Born 1957, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

James Higginson is an artistic provocateur. He tempts the viewer with illusion and representation, unveiling subtextual truths with calculated precision. Higginson believes the cultural subtext, the unsaid, is best divined through indirect metaphor—viewed out of the corner of a dark adaptive eye. His theme is consistently human frailty. He probes it, questions it, pokes at it, and exposes it from all angles using myriad subjects, metaphoric and linear. Although the viewer may, initially, feel compelled to turn away from the visual challenges his artwork elicits, his paintings and photography are so beautiful, so alluring, one cannot help but gaze into the works, past the surfaces.

Higginson believes it is the artist’s responsibility to interrogate contemporary life in ways for which conditioned, static answers are unavailable. Only when we separate the layers of illusion and perception from reality, does Higginson believe that we as beings will move sufficiently beyond ourselves to find unconventional answers to conventional questions.

As a painter, Higginson was invited to collaborate with Chinese Master Xie Tien Cheng in 1989 on a body of 30 paintings that combined techniques of western conceptual art making with elements of traditional eastern painting. Over the course of the five-week collaboration, the two artists contemporized the subjects, modes, and styles of the T’ang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) as well; they addressed the tumultuous political climate of the current time and the events surrounding the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Too controversial for the Chinese art world, these paintings were ultimately exhibited at the Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California in 1993.

Higginson’s photography has been no less challenging. In “Portraits of Violence,” he boldly tackled the issue of domestic violence with life-size, full color, photographs. Using lectures, panel discussions, tours, and live performances, Higginson then expanded the dialogue between his artwork in the museum and the community. “Portraits of Violence” has been exhibited worldwide in galleries and museums in California, New York, Berlin, Budapest, and Cologne. A hardcover book of this photography series, POV:Portraits of Violence, was published in 2004.

Higginson’s interest to serve the community has reached outside the Fine Art World. To utilize the arts as a tool to elevate public awareness of pressing social problems, Higginson established the graphic design company, d3G in 1999. d3G creates graphics, photography, and artwork for community-focused projects designed to educate, inform, and inspire current and future generations.

During 2000-01, d3G focused on HIV education creating a Safe Sex Campaign in cooperation with the US cities of West Hollywood and Los Angeles and organizations including Aid for AIDS, L.A. Shanti, and the Van Ness House. Media coverage of this campaign extended to Berlin, Germany with magazine articles discussing the significance of Safe Sex in the gay community. In June 2001, Higginson’s image entitled, Metamorphize, was selected to represent the event commemorating the 20th Anniversary of AIDS in Los Angeles. The d3G tagline, “become someone to admire” branded the citywide, multi-media day of remembrance.

From 1982 through 2007, Higginson worked in film, television, and commercials as an Art Director and Set Decorator. For his work, he recived the prestigious Emmy Award in 1987-8.

Higginson is a popular guest lecturer in both the United States and Europe having addressed audiences at the University of Southern California, Otis School of Art, Claremont Graduate University, and Laguna Art Museum in Southern California and BTK, FHTW, and C/O Berlin, in Germany. Higginson is currently teaching Photography at BTK, Berlin.