Jim Harter was largely self-taught as an artist. From 1969-72 he played a small part in creating posters for Austin’s legendary rock venues, the Vulcan Gas Company and Armadillo World Headquarters. Influenced by San Francisco collage artist Wilfried Satty, Harter turned to making surrealist collages from 19th century engravings. In 1976 he moved to New York, becoming a freelance illustrator, and editor of clip-art books for Dover, and later for other publications. In 1984, he began painting using an old-master technique. This work was influenced by his earlier collages, but also owed something to Symbolism, Surrealism, Fantastic Realism, and an exposure to Eastern Philosophy.
A quote from his statement: “Generally speaking, my images are an attempt to tap into an archetypal reality, one that to my mind seems both timeless and deeply human. Thus I feel less like I am part of some modern trend but rather I am one following a well-trodden and ancient path, a path known not only to artists, but poets and others who have tried to express what is ultimately mysterious and ineffable.”