James Rosenquist was born on November 29, 1933, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but was raised in Minneapolis. In 1955 he received a scholarship to study at the Art Students' League in New York where he was taught by Morris Kantor, George Grosz and Edwin Dickinson. In 1960 he rented a loft in the heart of New York's avant-garde artistic community.
At this time he also burst onto the emerging Pop Art scene as he began to produce large-scale paintings. . His work is recognized for the juxtaposition of familiar but incongruous imagery, for its distortions of size and scale, and for using the smooth, air-brushed aesthetic of commercial painting.