Jim leon, the son of Albert Samuel and of Marjorie Ellen Sadler
was born in Wolverhampton ( Great Britain) on the12th of
November 1938, and was the eldest of 13 children.

He was brought up in a working class district of Birmingham and his
early boyhood was marked by the intensive German bombings over that area
where there were a lot of factories and railways. His playing grounds
were the brick houses devastated by the bombs and he soon got fascinated
by the quick growth of vegetation hiding the ruins.

These pictures are the main subject of his paintings of the late.
He could read at a very early age. People around him were amazed by his aptitude for drawing, and by the age of five he was considered an “ artist” by the entire neighbourhood. After primary school he entered
Handsworth Grammar School.


He passed the exam for the ‘Birmingham Fine Arts College’,
from which he was expelled for bad behaviour in 1957.

He then spent many hours in the town pubs, where he enjoyed
happy conversations over many a good pint mixing with a
cross-section of people. This attraction for pubs and later for bistrots lyonnais would set the pattern for the rest of his life.


He got married to a girl from Lyon and they subsequently had
three children: Renaud, Anna, who died in 1960, and Meg.

He settled with his family in Lyon, in September 1960 , and immediately met many of the local painters, and found a job as a fabric designer.


From 1961 to 1970 he lived in Lyon and exhibited his paintings in several exhibitions, collectively or personally. He soon became a very active participant in the artistic life. At the same time he

designed posters for the productions of the “ Théâtre du 8e” in Lyon including :
- the “Tragédie du roi Christophe” written by Aimé Césaire and directed by Jean-Marie Serreau, - “ la Poupée” of Audiberti,- “Dom Juan” of Molière,- “La Mort de Danton” of Bruckner, and “ la Moschetta” of Ruzzante all directed by Marcel Maréchal.


The Fine Arts Museum of Lyon bought his painting called The Day Before, ‘The Day Before’. He realised creations for the textile studio
of Raoul Bruckert in Lyon and took part, also, in designing costumes and theatre sets. .


Jim, then, had an extremely creative period between 1964 &1969,
when he exhibited in Lyon, Paris, Brussels, Delhi, Bombay, Cyprus and so

During the strikes of May 1968, he gave a painting, called “ La Révolte des canuts” ( silk workers revolt-1831), he had painted in 1964, to be auctioned for the workers on strike.


During a stay in London he met Rick Wright, leader of the “Pink Floyd”, and coming back to Lyon he initiated their first concert in France , for which he designed the poster, on the 16th November 1968, at the “Théâtre du 8ème”, encouraging other groups to come, such as the “Rolling Stones”.


On his first trip to California he collaborated with the “ Berkeley Barb”. He took part in the creation of “ People's Park” in Berkeley.

After reading the works of Krafft-Ebing he produced and exhibited a series of sketches(Psychopathia Sexualis) at the gallery “ Le Lutrin” he had realised in 1967.

He designed the models for the sets and costumes of “ La Mise en pièces du Cid” at the “ Théatre de la Cité” in Villeurbanne, for Roger Planchon, which was subsequently shown in Paris in the Gaston Baty theatre, at the end of the same year.


Jacques Demy asked him to design the sets for his film” Peau d'Ane” and he also designed the poster. In October he and his wife Monique decided to separate and Jim, the, chose to settle in London where he stayed till 1973.

He produced a lot of illustrations for magazines such as ‘International Times’, Oz , The Savoy, ‘ Rolling Stones’ etc…
He participated in a conference devoted to the works of William Blake at the Institute of Modern Art in London.

At this time he frequently commuted between London and Lyon.

He designed the sets and costumes for the ballet “ La Symphonie fantastique” of Berlioz, directed by Vittorio Biaggi produced for the
Lyon’s Opera.

1973 On the 1st of May ,under the influence of LSD he had a mystical experience which changed his vision and affected his artistic expression.
1974 Back to the United States he taught at the Pensylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphy and later went to San Francisco..

From 1975 onward he worked mainly in Lyon with occasional visits to London. He designed the sets and costumes for “ Homme pour Homme” of Brecht, directed by Bruno Carlucci, for the theatre de l’Est Lyonnais.

1977 He designed the sets and costumes for “ Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” under the direction of Marcel Maréchal at the “Théatre de la Criée” in Marseille, directed by Bernard Ballet.
1980 At the beginning of the eighties he designed posters for the
organiser of “ Headquarters Concerts” and collaborated with the rock
music magazine “Brumbeat”.

In spite of personal problems, mainly due to alcohol dependence, he kept working and exhibited his works, designing murals or taking part in many a cultural manifestation.


He gave a lecture to the students of the Fine Arts School of Lyon and
from 1993 to 1998 he joined the school “ Objectif Formation” in
Vaulx-en-Velin where he taught Art.


Following an operation for jaw cancer he had to undergo frequent
hospitalization. He died on the 14th of January and according to his
wishes his ashes were scattered in the garden of Saint Peter’s Church in the Harborne district of Birmingham.

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