James Turek was born in 1973 in Florida, USA and worked for ten years as a graphic artist in New York. In 2010, he travelled to Leipzig, Germany and decided to stay there and pursue a degree at the HGB Academy of Visual Arts.
Turek has published comics in the »New York Times«, the »Miami New Times«, »Smoke Signals« and »Modern Painters«. He also publishes regularly in the Leipzig-based magazine »Kreuzer«. Turek’s first children’s book »Make My Day! Mein wildes Englisch-Wimmelbuch« (tr. »Make my day! My wild English picture book«) was published in 2013. His hidden object images – known in Germany as »Wimmelbilder«, literally «teeming images« – contain an absurd humor and have been described as being »so anarchic and ludicrous that children and adults alike feel naturally compelled to use the English vocabulary belonging to each object just to make it through the chaos« (»Süddeutsche Zeitung«). In 2016, he published a classic funny-animal comic called »Motel Shangri-La«, described by Andreas Platthaus as a book in which »melancholy and humor form a close bond that is subtly forged further by the distinctive animal figures. The archetypal desert setting in America’s Wild West becomes the backdrop for the story’s various geographic, religious and social adventures.«. The story follows an illustrious group of individuals who find themselves serendipitously gathered at a motel called the Shangri-La. The group includes lay preachers, tourists, an escaped convict, a sheriff and an idiosyncratic horse. The comic’s narrative allows Turek to hold up a mirror to his home country, the United States. In 2016, »Motel Shangri-La« was among the finalists for the Comic Book Prize awarded by the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung.
Turek is a founding member of the Millionaire’s Club Leipzig, an annual independent comic and graphics festival that runs parallel to the Leipzig Book Fair. In 2014, he joined with Anna Haifisch to create Tiny Masters, a publisher for German-language mini comics. Turek and Haifisch seek to »revive the long neglected genre of mini comics and thus fill the gap for low-budget comic projects, ultimately offering different German and international artists the opportunity to publish comics that larger companies would not be able to bring to print«. One unique feature at Tiny Masters is the opportunity for fans to get a subscription consisting of three mini comics from different authors four times a year. Turek and Haifisch produce the 16-page booklets themselves – with a printer and a stapler – and also take on all distribution duties. Turek gives regular comic workshops for children and young adults and is often a presenter at comic book readings. In 2012, he was artist-in-residence at the Comics Union of Northern Europe in Riga, Lithuania. James Turek lives in Leipzig.