James was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1960. He is the recipient of numerous awards, grants and fellowships and has been awarded residencies in the US, Canada and Europe. His work is included in the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Portland Museum of Art, Maine; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Oakland Museum of California; Royal Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp, Belgium; among other national and international museums. A solo show of his mezzotints was displayed at the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts, Russia in 2013.
James currently develops his own collage technique, producing abstract and semi-abstract landscapes as well as representational work. He divides his time between San Francisco and coastal Maine.