James Phillips is a painter, printmaker, and muralist born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied at the Printing Trade School, New York City, and Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia. He received an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. Phillips was a member of the Harlem-founded Weusi Art Collective, a group of young artists who made African iconic imagery and symbols a central part of their work, from 1969 to 1973.
In the 1970s, Phillips joined AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), a group incorporating African aesthetics, iconography, and positive political imagery into African American art. His work is included in the collections of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Arts and Artifacts Collection of the New York City Public Library, New York City; and Hampton University, VA. Phillips has created public art projects for the city of Baltimore; Howard University, Washington, DC; New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency. Phillips lives in Baltimore, MD.