Born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1955, James Barnhill received his Bachelor's degree in Art Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977. After his undergraduate work, he spent a year of study in Marburg, Germany and traveled extensively. In 1982 Barnhill received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studying the figure under the late Peter Agostini.
He works from the live model, sculpting both fully in the round as well as in relief. Barnhill has successfully executed work for corporate, public, liturgical and garden settings.
More than a mere copy of the human body, his work seeks to marry the abstract principles of design and composition to the natural form of the figure. Barnhill's work is both engaging and inviting.
He currently teaches as an Assistant Professor of Art at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina.