I was born in East Texas in 1943. I graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1966 and from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1968. I taught at Southern Methodist University in Dallas from 1969 to 1976. I then moved to Splendora, Texas with the love of my life Charmaine Locke and lived there for over twenty years. There we went through every emotion that a couple having kids, growing together and as individuals can endure. We have lived in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado since 1997 and love it for a fact. 

Along the road I made art and curated shows with the ferocity of a man possessed. I’ve shown with many galleries and at many museums. Today, I have decided to bring it all home. I make art and my agent, Linda Clarke and one of my seven daughters, Eva Surls, take care of the rest.

I think my proudest accomplishment of all is that I still love my wife after so many years and have seven beautiful daughters and seven amazing grandkids. The next proudest thing is all the solo and group exhibitions, as well as being in the collection of many amazing museums throughout the world. In particular I would like to highlight the exhibitions, Visions at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1984- 85: In the Meadows in 2003 at the Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas; and James Surls – The Splendora Years, 1977 – 1997 which was at the Blaffer Gallery Art Museum at the University of Houston. All of these exhibitions were accompanied by a book. The most recent book showcasing my work is titled “James Surls: From the Heartland” published by The Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas. It is a real beauty.  

At the top of my accomplishments would also have to be my involvement with the Lawndale Alternative Space in Houston, Texas. There I spent many wonderful years with many great friends. It is close to my heart. 

I am a lucky man.