James Coleman was born in Hollywood, California in 1949. His love for nature and the outdoors was instilled at an early age. His father was a teacher, so every summer was spent traveling. "Naturally, I gained a great respect for our country and the outdoors. I was able to experience the power and emotion of summer storms on the plains, the incredible beauty of the Southwest - its variety of landscapes and moods - and towns smaller than the street I grew up on back in L.A. Things that kids growing up in Southern California rarely get to see or experience." It was these experiences that filled Coleman with countless visions of places and things he would later bring forth in his drawing and painting. Although his formal training was limited, Coleman worked to find and way to translate the feelings for nature he had accumulated.
Coleman's career in the motion picture industry began in 1969, when he was hired by Walt Disney Productions. Although his first position was in the mail room, Coleman soon became one of Disney's top artistic talents. In 1973, he became the lead painter and supervisor of the animation background department. Working as a background stylist, color designer, and art director, Coleman's work soon became a fundamental part of every Disney animated film from Winnie the Pooh and The Little Mermaid to the monumental Beauty and the Beast.
Coleman's career, spanning 22 years, has made him one of Walt Disney Productions' most important artists. A master of color and light, Coleman fills each of his creations with an energy and mood only nature itself can surpass. Although he is continually sought after today for motion picture work, Coleman spends the majority of his time creating important pieces of fine art. His work is represented by some of the most prominent galleries in North America and the Hawaiian Islands.
Coleman's pieces have become a part of many significant personal and corporate collections, including the Disney family's. His work has been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in traveling exhibits both in the U.S. and abroad. Coleman has been a finalist for four consecutive years in the Art for the Parks competition. His paintings are part of a permanent catalogue and traveling exhibition for this contest, which is hosted by the National Parks System every year.
Coleman's radiant landscapes are recognized as important contributions to both film and fine art, making his artwork highly valued by collectors around the world. Because Coleman paints the southwest, west coast, northwest, Sierra Nevada, Hawaiian Islands, and the California Redwoods, he is a very collectable contemporary artist.