Jim Dine was born in Cincinnati Ohio (then a quiet river town), during 1939, of a middle class Jewish family. His father owned a paint and plumbing supply store, and his grandfather owned a hardware store. His mother was loving and his childhood memories are pleasant ones.
He took his first painting classes at the Cincinnati Art Academy, while in high school. He then went on to attend the University of Cincinnati, the school of the Boston Museum of Fine arts, and Ohio University where (in 1957) he received his BFA. Dine moved to New York City, in 1958 and immediately became involved in "Happenings" (although it should be noted Dine rejected this term, preferring "painter's theater"), performance art stagings with Claes Oldenburg, and Allan Kaprow. By early 1959, he was a principal member of the Judson Group (a group of artists which gathered regularly at the Judson Gallery) along with Tom Wesselmann, George Segal, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein.
In 1959 Dine experimented with Conceptual Art, he made his first prints and performance pieces, and combined paintings and objects. In Five Feet of Colorful Tools, Dine manipulated tools with a childlike aggression; he spray-painted and spilled paint over tools such as those from his grandfather's hardware store. A yellow canvas is the background, for a series of polychrome tools, with shadows of bright spay-paint. The Car Crash Series is a grouping of prints and performance art, which commemorates the death of his friend (he may have even been involved in this accident). White painted found objects adorned an enclosed space, Dine all silver with red lipstick scrawled anthropomorphic cars on a black board for approximately fifteen minutes. He broke the chalk, obsessively trying to communicate or explain, but only grunted (an example of his seeming inability to...