Todd James (American, b.1969) is a New York street artist who has achieved international acclaim. As a young child, he called himself REAS and began painting graffiti on the New York subway system as well as on local streets. He soon earned the respect of other taggers and graffiti artists; as an adult, James was able to translate his talent for graffiti into salable artwork. James created album covers for musicians, including Eminem, Kid Rock, and Mobb Deep; he is best known for having created the logo for the Beastie Boys' 1987 album, Brooklyn Dust Elephant. James also used his ability to create graffiti to make commercial artwork for clients, including The Source and Cartoon Network. He currently works as the design director for the Comedy Central program "Crank Yankers."

Although James is best known for his commercial artwork, he also has had some success exhibiting his line drawings at galleries. His line drawings are usually of women. The artist depicts these women as doing everyday activities such as shopping, working out, or talking on the telephone. James was introduced to the gallery scene in 2000 when he collaborated on the Indelible Market exhibition with Steve Powers (American, b.1968) and Barry McGhee (American, b.1966). All three of these artists are former graffiti artists who decided to use their talents in a more productive manner. The exhibition of their work was initially shown in New York. It was also chosen for the 2001 Venice Biennale in Italy and the 2002 Liverpool Biennial in England. In 2004, James participated in a documentary film and art project about graffiti artists entitled Beautiful Losers. This project explored the graffiti art world and featured interviews with James and some of his contemporaries. It was shown at various art museums throughout the United States and Europe, starting with the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH.

James had solo exhibitions at museums in Europe throughout the 2000s. He continues to live and work in New York.

Timeline

1969
Born in New York, USA
Lives and works in New York City

Exhibitions

2011
Volta, V1 Gallery, Basel, Switzerland
2011
Art in the Streets, The Geffen Contemporary, MOCA,Los Angeles, USA
2010
Brush Strokes, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
2010
Album exhibition, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
2010
Infinity Lessons, ALICE gallery, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2010
Great Adventure, Galería Javier López, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2010
Make My Burden Lighter, Gering & López Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2010
Make My Burden Lighter, Gering & Lopez Gallery, New York (solo)
2009
The New Yorkers, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
2009
Blood & Treasure, LazInk Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2009
The Paper Chasers, Ohwow, New Zealand
2009
Disaster, Monster Children Gallery, Australia (solo)
2009
Double Disaster, Don't Come Gallery, Australia (solo)
2009
Don't Stop Get it Get it, Colette, Paris, France (solo)
2008
The Outsiders, The Lazarides Gallery, NYC, USA
2008
Destruction of Atlantis, Union Gallery London, UK
2007
Paper Trails, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
2007
Zoo Art Fair, represented by V1 Gallery, Copenhagen
2007
Berlin Preview, represented by V1 Gallery, Copenhagen
2007
Art Copenhagen, represented by V1 Gallery, Copenhagen
2007
Volta Show 03, Basel, represented by V1 Gallery, Copenhagen
2007
Trouble, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark (solo)
2006
High Math, V1 Gallery Copenhagen, Denmark
2006
Arkitip – Todd James and Kaws, Tokyo, Japan
2006
Arkitip – Todd James and Kaws, Venice Beach, USA
2005
Beautiful Losers, Baltimore Contemporary Museum, USA
2005
Beautiful Losers, Orange County Museum of Art, USA
2004
Beautiful Losers, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, USA
2004
Beautiful Losers, San Fransisco Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, USA
2002
Beloved Fiend, Tate Liverpool Biennial, U.K.
2002
Pot o Gold 3, PAM Gallery Australia
2001
Tits and Ass, Huston Gallery, USA
2001
Pot o Gold 2, PAM Gallery Australia
2000
Street Market, Deitch Projects, USA
2000
Street Market, Parco Gallery, Japan
2000
Untitled 2000, Japan Group show Kieth harring Foundation, 2000, Todd James
2000
Street market, Venice Biennale 2000, Italy
2000
Street Market, with Todd James, Steve Powers, Barry McGee, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
2000
Street Market, with Todd James, Steve Powers, Barry McGee, Parco Gallery, Japan
2000
Untitled 2000, Japan Group show Keith Haring Foundation, Japan
1999
Indelable Market, Institute for Contemporary Art, Philladelphia, USA
1998
Daze/Crash with guest Reas, Recent Works, Pallazzo Enrico Coveri, Florence, Italy
1998
Adventures of the Four Letter Word, Todd James, Steve Powers

Literature

Beloved Fiend – the art of Todd James
Attitude Dancer # 1
Attitude Dancer # 2
Street Market
Beautiful losers