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James Dean

James Dean, not to be confused with the iconic actor of the same name, is a contemporary artist celebrated for co-creating the beloved children's character, Pete the Cat, with author Kimberly Dean.  Born in 1957 in Fort Payne, Alabama, Dean developed a love for drawing and painting at a young age, and went on to study art at Auburn University.


James initially embarked on a career in electrical engineering, but the draw of his artistic passions proved too strong to resist. Eventually, he left the world of engineering to pursue his true vocation: art. James's art style is characterized by vibrant colors and whimsical representations, creating a unique and identifiable signature that resonates with both children and adults.


The creation of Pete the Cat marked a turning point in James's career. Originally, Pete was an artistic representation of James’s own pet cat. The piece in this exhibit is from this early phase. However, the character quickly evolved, becoming the star of his artwork, which then caught the attention of author Kimberly Dean. Together, the duo brought Pete the Cat to life in a series of children's books. Their collaboration was an instant success, with Pete’s laid-back attitude and catchy phrases making him a favorite among young readers.


In addition to Pete the Cat, James Dean's artwork can be seen in galleries and art festivals, demonstrating his versatility as an artist. He has also expanded his artistic repertoire, venturing into various mediums and constantly pushing the boundaries of his creativity.


Through Pete the Cat and his diverse art collection, James Dean has left an indelible mark on the world of children's literature and contemporary art. His journey from engineer to celebrated artist serves as an inspiring testament to the power of pursuing one's passions, ensuring that his work will continue to enchant audiences for years to come.

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