James Neal

Creative Entrepreneur in New York

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My life has been filled with unique experiences and fascinating people. I was the second gay person in history to run for the US Senate. I've dined with Desmond Tutu and Dr. James Watson. Lauren Bacall screamed at me during a conversation. Brooke Astor at the Knickerbocker Club and Philip Johnson at the Four Seasons Grill Room flirted with me over lunch. I smoked a cigar with Monica Lewinsky and civil rights icon The Rev. Joseph Lowery prayed for me. Fashion icon and socialite Nan Kempner introduced me as the most handsome man in New York. I've been jailed twice for civil disobedience. Lord Jacob Rothschild and Edmond Safra are amongst the banking clients for whom I have worked. I was a state tennis champion at age thirteen. Social equality is a passion.

Grizzly bears fascinate me. Mom grew up dirt poor in a mill village. My home is the ground beneath my feet. Je suis au coeur de Paris. I've never met a stranger. I have a tattoo. I am a romantic.

As a creative entrepreneur I collaborate with other artists on bodies of work. My current focus is on a States series with abstract artist Dallas Bonds. Photography, fashion, design and writing make me happy. Heretofore I have three start-ups under my belt and decades as an investment banker. I give back- whether it's a buck in a bucket, a night in a homeless shelter or membership on a board of directors. I received my M.S. from the University of North Carolina and MBA from the University of Chicago. I sometimes contribute mostly-political essays and op-eds to daily newspapers and publications such as The Daily Beast, HuffPo and Public Seminar. I have been a guest on CNBC, NPR, NBC, ABC, FOX, Channel 4 (Britain) and ORF (Austria).

I'm a jock who is also drawn to collecting random objects such as umbrellas, crucifixes, vintage walking sticks & cigarette cases. Much of the furniture in my studio was a castoff that I rescued and refinished- including taxidermy. Bliss is sand between my toes and travel. Life is fleeting and I strive to to enjoy every step of the way, every day.

  • Education
    • The University of Chicago
    • The University of North Carolina