On June 18, 1898, Jack Hamm saw the light of day for the very first time in St. Louis, Missouri. His father was an artistic professional employed by commerce while his mother functioned as the family’s homemaker. When Jack was merely five years old, his dad perished, leading to his mother’s passing when he had reached eleven. Grieving the loss of both parents, Jack and his two sibling were forced to look to their maternal grandparents for guidance and moral support in their day to day existence.
From a young age, Jimmy Hamm was captivated by cartoons and art. Determined to improve his craft, he enrolled in the St. Louis Art Academy’s classes and secured the guidance of Charles Francis Browne, a master illustrator and painter.
In the autumn of 1918, Hamm volunteered his services to the United States Army in the midst of WWI. Having seen active combat, Hamm followed his honorable discharge with a return to St. Louis and resumption of his studies at the Art Academy.
In 1922, Hamm aimed his sights on New York City in the pursuit of an artistic career. He earned a living as an illustrator for prominent magazines and newspapers, such as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, and Life.
In 1925, Hamm commenced his tenure with advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. There, he crafted graphic art for multiple patrons, among them General Motors, General Electric, and Kodak.
In the early 1930s, Hammer immersed himself in a slew of divine artwork. After months of preparation, he unveiled his first masterpiece, “The Ten Commandments”. Drawing upon Exodus, Moses was shown gracefully presenting the Ten Commandments inscribed on two slabs of stone on the peak of Mt. Sinai. It was an awe-inspiring portrait brought to life by Hammer’s masterful stroke.
Hamm’s artistry proved to be triumphant, resulting in an offering from the State of Illinois to paint a similar work. Eventually, “The Ten Commandments” painting was showcased in the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield in 1934.
During the ’30s, Hamm put brush to canvas to render a series of works inspired by Jesus Christ. His art featured various moments from Biblical texts, such as the Moment of Birth, Calvary, and the Miracle of Resurrection.
Hamm’s artwork gained immense popularity over the years, ultimately sparking requests for works from various churches and religious establishments. Moreover, in the 1940s, Hamm was honored with a nationwide tour dubbed “The Life of Christ in Art” – a display showcasing his notable paintings.
Progressing beyond his spiritual pieces, Hamm continued to cultivate his talent as an illustrator and painter for publications and advertising. As well, he authored multiple books for kids, featuring titles like “Drawing Made Easy” and “How to Draw Animals.”
After decades of dedication to his craft, Hamm reached the end of his artistic journey in the early 1960s. He peacefully passed away in St. Louis on August 26, 1964.
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