James Phillips' art has been linked to his association and consequent membership with the organizations Weusi and AfriCOBRA (African Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists. However, his accomplishments are highlighted rather than mirrored by the association of these two groups that led the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's and 1970's. African spirituality was the ignition, which these artists used as the connective link to the past, and African spiritual heritage was, a strong motivation for producing the art. Through the influence of Ademola Olugebefola and other contemporary African artists and 20th Century African American artists Phillips developed his own personal style of painting. He incorporated African patterns and designs throughout his compositions which included foreground and background to portray one design. In 1973 he became a member of AfriCOBRA, because some of the members were starting to use similar patterns and motifs to his. That evolved into what young writers and art historians are calling the AfriCOBRA style of tradition. Phillips has exhibited both nationally and internationally. His works have been specially created for public art projects for the city of Baltimore, Howard University in Washington D.C., the Department of Parks in New York City and the transit system for San Francisco, California and is highly collected by individuals throughout the nation.