Born in 1926, James Bama has led a long and varied art career. As a youth in New York City, he graduated from the High School of Music and Art. Following his service in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he studied at the Art Students League with such notable instructors as Frank Reilly. Afterwards, he began a 15-year relationship at the Charles E. Cooper Studios. As a freelancer, he produced art for the Baseball Hall of Fame, New York Giants, and U.S. Air Force.
Bama’s second career as a fine artist began in the mid-60s. After a few initial visits to Wyoming, in 1968 he decided to stay for good. During this time he progressed from an illustration career to more personal works, inspired by the environment of his new home. Contemporary Western and Native American subjects dominated much of his time. His peers and fans alike have heralded his realistic approach to the traditional and modern west. This career change resulted in a significant increase in fame and success.
Bama was the recipient of the Spectrum Grand Master Award in 1998, and the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame Award in 2000. His previous book collections include The Western Art of James Bama (1975), The Art of James Bama (1993), James Bama: American Realist (2006) and James Bama Sketchbook (2010).