James received his B.F.A. degree from the University of California at Berkeley and M.F.A. degree from the California College of the Arts. He was a tenured professor at Elmira College, Visiting Artist at Cornell University, and has served for 14 of his 18 years in the School of Art at the University of Arizona as Chair of the 3-D and Extended Media Division. His sculpture and video-film work have been exhibited nationally and internationally, and he has participated in residences, conferences, and symposia in the United States, Spain, India, Nepal, and Bulgaria. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including the Fulbright Regional Research Fellowship to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, the Asian Cultural Council Research Fellowship to Japan, the Freeman Foundation Fellowship to India and Nepal, the Confluencenter Research Grant, and Arizona Individual Artist Grant.