Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, James Warhola was greatly influenced during his childhood by his artistic family, especially his famous uncle, Pop artist-Andy Warhol. From an early age of watching his uncle illustrate shoes, James wanted to be an illustrator. Like his uncle, he attended Tam O’ Shanter’s art classes and graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1977. A move to New York City allowed him to hone his painting skills at the Art Students League, where Norman Rockwell and many notable artists studied, and to do freelance illustration and design work.
James’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 him becoming a regular contributor of the magazine ever since, and he was also selected as one of the primary artists for the very popular Garbage Pail Kid card series.
In 1987, an art director handed him a children’s book manuscript, instructing him to do as he pleased. It was called ‘The Pumpkinville Mystery,’ which became an instant Halloween favorite. He has since illustrated over 30 books, several of which he has written, as well. These works have garnered him several state awards for Best Children’s Book and an International Reading Association’s Award for Best Non-Fiction Picture Book for his autobiographical story, “Uncle Andy’s.” A sequel to this wonderful tale includes Uncle Andy’s Cats. The exhibition will be on view in conjunction with Inventing America: Rockwell and Warhol.