Jim Neal

Writer and Artist in New York, NY

We're all the sum of many identities- and my principal identity is that of homosexual (the other). After decades of activism- organizing, protesting, politicking and writing- I recently turned to painting as another means of self-expression.

My art tends to weaponize the male form and my own self-imagery to render the complex emotions triggered by negotiating identity in a world that vacillates between toleration of and contempt for otherness. By recasting the otherwise charged symbolism of the erotic male form, I put forth a challenge to normative constructions of masculinity, beauty and morality -- coaxing the viewer to play a role in this dynamic of otherness.

I am a native of North Carolina and live in Brooklyn with my partner Dylan. I am the father of two adult sons and I love telling stories. After graduating from Chapel Hill and the University of Chicago I worked as an investment banker, CEO of several start-up companies, producer of the play “Jeffrey” at the Westwood [Geffen] Playhouse, and head of a film and TV production services company in the West Village. In 2008 I became the second openly-gay person in US history to run for the US Senate (D-NC).

In 2019 I completed a compilation of 50 portraits in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. In 2022 my work was featured in expositions of outdoor art in Montpellier and Paris, as well the exhibition Transforming Minds at the East Village Art Collective in New York.

I have been a contributing writer on equality and justice issues to a host of publications, and a lecturer on contemporary US politics as an adjunct professor- focusing on the corrosive influence of money in politics. News outlets CNBC, NPR, NBC, ABC, FOX, Channel One (Britain) and ORF (Austria) have featured me as a guest.

  • Education
    • The University of Chicago
    • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill