A classically trained illustrator, Sydney James’ career began in 2001, after earning her BFA from the College of Creative Studies, as an Art Director for Global Hue Advertising Agency in Detroit. She then moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to expand her career.  

While in Los Angeles, Sydney became the resident artist for the ABC Network Family show, Lincoln Heights, in which she  created all of the artwork for the lead character, Cassie, a prodigal artist utilizing various styles to define each personality her works represented. She has worked as an artist for several other network television shows as well as films.

Sydney returned to her hometown Detroit, MI in 2011 to join the vast creative movement occurring in hopes to revitalize a great city. Since her return, she has created and participated in various community arts projects such as the Grand River Creative Corridor.  She has been awarded a residency with Red Bull’s House of Art, and was selected as a muralist for the inaugural Murals in the Market festival and many other mural projects throughout the country.

Sydney’s work has been exhibited at the Charles H. Wright museum of African American History, Inner State Gallery, The Red Bull House of Art, Gentlemen Jack’s Art, Beats and Lyrics, and numerous venues throughout Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Washington D.C., New Orleans and New York, and in several private collections.

Sydney shares, “I never considered myself a fine artist.  I was an illustrator.  My job was to create images for stories.  When I took control of the stories, I then became a fine artist.  My work is always personal; I want my viewers to experience a personal connection as well.“