James Stephen Terrell is a native Washingtonian who was reared in Ward 7. His parents are Rev. Dr. James E. Terrell, Pastor of historic Second Baptist Church of Washington D.C. and Retired Superior Court Associate Judge Mary A. Terrell of the Superior Court of Washington D.C. He received his high school diploma from Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. He received the Bachelor of Fine Art in 1999 from Howard University, Master of Fine Arts in 2002 from Parsons School of Design in New York City and the Master of Divinity Degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City with a concentration on Theology and the Fine Arts in 2006. While attending Union Theological Seminary, he pursued Fine Arts painting elective courses at Columbia University. Terrell has exhibited his work all over the country and had multiple solo shows including at museums.