Ebb & Flow, ArtScape Baltimore, MD
  • Points of Departure, New Mexico State University, NM
  • Death Salon, Mütter Museum, PA
  • Jordan Faye Contemporary Small Wonders Exhibition,  Baltimore, MD

2014

  • “Great Villians of Gotham” & “FROM SPAWN TO SAGA: Image Comics at 22,” One-Shot Gallery at St. Mark’s Comics, NYC Spring/Summer
  • Winter Group Art Exhibit, Jacksonville, MD
  • The Happening, NYC
  • Jordan Faye Contemporary Small Wonders & Spectaculars Baltimore, MD

2013

  • Johns Hopkins National Arts Program
  • Sweet ‘Art, Area 405 Baltimore, MD
  • artMRKT, San Francisco, CA
  • From the Outside at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington D.C.
  • THE HAPPENING, Skylight Gallery, New York City, August
  • Dia de Los Muertos, Milagro, Baltimore, MD
  • Sketchbook, School33, Baltimore, MD
  • Scope, Miami Beach, FL

2012

  • Johns Hopkins National Arts Program (honorable mention) Baltimore, MD
  • Lotta Art, School33 Baltimore, MD
  • G40 Group Exhibition at ArtWino Richmond, VA
  • ArtScape RE:Purpose Exhibition Catonsville, MD
  • Heliumcowboy Presents: George Hearts Maria Hamburg, Germany
  • Memento Mori (solo show) School 33 Art Center Baltimore, Maryland
  • Storytelling: Lies, Enchantment, Humor, Truth. The American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
  • Jordan Faye Contemporary Small Wonders & Spectaculars Baltimore, MD

2011

  • Lotta Art Exhibition, School33 Baltimore, MD

2010

  • ArtScape Here, There, Anywhere Baltimore, MD
  • ArtScape Comic Wall, Baltimore, MD
  • ArtScape Banner Exhibition, Baltimore, MD
  • Baltimore Book Festival, Baltimore, MD
  • Illustration Friday Pick of the Week (Layer)
  • Videopolis, Maryland Film Festival Metro Gallery Baltimore, MD

2009

  • PENNED Ellipse Arts Center, Arlington, VA
  • Illustration Friday “Pick of the Week” Shaky
  • Johns Hopkins National Arts Program Baltimore, MD (first place)

2008

  • ArtScape Penned Exhibition Baltimore, MD
  • PENNED Lump Gallery/Projects, Raleigh, NC
  • Artful Blogging Magazine
  • Johns Hopkins National Arts Program Baltimore, MD

Grants and Selected Commissions

  • Wrigley/Altoids Corporation – “Curiously Strong” Hall of Curiosity commission for charity auction, 2011
  • Maryland State Arts Council Artist Grant, Works on Paper, 2013