James-Paul was raised in Crown Point Indiana, a small town 50 miles south of Chicago. The second of four sons born to a banking family, his father served as Chairman of the Board of First National Bank of Crown Point, Indiana's oldest bank.
James-Paul first discovered his artistic talents at the age of eight after taking lessons from a neighbor artist. In 1957, he graduated from Culver Military Academy and attended Rollins College with a history major and art minor. Next, he half-heartedly followed in his father's footsteps, beginning a banking career in Chicago. However, he soon realized he could no longer ignore his passion for the canvas and traded in his banking studies for art classes.
In the 70's, James-Paul moved to Malibu, California where he spent free time painting in nearby Venice Beach as A "Sunday painter." He re-located permanently to Venice in an effort to deal with some sudden changes in his life, and his artwork, this hobby, which he treasured so, would suddenly become his passion and entire focus.
This succession of events eventually helped James-Paul to discover a new perspective on life and experience a personal renaissance. As a result, his artwork evolved into the neo-impressionist style for which he is now revered.
"James-Paul takes today's heroes from the worlds of entertainment and sports and transposes each likeness to a canvas of vibrant energy," says Jim Reed, curator for the Riverside Art Museum.
In 1980 his first art exhibit, a 12 -piece show at Venice's renowned West Beach Café, was a sell-out. There his canvas, "Artist Table," sold all 1000 limited edition lithographs.
At this point, James-Paul's art career took off, leading to relationships with New York's Ballanchine Ballet, the Los Angeles Ballet, and Russian organizations including the Russian State Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and the Kirov Opera. In 1982, CBS Sports hired him to capture the World Games in Canada and the 1983 Pan American Games in Venezuela, while NBC sent James-Paul to England to paint the 1985 Wimbledon Games. His love for sports has resulted in paintings and sculptures for the 1984 and 1996 Olympics, the Las Vegas International Marathon and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. In the late 80's he was chosen to capture the courageous beauty of the Americas Cup.
His portrait subjects are selected based on their talents and personal achievements, with portraits including James Dean, Alex Trebek, baseball great Mark McGwire, track star Carl Lewis, Louis Armstrong, Julia Child, David Bowie, and Marilyn Monroe, to name a few.
Reflecting his love of the performing arts, James-Paul has served as "official artist" for the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Ballet, and the 1996 Cannes Film Festival's American Pavilion. With a passion for painting ballet dancers, he has also created works inspired by the American Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center.
James-Paul was also commissioned to paint the Inaugural Event portraits of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Reagan. The later is presently hanging in the Reagan Library/Museum. Other subjects include the Pope, a commissioned portrait of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and additional international leaders.
In person, James-Paul radiates an irresistible charm to all who cross his path. A true romantic, he captures and shares the love and goodness he finds in the world. One of his main inspirations for the past 11 years has been his beautiful wife Juliet.
"Since I met her I have needed to capture her in every moment, "says James-Paul, who has painted Julie as a mermaid, a firefly, an angel, and even Ophelia. "I think love makes the brush flow more easily," he adds.
Today, James-Paul's artwork continues to reach new levels of inspiration and admiration. As a bon vivant and wine expert, his passion has led him to create wine labels first for other vineyards, and then for his own wine, called Artiste, which is being served at major NY fine restaurants, such as Café des Artistes, Tavern on the Green, La Goulou, and La Cirque. Each painting is carefully matched with the specific flavor and personality of the wine, attracting connoisseurs to the bold, balanced, or delicate flavor of each varietal. In addition, he has generously donated his work to many charitable organizations.
In 1996, James-Paul was chosen to create the official painting for the Santa Barbara Vintners Association. The result, "Road to Romance," expresses the charm and beauty of Santa Barbara's Wine Country. Portraying a romantic path alongside a lovely vineyard, this piece was also chosen by Bloomindales in Century City, California, as the romantic centerpiece for their Fall 1998 Bridal Fair. "Road to Romance" is the first in a series of more than 20 paintings which capture his loving adoration for the captivating beauty of California's wine country, and his fascination with the art of winemaking.
The Rice family, owners of Sunstone vineyards in Santa Barbara, took such a liking to James' work that they began featuring his paintings at their winery in 1997. James-Paul works have become the pride of Santa Barbara, California. In early 1998, Sunstone Vineyards chose James-Paul's creations for their wine labels. The first, a wine varietal named "EROS," features his work entitled "The Kiss."