Jim Hart: Mad Scientist or Artist? You decide..

Jim Hart, the artist!
Jimbo is lifetime resident of New Orleans and has lived the majority of his life within short walking distance of City Park. Through his daily runs and walks in the park he has gained an intimate knowledge of it’s beauty, serenity, personality and many moods. Jim has touched a variety of individuals in many completely different ways. His life and career is a journey of inspirations stretching from the shores of Bali to the relics of Atomic City, Idaho and from the depths of the planets’ oceans to the mountains of Nepal

His love of the ocean and its fragile ecosystems directed his life for much of his first four decades. After graduating from LSU in 1972, he worked in Europe for two years and then hitched hiked around the world for another two years. Spending time in the hills of Afghanistan, exploring India and sailing the waters of Borneo and Bali remain his most spiritual memories.  During these travels, Jim developed his creative ideals and honed his photographic skills. His experiences with various ‘primitive’ cultures of the world taught him the universal language of humor and the irony of modern ‘civilization’ as an ideal to explore in his creative life.

In 1975 he worked on ‘theatrical lighting’ for “Manfred Mann’s Earth Band” tour in Europe. In 1987 he was granted a U.S. Patent for an Electronic Underwater Communication Device, which he developed with an engineer friend, Peter Debogory. The device is still being used in submarine communications. In 1996, in cooperation with John Hewitt of the Aquarium of the Americas, Gary Addkison of Walkers Cay, Marine Park and Wes Pratt with the National Marine Fisheries Service, Jimbo developed the first submarine electronic tagging device and protocols for tagging migratory sharks with passive injectable transponders. 

Jim Hart, the artist!
Jim’s early experiences with electromagnetic radiofrequency transponders, technical electronic devices and even submarine sonic waves all contributed to his expertise and fascination with lights, electronic technology and special effects.

During this time, he also created volunteer programs, founded national organizations and developed educational materials for Public Aquariums while founding a National Diving Research organization. As Executive Director of Oceanographic Expeditions, he led research expeditions all over the planet to study sharks, coral reproduction and lobster conservation methods. During these same years, Jim designed and built over 100 homes and buildings. As a general contractor, his work won awards for his innovative use of materials and the integration of sunlight, plants, creative lighting and natural space into the design. 

Jim created his first ‘Mini Thermonuclear Reactor” from an old floor furnace in 1988 as a statement of his disdain for the unreasonable electric bills from the local electric company. With his usual sense of humor, he would explain that he was ‘off the grid’ and using the assemblage of plasma lights, radio tubes, neon crackle tubes, digital clocks and strobes to generate power for his home.

The exotic, electronic light show that poked fun at our modern power systems struck a cord with visitors and he began building ‘mini thermonuclear reactors’ professionally as an art form for clients around Southern Louisiana in 1990.

Over the next 15 years, Jimbo created custom atomic art around client’s components or for incorporation into unique home designs. He learned neon glass blowing techniques and studied nuclear fusion and thermonuclear dynamics. He investigated florescent materials, exotic glasses and electrical special effects.

Today, Jim works out of his Central City studio in New Orleans creating atomic TV’s, mini thermonuclear reactors and custom nuclear devices for clients around the world. He still scuba dives and works with The DiveHeart Foundation, helping disabled Veterans and physically challenged people enjoy the freedom and beauty of the planet’s oceans.

He just returned from Tanzania where he used his creative photographic skills to document underwater life for The Chole National Marine Park. His photographs have been featured in Scuba Times and Skin Diver Magazine, and more recently in the Washington Post newspaper.

Jim has spent several hours in City Park each week for the past fifty years, walking, running, biking, roller blading and writing in his journal. “City Park has become intrinsic to my heart, and spirit, and I look forward to playing a part in it’s future.”

Jim donated the materials and labor for his latest installation “The Singing Oak”. To learn more about Jim's outdoor artistry and art installations, please visit An inscription on the project reads: “Let the wind bring peace to your soul, a smile to your lips and a song to your heart.”

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