During two interviews and visits to the gallery space, James Bachmann discussed his vision for the gallery and its grand opening from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Fifteen-year-old Idyllwild resident James Bachmann is preparing to open his own gallery on North Circle Drive. The gallery will showcase James’ paintings, as well as the art of other young artists. And James will helm the gallery as host and proprietor during the hours it is open. Asked why he is undertaking this venture at so young an age, given all he has been through, James said, “It’s my dream.”

There is a famous quote from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” that best informs James’ choice — “We are such things as dreams are made on.” Dreams are not, for those who act on them, ephemeral or frivolous. Dreams are the fundamental fabric of which remarkable individuals are made. And for a diminutive young man with a shy gaze and a merry glint in his eye, James has big dreams and outsized determination.

For the last seven years, James has faced serious health challenges that could sap the will of many adults. In 2011 while visiting family in Switzerland, James was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor in the region of the brain at the base of the skull. Surgery removed 80 percent of the first tumor.

He then had six months of chemotherapy, a bone-marrow transplant, followed by 30 days of radiation.

In 2012, doctors in California discovered a second tumor. James underwent a two-year trial of a new chemotherapy regimen. Throughout the progress and reverses, James and parents Tommy and Kristen Bachmann, owners of Tommy’s Kitchen in Idyllwild, have worked to support James’ dreams and together find hope and purpose.

Prior to moving from Orange County to Idyllwild in 2014, while James was undergoing treatment, he became interested in ventriloquism. For his “make a wish,” he got to meet famed comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham who inspired James to pursue his imagination and interests further.

After the family moved to Idyllwild, again during a period of treatments, James met Idyllwild artist Jerry Baccaire, who became a mentor in the arts, launching James into painting.

For James more than many, his dreams have become his art. And his art has sustained and motivated him to remain unflappable and committed to his ventures, no matter the obstacles.

When you enter “Young Art of Idyllwild, an art gallery for kids run by a kid,” you may find James at his drawing table, situated so that he can see all who come in his door. On the right wall are paintings and art by those featured this month — James, Haley Neu and Madison Hawkins.

James is billed as a multimedia painter — acrylics, watercolors, pastels and digital art. Neu, 18, is an Idyllwild Arts Academy graduate and will be featured with pencil drawings, acrylic paintings and human-figure studies.

Finally, Hawkins,17, will showcase pencil drawings and sketches.

James’ mother Kristen said two young artists from Orange County also will be featured, one a sketch artist and the other decorates pens. Both also have faced medical issues.

James is excited that his father will be catering the gallery opening and that there will be live music. All art is for sale. Sixty percent goes to the artist, 30 percent to the house and 10 percent to Megan’s Wings, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit assisting families across Southern California through the Children’s Hospitals and Cancer Centers.

Young Art of Idyllwild has its grand opening and open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. The gallery will subsequently be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday to Sunday. It is located just up from Tommy’s Kitchen.

Asked if anyone would be assisting him doing gallery hours, James said, “No, it will be just me.”

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