James Williams II was born and raised in Upstate New York.

He received his associate's degree from SUNY Onondaga Community College in 2002 and his bachelor's degree from SUNY Cortland in 2004. In 2009 he received his master's degree from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland. James is a recipient of the MFA Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and the Bromo Seltzer Fellowship and was an artist-in-residence at School 33 in Baltimore, Maryland. In the last ten years, his work has been shown in Maryland at the RTKL Architectural Gallery, School 33, Galerie Myrtis, and the Hodson Gallery at Hood College, and in New York at IAM and Cue galleries. In 2014, he curated a two-person show called Upon Closer Examination at the IAM gallery. He currently serves as faculty and Gallery Installation Manager in the Exhibitions Department at Maryland Institute College of Art.


James' works focus on themes of cultural identity and social relationships and consists of large-scale oil paintings and sculptures. Artifacts from popular culture: vintage comic books, their bright color palettes and stylized figures; newspaper advertisements, selling items with distinctly dated promises; and finally, children books, with their lasting moral lessons inspire his work. The romanticizing of childhood, particularly his own, had him create an alter ego named Little Rooster, a young energetic boy whose stories parallel many personal moments from James' life both past and present. Through losing themselves in their imaginations, these characters become the courageous heroes that they were destined to be. Recently, James has created more alter egos, such as Super Awesome Good Man, The Crime Lieutenant, and Ugly Face Man. They each have separate stories in separate universes.

James lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, Ty and their cute daughter Indigo Madison Williams.