Jim Hamilton was born in 1931 in Buffalo, New York. He attended George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania, and the Art Institute of Buffalo for one semester before enlisting in the United States Army in 1950. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1952 to 1955. In 1955 he was awarded the Louis S. Ware Memorial Scholarship by the Academy and the Sonnenschein Fund purchased one of his paintings for the Academy’s collection.
Mr. Hamilton continued to paint and make prints until the early 1970's while working in the advertising and commercial art fields. His work was exhibited locally in Philadelphia, including juried shows at the Pennsylvania Academy and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In 1972, Mr. Hamilton entered the Philadelphia College of Art, (now the University of the Arts) to complete work on a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree which he was awarded in 1974.
Initially he concentrated on post impressionistic landscapes of the New Hope-Yardley area. Dissatisfied with the style, he moved away from impressionistic work and turned to automatic drawing and gesture using a synthetic cubist reductive technique. In 2008 he turned to color field paintings inspired by local landscape as well as cubist interior and still life paintings. Currently he is exploring color relationships in a series of hard edge abstraction paintings following the work of Josef Albers and other hard edge painters of the late twentieth and early twenty first century color field school.