Jim Campbell was born in 1956 in Chicago, Illinois. He received degrees in both electrical engineering and mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1978, and is currently living and working in San Francisco, California. As an engineer, Campbell holds more than a dozen patents in the field of image processing and is currently working on HDTV-related products in a laboratory in California.
Originally a filmmaker, Campbell turned to science after having worked for several years on a personally difficult film on mental illness. Eventually Campbell fused his artistic and scientific backgrounds and in 1988 began creating interactive installations using what he terms “custom electronics” that he designs for the unique purpose of each installation. His electronic artworks have been exhibited in museums throughout the United States and Europe, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Arizona State University Art Museum.