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James Croft has enjoyed art and politics since he was a kid. He's created several types of portraits of Jacksonville mayors as a way to merge those interests. In addition to having a master's of public administration from the University of North Flori...
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Apr. 16, 201412:00 PM EST

Workspace: James Croft mixes love of politics and art

by: Marilyn Young

James Croft’s job is politics. His hobby is art.

Together, the two play out on paper, linoleum and wood in Croft’s “studio” — the one-car garage of his family’s Westside town home.

Croft grew up in Jacksonville politics, including having a father who has been secretary-treasurer of the firefighters’ union since 1989.

His daughter, Madeleine, is named after former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

And he works as a public communications officer for Mayor Alvin Brown, his first job after graduating from the University of North Florida with a master’s in public administration.

Croft, 26, also grew up loving art, “always running around with a sketch book.”

His grandmother is a talented artist, especially when it comes to oil painting.

And he attended Florida State College at Jacksonville for two years on an art scholarship.

The garage includes creations from Croft’s days at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts through his current work — a series of portraits of Jacksonville mayors.

He has stenciled all of the post-consolidation mayors.

He has painted several of them on wood.

And he has a printmaking portrait of Hans Tanzler.

Croft enjoys the printmaking process, saying it’s “kind of meditative” and “like making a stamp.”

He and his wife, Rebecka, are the parents of two young children — Madeleine has a 20-month-old brother, Jonas, named after a Weezer song.

His family and job keep him busy but Croft likes keeping art as a hobby. It’s also something he can share with his daughter.

Young Madeleine is 6 years old and pretty as a picture. Like her father did when he was younger, she loves to tote around a pad so she can draw when the feeling hits her.

She’s also an expert at coloring, as is evident when she points out her Tinker Bell masterpiece that shares space on the wall in the garage.

It might be the most precious piece of art there.

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