Artist welcomes passersby into his Palm Beach studio

Nestled inside the lobby of the Palm Beach Hotel Condominium is the art studio of Palm Beach resident James Wilner.

Paintings wrap around the studio’s walls, inviting passersby to meet the gaze of the figures born out of the mind of the architect-turned-painter. Some, like “Choir Practice,” manipulate the human form into otherworldly beings. Others, such as his painting of late fashion designer and resident Iris Apfel, resemble their subject with striking detail.

These paintings are part of Wilner’s goal to create a “21st century approach to figure drawing,” he told the Daily News.

Wilner said the studio — a former hair salon — that he purchased in 2018 is likely the island’s last remaining street-accessible art studio.

James Wilner, seen in his studio on Feb. 21, says he tries a new approach with every piece he creates, saying, "if you get locked into a particular style, you don't grow. You have to take risk and make mistakes, because that's how you grow."

“I’m probably the only practicing artist in Palm Beach that is visible and accessible. I don’t know of any others,” Wilner said. “There used to be more … when I would come down with my parents back in the 1950s and ’60s, there were a couple of artists who had studios on Royal Poinciana Way. None of them are around anymore.”