James Surls (born April 19, 1943) is an American modernist artist. He earned a BS from Sam Houston State University and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1998, he moved from Splendora, Texas to Carbondale, Colorado.
He is known for his largely monotone sculptures, drawings and prints that feature natural and human images and forms. Surls’ work is particularly organic and primal. Surls is a collectible artist and is respected in modern art circles. Having built a career in the 1980s and 1990s as a Texas artist, Surls relocated to a Colorado ranch and removed his work from for-profit galleries. His work is now represented exclusively by his own studio.
In 2009, five Surls bronze-and-steel bouquets were set up on Park Avenue by the New York City Parks Public Art Program and the fund for Park Avenue.
In June, 2013, the Carbondale Board approved making available space for a museum dedicated to Surls’ work in the library on 4th Street after it moves to its new location.