James Harrigan was born in Ayr in 1937.

Harrigan went to the Glasow School of Art from 1956 to 1961, where he gained a Diploma in Painting and Drawing and a postgraduate Diploma in Printmaking.

In 1966 James was the winner of the Scotsman Art Competition and in 1990 won the prestigious Laing Art Competition. He has exhibited widely in Scotland - notably at the McLaurin Gallery, Ayr and the Stenton Gallery. His work has been bought by many corporate and institutional collections..