Synthia SAINT JAMES is a world renowned multicultural visual artist, award winning author/illustrator of 17 books, popular speaker and architectural designer who has garnered numerous awards over her forty plus year career, including the prestigious Trumpet Award and her first Honorary Doctorate Degree from Saint Augustine’s College, both in 2010.
She is most celebrated for designing the first Kwanzaa Stamp for the United States Postal Service in 1997 for which she received a History Maker Award and for the international cover art for Terry McMillan’s book Waiting to Exhale.
Last year she was commissioned to create two paintings to be presented as awards. The first was created for the “Mosaic Woman Award”, one of which was presented to Dr. Maya Angelou on October 28, 2010 in National Harbor, MD. The second was created for His Excellency Nelson Mandela’s for a Lifetime Achievement Award from Africare, which was accepted for him by his daughter and grandson on November 5, 2010 in Washington, DC.
On the evening of Monday, May 23, 2011 at the Providence Health & Services Excellence Awards Dinner in Seattle, WA, 10 Limited Edition Remarques (fine art reproductions with original drawings) of her painting, “Sisters of Providence”, were unveiled and auctioned off. An amazing $126,000 was raised from this Live Auction for the Sisters of Providence Mission in Chile. The amount was then matched by a corporation for the total of $252,000.
Synthia SAINT JAMES has already completed eight college engagements throughout the United States and has several more scheduled. She is currently working on a commissioned painting for Coppin State University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD for their annual fundraising event which will be held on September 17th.
Synthia SAINT JAMES, international award winning artist and designer of the first United States Postal Stamp for the Kwanzaa holiday, has to date written and or illustrated 13 children’s picture books, 3 poetry and prose books, 4 children’s activity books, a cookbook, and a postcard book.
She is the recipient of The 2008 Woman of the Year Award for the 26th Senate District, and she has garnered numerous other awards including a Parent’s Choice Silver Honor, a Coretta Scott King Award, and an Oppenheim Gold Award all for her books.
On January 30, 2010 she received the prestigious Trumpet Award for “The Arts” in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the first painter to be so honored. This year she was also inducted into the National Organization of Women Business Owners – Los Angeles, Hall of Fame in March.
She received her first Honorary Doctorate Degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) from Saint Augustine’s College, Raleigh, NC on May 8, 2010 the Historically Black College where her foundation, The Synthia SAINT JAMES Fine Arts Institution, is being established.
She created an award for Africare which was presented to His Excellency Nelson Mandela for Lifetime Achievement on November 5, 2010, and she created an award for Diversity Woman Magazine’s “A Mosaic Woman Award”, one of which was presented to Dr. Maya Angelou on October 28, 2010.
Her paintings grace the covers of over 70 books, including books by Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, New York Times bestselling author IyanlaVanzant, and books by Terry McMillan, also a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been published worldwide in several different languages.
Barnes and Noble licensed her artwork “Brilliance” for merchandise, including tote bags and journals, in celebration of Black History Month 2009 to sellout audiences. So for Black History Month 2010 they released new merchandise, including tote bags, journals, and tumblers featuring her artwork “Butterflies Dream”.
Her architectural designs include a 150 foot ceramic tile mural for Ontario, California’s international airport, 6 – 9×4 foot elevator doors for a building in California’s State Capitol’s East End Complex, Sacramento, California, stained glass windows for the West Tampa Library in Tampa, Florida, and a 4×7 foot ceramic tile mural (inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning”), commissioned by Gibson, Dunn, Crutcher LLP for Cowan Elementary School in Westchester, California. She was also commissioned to create the 3×6 foot painting that hangs in the Women’s Center of Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California.
SAINT JAMES has completed numerous commissioned signature images for non-profit organizations including the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (which hangs at the Vulcan Station in Brooklyn, New York), Children’s Institute International, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the Harlem Book Fair, the United Way, and the National Education Association. She unveiled the poster that she created for the Center for Disease Control at the United Nations on World AIDS Day 2005, unveiled the original painting that she created for the Metropolitan AME Church (Harlem, NY) at the Schomburg in February 2006, and unveiled the 20th anniversary painting for the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. in June 2006..
In reviews her artwork has been described as “ebullient”, “bold”, “creates paintings that remind one of Matisse cutouts in their clear line and intense color” and “joyful”.
She was honored with the 2004 Woman of the Year Award in Education by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women and she is a proud recipient of The HistoryMakers Award. Fall of 2006 she received both the MOSTE Inspirational Women Award and the Samella Award for her artistry, and designed the “We See You Award”. SAINT JAMES is also one of the women included in Dr. Cynthia Jacobs Carter’s National Geographic book, Africana Woman: Her Story Through Time.
She has created signature paintings for Children’s Institute International’s “Project Fatherhood”, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s “Circle of Promise” campaign for which she now serves as a National Ambassador, and “Crowns” for Regina Taylor’s play Crowns.
She is a member of the cast of M.K. Asante’s latest documentary “The Black Candle” which screened worldwide, and she is also a member of the cast of “Breast Cancer Examined: An African American Perspective” which aired on the TV One Network.
One of her original paintings was donated to the permanent collection of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York, by the House of Seagram, and another original painting to Spelman College by Dr. Walter Allen.
SAINT JAMES, a self-taught artist and popular speaker, credits the creator and her ancestry (which includes African American, Native American, Haitian and German Jew) for her artistic gifts.
Synthia Saint James