James (Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun) Harry was born October 31, 1989 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is of Squamish Nation (Swxwú7meshḵ) and European decent (Scottish, and German). James spent much of his childhood and early adolescence immersed in art. He learned First Nations stories, form and design, and carving skills from his father, Xwalacktun (Rick Harry), a master carver of the Squamish Nation. Similarly, Jennifer Kleinsteuber, James’s mother and an accomplished painter, gave him hands-on experience with drawing and painting. He developed his own techniques and methodology, expanding on his father's work and beginning to formulate a contemporary approach to Aboriginal art and practice. When he was in secondary school, James began his career as an artist by carving the doors of the BC Aboriginal Sports Hall of Fame. He attended Emily Carr University of Arts and Design, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a major in Visual Arts in 2014. His studies focused on integrating traditional Coast Salish art forms with contemporary concepts and materials.