James expressed an interest in art at an early age and was encouraged by his mother to draw and paint. He began formal lessons in New Jersey at the age of ten. His family moved to California in 1968, where he continued his art education attending Foothill College and completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art at the University of California, Davis. A number of people have contributed to James' artistic training including Roland Peterson, Michael Henderson and Richard Gauze. His work has been exhibited in galleries and shows in the Bay area, southern Oregon and now northern Oregon .James resides in Mulino, Oregon with his wife Tricia and the youngest of their three children.