James Brown was born in Los Angeles, California in 1951. Brown studied painting and printmaking at Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood, California from 1970-1972, in the Print Department founded by Sister Mary Corita. Brown then studied fine art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1972-1974, and received his B.F.A from Immaculate Heart College in 1974. While still in school, he moved from Los Angeles to Paris where he would live and work for 7 years.
In 1979, Brown moved to New York, where he was grouped with other upcoming and young artists such as Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Donald Baechler and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and exhibited with Tony Shafrazi and Leo Castelli.
In 1995, James Brown moved to Oaxaca, Mexico, where he started with his wife, Alexandra, the Carpe Diem Press, inviting leading artists and writers to create limited-edition books and weavings.
Although Brown is best known for his painted abstractions and experimental prints, he has a long history with other mediums including ceramics, weavings and artists’ books. He began working with the Maeght Ceramics Studio in Grasse, France, under the direction of Hans Spinner, in the mid-80s, regularly producing ceramic projects until Spinner’s retirement in 2006. He has been commissioned by both the Sevres Porcelain Manufacture and the Bernardaud Porcelain Company to create ceramic projects.
His work is in various public collections including the Getty Institute Los Angeles, the Broad Collection Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Whitney Museum New York, the Musée Georges Pompidou Paris and the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City.
Brown now works and lives in Merida, Mexico, and Los Angeles, California.