Since 2001, James has worked as a creative director, graphic designer, web developer, and design educator. He collaborates with non-profit organizations and cultural institutions to develop engagement strategies, visual narratives, and print and digital materials. He believes that, as expressed in the First Things First manifesto, graphic design is fundamentally about the creation and distribution of cultural meaning. Drawing upon his studies in design history, philosophy, and psychology, he strives to create work that dignifies and ennobles.

With an emphasis on the premise that every image either reinforces or challenges the status quo, James also creates workshops and classes that address the making and understanding of our image world. In addition to teaching studio courses in print and interactive design, he’s developed seminars in philosophy, visual culture, and the politics of design at Pratt Institute and Bard Early College. He currently teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York.

His first book, The Road to Somewhere: An American Memoir, was published by W. W. Norton after driving fifty-thousand miles along the backroads of America, and his work has appeared in several museums and national publications, including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Rubin Museum of Art, CBS News, New York Times, Time, and HOW Magazine.

He frequently collaborates with the artist Candy Chang on public installations that examine the role of ritual in public space, most recently Light the Barricades at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. More of their projects can be found at Ritual Fields.

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