James Gibson was born in Fort Pierce in 1938. He obtained an introduction to "Beanie" Backus through Alfred Hair. At age 18 he began to make frames for Backus, enabling him to observe lessons the artist was teaching. Gibson left Fort Pierce to study Biology at Tennessee State University for three years until his money ran out. He returned to Fort Pierce and began painting professionally with Hair.
Although Hair was seen as the fastest and Harold Newton the most talented, Gibson was part of the inner circle because he was the best salesman. Gibson had such a talent for sales that once he was stopped by a police officer and he sold the entire contents of his trunk to the officer and his department. James Gibson is still painting, his success has allowed him to paint and teach for charity.
Gibson's work gathers celebrity notice and some of his art has been purchased by Johnny Cochran and Gladys Knight. He was commissioned by Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2002 to produce paintings that hang in the Executive Office. Another interesting fact: two James Gibson paintings were featured in the movie "Catch Me if You Can", as the director Steven Spielberg is apparently also a fan of the Highwaymen and James Gibson in particular.
James Gibson is known for painting dramatic landscapes that feature billowing clouds and have a fantasy bent. James Gibson paintings use extremes of colour throughout, and thick layers of paint to achieve a three-dimensional look. James Gibson paintings are signed inght through trees seen in nearly all of his work.