James Elliott Bama is an American artist and photographer who was born in New York in 1926. While growing up there, he became a comic-strip fan and developed his drawing and painting abilities by copying them. Bama’s talent emerged at an early age and, in fact, he made his first professional sale (to the New York Journal-American) at just 15.
In 1950, Bama became a commercial illustrator and entered the public’s view with a book illustration done for Nelson Nye’s A Bullet for Billy the Kid. He then spent approximately 20 years illustrating covers for Doc Savage and other books, covers and interiors for men’s pulp and horror magazines, boxes for monster model kits, and many other works. Overall, it’s estimated he did 100’s of commercial illustrations/paintings.
In 1966, Bama’s interests took a sharp turn when he and his wife visited Cody, Wyoming, and fell in love with it. While there, Bama found himself attracted to painting the western people and landscapes he saw. Not surprisingly, and not long afterward (in 1968), he and his wife permanently relocated there from New York. In 1971, Bama stopped doing commercial illustrations, by-and-large, and concentrated on contemporary western art.