James Neal

Visual Artist and Writer in Paris, France

I write, paint and photograph to provoke dialogue about what defines and separates us. My sexual identity and political activism influence my work, with a bent towards challenging normal.

I began painting by accident, or fate or both. Inspired by an artist I met in Paris I began sketching people in cafés in Antwerp and Berlin, offering them my drawings. Upon returning to Bushwick in the summer of 2018 I began working on large canvases primarily with acrylics and pastels. A young couple in Manhattan commissioned an abstract work for their apartment, followed by a similar request from a young banker living in Brooklyn.

After graduating from college I went to work as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Then a start-up entrepreneur. Then US politics- the second gay person in US history to run for the US Senate. That was a watershed experience and baptismal by fire.

Subsequently I lectured on contemporary US politics as an adjunct professor, and contributed as an opinion essayist for various print and online journals on political and social issues. News outlets CNBC, NPR, NBC, ABC, FOX, Channel One (Britain) and ORF (Austria) have featured me as a guest. As an activist I have been to jail several times, and escaped arrest more.

In November of 2018 I sold and donated away everything I owned and moved to Paris. One suitcase, one duffel bag. I’m a storyteller at heart, habitude for a native of the American South. Combining text and imagery gives me a robust pallet to confront and challenge normative ethics and conventional behavior.

This is what I do.

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