Jim Stella was born in Detroit in 1954 and was attracted to art from an early age. He attended University of Detroit Jesuit high school where he was inspired by art teacher Jim Bridenstien. In 1973 he attended Pratt Institute, NY where he studied sculpture and anatomy. He later returned to Michigan to attend the University of Michigan on a medical illustration scholarship.Stella graduated with high honors. He continued his artistic education at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, where he studied watercolor under the direction of Richard Jersey.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Jim worked in interior design and woodworking using a variety of materials and colors to execute his vision indoors.
Stella's compositions flow directly from his mind to canvas.
As he puts it, "The representations in my paintings are drawn from everyday life, but they are re-integrated to reflect how I see them, perceive them, or remember them. I like the large format because thoughts flow in a lot of different directions and fast. The size is designed to take up your field of view, yet contain small elements your mind can follow."