James was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) in 1937, but has lived the last forty years in Missoula, Montana in the Northwest Rocky Mountains. He received his art education at the Chicago Art Institute and the University of Montana (UM) where he received his MFA in painting and printmaking in 1970. He taught in Western Germany between 1965 and 1968, and was a Professor of Humanities at UM from 1971-80, and a Professor of Art at UM from 1980-2000 when he retired. James has worked with many different styles and subjects although his social and political interests remain fairly consistent. As a professor, in addition to teaching printmaking and painting, he taught, wrote, and lectured on the social history of art, and as an artist, James was especially interested in the political tradition of wood cuts and wood engravings, and specialized in those media and acrylic painting.