It was 1967 at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, when Jim Serbent became passionate about photography. The work of experienced Air Force photographers inspired a year of focused self-education. Later, in Kokura, Japan, 1968-70, he studied sumi-e, or traditional ink painting under the master Kinoshita, often taking flight in abstraction with his sensei's approval. Continuing with photography, the Zen influence began to alter his approach through experimentation with infrared and scientific film, color filters, matte box effects and multiple exposures — essentially achieving darkroom techniques inside the camera. Today, he continues to use and expand upon non-traditional methods through digital processes.
The late ‘70s and early ‘80s were musically defined by New Wave artists. Art/performance spaces, museums, galleries and MTV helped popularize video as an art form. Under the name CENTRAL CONTROL* Serbent's own video art pieces and a string of imaginative music videos followed. In 1982, Out of Dream, a music/art video was chosen by independent curator, Dana Friis-Hansen, to be featured in the Video-Music: New Correlations exhibition that toured art museums coast to coast. Beginning at The Whitney Museum of American Art and ending at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Out of Dream was also exhibited at many New York art/performance spaces as well as dance clubs: The Kitchen, Global Village, Danceteria, The Palladium, The Ritz, Mudd Club, and Washington, DC's 9:30 Club. These venues also displayed the music videos Message from Space, and Aging Rockers in the years that followed. The high-energy ambient video, Retinal Circus, was a commissioned work specifically designed for the projection screens and monitor banks of dance clubs. Remarkably, segments of it are still in use by video DJs.
By the mid-‘80s Jim's interest in video expanded professionally and commercially. After completing a degree program in communications at CUNY's Queens College and a series of video editing and TV studio operations courses, he worked his way up through numerous video production positions in the Washington, DC area. During the next decade and a half his career progressed from camera operator, audio engineer and graphic artist to video editor and producer/director of live satellite broadcasts and news, educational and corporate training videos. Time for art projects was limited. In 1987 he created commissioned special effects segments for the independent sci-fi film, Parasite. That was followed by TV-3, a solo show at Washington’s DC Arts Center. It was comprised of three forms of video art: the ambient Video Life Form Series, a multi-image projection installation, and an exhibit of twenty video-processed C-prints.
In 1992 Jim Serbent completed Bent Cross, a stream-of-consciousness reflection on the overwhelming influence of religion, government and culture. It was featured by the American Film Institute in its New Video Works Festival in Hollywood. Bent Cross went on to be shown at the Arlington Arts Center, curated by CGA's Photography Curator, Philip Brookman, and in 1993 as part of a traveling group show, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Armand Hammer Auditorium.
Following a thirty-five year career in broadcast video production, Jim is now concentrating mainly on digital printmaking and video art. The virtual galleries on this website exhibit his latest efforts many of which have been displayed on studio tours and in art spaces/galleries on east and west coasts.