James Warhola was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1955. As a child, he was influenced by his artistic family, especially his famous uncle, pop artist Andy Warhol. From his early experience watching his uncle illustrate shoes, Warholawanted to be an illustrator. Like his uncle, he attended the famous Tam O' Shanter art classes, and he graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1977. A move to New York City allowed him to hone his painting skills at the prestigious Art Students League and to freelance illustration and design work.
Warhola's interest in science-fiction, fantasy, and comics landed him in the middle of the publishing world. He established himself as a highly sought after talent, illustrating over 300 book covers for the most popular writers of the day. Two celebrated covers are Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and William Gibson's first cyperpunk classic, Neuromancer. These and many other fantastical images opened other doors. In 1980, the editors at Mad Magazine commissioned him for their paperbacks; this led to his becoming a regular contributor to the magazine. Another achievement was being selected as one of the primary artists for the popular Garbage Pail Kid card series.
In 1987, an art director handed him a kid's book manuscript, instructing him to do as he pleased. It was called The Pumpkinviile Mystery and became an instant Halloween favorite. He has since illustrated over 30 books, several of which he has written. These works have garnered Warhola several state awards for Best Children's Book, and, in 2004, he received the International Reading Association's Award for Best Non-Fiction Picture Book for his autobiographical story, Uncle Andy's. Warhola has been featured nationally on NPR's Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air.
Warhola splits his time between the Hudson Valley of New York and Baltimore, Maryland.