Jim Toia has cultivated his interest in mushrooms and the physical capture of their spores. His spore drawings are unique examples of his partnership with nature. Decades ago, he saw his first scientific spore print. In a controlled environment, a mycologist allows a mushroom to drop its spores for the purpose of scientific study. Toia’s spore drawings are deliberately executed under less controlled conditions. His manipulations combined with chance occurrences lead to surprising results and unworldly imagery. Only a few of his numerous attempts pass his rigorous standards of approval for his art.
Jim Toia’s process lures you into a world that is seamlessly flowing and alive, but in reality are mushroom spores lying dormant on prepared paper. It is a struggle with nature that often leads to failure. In an uncanny way, the beauty of the drawings becomes almost menacing, akin to tentacles that grab you from the page.