A native of Atlanta, James E. Adair has produced a rich body of work over the past 50 years, including portraiture and abstract expressionist drawings and paintings that are diverse in medium and style.  “Drawings and paintings are more than graphics and hue to me… they are an interaction of the elements of art –line, color, texture, and spirituality.”

Influenced by social realism and intellectualism of numerous artists, including Romare Bearden, Henry O. Tanner, and Hale Woodruff, drawing and painting are as natural to him as water that shoots up from a spring.  Abstract Expressionism has played prominently, allowing him to develop a way of expressing his own philosophy of color, and what he calls “mind expression.”  Color became evolutionary for his works. Beginning in the 1950’s his color narrative has expanded with the passing of each decade.  A product of the Atlanta Public Schools, Adair was introduced to the Fine Art of painting, drawing, and portraiture by one of his teachers, Mrs. Beatrice Stafford, who encouraged him to explore and appreciate art at its highest level.  He attended Morehouse College and graduated from Fort Valley State College (University), in Georgia., with a B.A. in Education.  Additional studies in fine arts, at Georgia State College (University) and the Atlanta College of Art further burnished his natural abilities allowing him to continue to grow and expand throughout his career.

30 year teaching careerIn 1963, he was the first African-American artist to open a gallery in downtown Atlanta during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.  He then went on to a career in art education, teaching at the college, high school, and middle school levels for 30 years.  During that time, he maintained his interest and love of art through his paintings, and as a commissioned portraitist.  Several of his portraits are prominently displayed in public places including the Georgia State Capitol; City Hall, Atlanta; Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta; and Ralph Bunche Middle School, Atlanta.  He has also participated in group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally.

After a successful teaching career, he now devotes his time to working in his home studio.

He currently resides in East Point, Georgia with his wife, Patricia.  He has two daughters, a son-in-law and one grandson.

back to top