Local artist’s portrait series highlights the people of Route 66

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A local artist is using his talents to highlight the people on Route 66 in a unique way.

What started out as an invitation to do an art show at the 806 Coffee Shop in Amarillo five years ago quickly turned into something much more for local artist Jim Livingston.

Something that would connect him with hundreds and even thousands of people on Route 66.

“The 806 is such an eclectic group of customers and so I did black and white portraits. The first thing I realized with the black and white portraits, trying to show how eclectic those customers of the 806 were, was there wasn’t anything connecting that person looking at the portrait,” said Livingston.

Livingston came up with three questions for them: I am, I regret, and before I die.

The idea took off.

“Thought it was a one-time deal, thought it was going to be over and 11 months later I had 600 portraits,” said Livingston.

It did not stop there. Just last year, Livingston decided to broaden the scope from the people of the panhandle to those all along Route 66.

“We traveled back and forth, up and down Route 66 about seven times. We literally did 25,000 miles on a highway that’s 2,400 miles long. We captured 1,500 portraits,” said Livingston.

It connected Livingston to people all across the globe, turning strangers to friends.

“I’ve met people from the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Poland, Scotland. The wonderful thing about social media and Facebook is you can talk to anybody at any time. It’s just been amazing how it opened up the world and just brought a bunch of wonderful, wonderful friends into my life that I never expected,” said Livingston.

Livingston said he is currently working on incorporating the portraits and thousands of other pictures into a book but COVID-19 has slowed that process down.

He hopes to have the book completed and released next year or in 2022.

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