Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
His family name is Charles Michael James. As an artist-poet, and publisher, Mike is known among the art world and literary circles as C. M. James.
Mike was born in Somerset, Kentucky, a second great-grandson of Rev. Joseph Martin James and Permellia Estepp. He attended Youngstown and Ohio State Universities.
As a poet, artist, and illustrator, Mike founded Fantome Press. He began to publish poets of the Beat Generation. He also published classic American and British poets.
A retrospective of his work as an artist brought the following comment:
“Several of his pictures are offered in different sizes, combinations, and colors, offering surprise after surprise. An element is offered alone and is quite sufficient. Later, admiring a patterned work of almost ornate intricacy, it is amazing and a little disconcerting to find it composed of repetitions of that element.”
The Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote to Mike:
“Dear James – You’ve done a beautiful job of my poems on your tiny press. Please thank everyone involved. Ad thanks for all the copies. I didn’t expect as many.
As a book collector, Mike assembled a vast library of books on the subject of the tattoo.
Poems of William Blake published by C. M. James
Since 1989: Artist in residence, Trumbull Art Gallery, Warren OH
1988 Board of Directors, Trumbull Art Gallery
1988 Kenneth Patchen Literary Festival Committee, Warren, OH
1987 A.A. Degree with an emphasis in painting, Kent State University, Trumbull Campus, Warren OH
1976 Founded Fantome Press
1971 Youngstown State University, graphic design & life drawing
1966-1968 Ohio State University, major in graphic design
1947 Born Somerset, KY on January 20
1990 One man exhibition: Ohio Historical Society Museum of Labor & Industry, Youngstown, OH
1989-1990 Butler Institute of America Art Area Annual
1990 Performance piece at Picture Show Gallery, Warren, OH
1988-1990 American Cancer Society Annual Art Show, Warren OH
1989-1990 Exhibition: Park Hotel lobby, Warren OH for 6 months
1990 Mahoning Bank Building, Warren OH for 3 months
1990 Installation at Dimitri’s Restaurant, Warren OH
1989 Trumbull Art Gallery Annual, Warren OH (Award for Painting)
1988 Exhibition: Block prints & Fantome Press material, Library of Trumbull Campus of Kent State University, Warren OH
1988 Exhibition: Trumbull New Theater Gallery, Niles, OH
1988 Exhibition: Youngstown Playhouse, Youngstown, OH
1988 One Man Show: Eastwood Mall, Niles, OH
1988 Exhibition: Celebration of the Square Festival in downtown Warren, OH
1986-1988 Trumbull Art Gallery Annual, Warren, OH
1981 “Art of the Macabre” Exhibition, Ashtabula Arts Center, Ashtabula, OH
1973 Butler Institute of America Art 35th Area Artists Annual, Youngstown, OH (Award for Painting)
1973 Group Exhibit: Avalon Inn, Howland, OH
Covellie Enterprises, Warren OH
Jack Gibson Company, Warren OH
The University of California at Santa Cruz Library, Special Collections
I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World) Permanent Collection, Chicago, IL
J. Abronovich, New Jersey
William Mullane, Warren OH
Ohio Historical Society, Museum of Labor & Industry
Drs. Joseph & Ann Chester
Trumbull Memorial Hospital
GRANTS & AWARDS
Recipient of Regrat: Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County for feasibility study & model for Labor Memorial for Trumbull County
Award: Trumbull Art Gallery Annual, 1989
Award: Butler Institute of American Art, 35th Area Artists Annual, 1973
Mike’s ARCHIVES are found at the Ohio State University, Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, Identification: Spec.cms.315
“The C. M. James/ Fantome Press Collection consists of documents, publications, videotapes, cassette tapes, correspondence, etc. all relating to the small press owned by C. M. James, The Fantome Press, and the cassette distribution project he ran, called the Underground Culture Vultures. The Fantome Press has been operating in Warren, Ohio since 1976 and publishes original works by various authors including C. M. James.”
Since suffering a stroke in 1993, Mike has retired from writing and publishing.
UPDATE: April 16, 2018
C.M. James has two works of art in the archives of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. See “bird” and Ephemera.
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