James D. Autio

Visual Artist / Poet / Teacher

James D. Autio began as a painter and explored numerous other media before turning primarily to poetry. His literary work was strongly influenced by his experience and perspective as a visual artist. Later, he returned to visual art without giving up his daily writing routine. The newer visual work has been influenced by Autio’s approach to writing poetry: playing with words and ideas, juxtaposing abstract imagery, and allowing the reader (or viewer) to apply her/his own meaning to a work. 


James paints and creates in digital media, but the charcoal drawings have been an attempt to loosen up his approach to creating art. His frequent use of Cub Foods bags has been based on needing to work larger while avoiding the inclination to feel that every little mark must be precious and perfect. They’re big. They’re messy. His use of reclaimed grocery bags for making art also has ties to the Native American tradition of drawing and painting on ledger paper. James uses what is available and what works for his art, and in doing so he makes the folds, imperfections and peculiarities of the work surface an integral part of the finished drawing. 

James D. Autio is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.