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. For Black History Month 2009 Barnes and Noble’s featured her painting “Brilliance” on merchandise in their 800 stores and on their website.
Her architectural designs include a 150 foot ceramic tile mural for Ontario, California’s international airport, 6 - 9x4 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 4x7 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 3x6 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..
Her paintings grace the covers of over 60 books, including Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale, Disappearing Acts, Mama, and the Japanese translation of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and Iyanla Vanzant’s Acts of Faith, Faith in the Valley and The Big Book of Faith.
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 receipient 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 most recently completed 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 also a member of the cast of M.K. Asante’s latest documentary “The Black Candle” which is currently screening worldwide.
SAINT JAMES, a self-taught artist, credits the creator and her ancestry (which includes African American, Native American, Haitian and German Jew) for her artistic gifts.