James Allen was born in 1950 in Los Angeles. He spent his early childhood in New Ulm, Germany. After an MFA at UCLA in Fine Art and film history he worked as an artist in the field of New Realism. Dianna Ross bought his first painting and his desert paintings were in the collections of Security Pacific Bank. He was a staff Art Director at Universal Studios from 1978 to 1986 before becoming freelance production designer for the next 30 years. He specialized in designing back lots, storyboard and visual effects for films and TV. His commercial clients were RSAUSA, Industrial light and Magic and 15 years with Japanese clients. He was mentored by Hitchcock's art director for Psycho, Joseph Hurley and Fernando Scarfiotti on Scarface. He is known for period Productions requiring large back lot design and alteration, as New York in 1870 with the building of the Statue of Liberty and Chicago in 1930 for Dillinger as well as building Athens, Sparta and Troy for Helen of Troy. He is executive producer of his documentary company ART TV USA.