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..
James Harrigan is a painter in the classic Scottish tradition. He applies paint liberally, clearly enjoying the effect of texture as much as colour, yet the brush strokes are light and measured, never clumsy or laboured as so many impasto paintings can be. His paintings are proving as popular in London as in Scotland and his work is always in short supply.
The brevity of the British summer and the vagaries of the weather can restrict this proponent of the plein air technique, so James often looks to the continent to find his trademark cornfields and hedgerows of wild flowers.
James is the head of one of the most artistically active of Scottish families. His late wife Elspeth was well known & respected in Scotland for her exquisite botanical watercolours and, their daughter Claire is a regular exhibitor in London and a popular member of the RSW