Artist, Illustrator, Author: Yellena James


Yellena James grew up and attended art school in Sarajevo, BiH. At the age of 18 she moved to the U.S. After gaining her BA in painting and graphic design at UCF, she eventually made her way to Portland, OR. Preferring pens, inks, markers and acrylics, she combines complex abstract forms into dazzling images which take on lives of their own. Her colorful arrangements of organic shapes and tangled lines are at once floral and alien, organic and sci-fi. Each intimate world she creates seems to posses its own ethos and its own special ability to radiate emotion.

James has participated in shows around the U.S. and overseas, including: solo exhibitions at Giant Robot (San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA), the Here Gallery (Bristol, UK), the Hijinks Gallery (San Francisco, CA) and more. She also has done illustration work for Anthropologie, Crabtree and Evelyn, Crate and Barrel, Relativity Media and many others (see client list below).

“My latest works further explore the intricate and delicate forms of an imaginary ecosystem, twisting and floating together in an alluring environment. I attempt to create an ethereal place which is hypnotically familiar and yet hauntingly exotic, adding tiny little details in a sort of compulsive meditation, until a perfect balance is created. The intricacy and high detail, along with hints of existing organic shapes lend to the intimacy and believability of each new world. “



b. 1977, Sarajevo, B&H
1999-2002 University of Central Florida
BA in Graphic Design/Painting


“Periphery” Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA, June 2008
“Succulence” Life+Limb, Portland, OR, August 2008
“Stasis” Fenario Gallery, Eugene, OR, October 2008
“Aquarium” Grassy Knoll Gallery, Portland, OR, July 2009
“Parity” Here Gallery, Bristol, United Kingdom, September 2009
“Zoetic” GR2, Los Angeles, CA, October 2009
“Immerse” Dialect Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, July 2010
“Biosynthesis” Hijinks Gallery, San Francisco, CA, October 2010
“Instill” Hijinks Gallery, San Francisco, CA, June 2012
“Radiance” LeQuivive Gallery, Oakland, CA, February 2015
“Harvest” Screaming Sky, Portland, OR, October 2015


“Kokeshi” Subtext, San Diego, CA, December 2007
“Printed Matter III” Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA, January 2008
“Year of The Rat” Giant Robot, Los Angeles, CA, March 2008
“Tree Show” Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA, May 2008
“La Femme” Nucleus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, May 2008
“Suggestion Box” Giant Robot, Los Angeles, CA, August 2008
“Game Over” Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA, October 2008
“Even Dwarves Started Small” Here Gallery, Bristol, UK, October 2008
“Itty/Bitty Invitational” Yes Gallery, Warren, RI, November 2008
“Post-It Show III” Giant Robot, Los Angeles, CA, December 2008
“Printed Matter IV” Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA, December 2008
“Limited Run II” Open Space, Beacon, NY, January 2009
“First Things First” 111Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA, January 2009
“Catalyst” Nucleus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, January 2009
“Sasquatchtenial” Grass Hut Gallery, Portland, OR, February 2009
“Devils in Details” GRNY, New York, NY, April 2009
“Tree Show” Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA, April 2009
“Idle Ties” Together Gallery, Portland, OR, June 2009
“Kokeshi: from folk art to art toy” Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, OR, July 2009
“Elemental” (with APAK, Betsy Walton and Jill Bliss), Together, Portland, OR, July 2010
“Realms” with Ako Castuera and Elsa Mora, Giant Robot, Los Angeles, CA, April 2011
“Recent Work” with Betsy Walton, Together, Portland, OR, September 2011
“Medium Small” group show, Big Medium gallery, Austin, TX, April 2012
“I Believe in Unicorns” WWA Gallery, Culver City, CA, February 2013
“Neu Folk Revival” LeQuivive Gallery, Oakland, CA, October 2013
“Terra: Artwork Inspired by Nature” Nucleus, Alhambra, CA March 2014
“Vivify” Madelife, Boulder, CO, November 2014
“Wish List” Feather and Bone, Appleton, WI, August 2015
“Muses of Mount Helikon III” Helikon Gallery, Denver, CO, October 2015
“11 Year Anniversary Show” Nucleus, Alhambra, CA, October 2015
“Project Pear” Stephanie Chefas Gallery, Portland, OR, December 2015
“Straight Outta Portland” Stephanie Chefas Gallery, Portland, OR, February 2016
“Suture” Helikon Gallery, Denver, CO, August 2016
“Salut!” Nucleus Gallery, Portland, October 2016


Please visit the Projects page for photos and details.

Clients include:

La Mer, Anthropologie, Relativity Media, Crabtree and Evelyn, Crate and Barrel, Schoolhouse Electric, Urban Outfitters, Pretty Lights,
K2, Microsoft, Uncommon, Marks & Spencer, Keds, ROJO, Huck Mag, GNU Snowboards, Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Biotherm,
Moroccan Oil, Nike, Adidas, Kerasys, Olukai, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Morphik, Poketo, 20×200, Tiny Showcase, Casetify,
Sims Snowboards, Dye Candy, Red Magazine,

…and the list is growing!

If you would like to get in touch about a project you or your company is considering, please get in touch via the Contact Page or send an email to: