After completing his schooling he moved to American Fork, Utah and became an associate art director for the New Era, a LDS magazine for teens. During this time he also was a freelance artist and continued working on his painting. He joined the Art faculty at BYU in 1976 and held a position until 1997. He traveled with students all over Mexico and Europe.On January 30, 1996, Christensen was invited to deliver a University Forum address. The title of his address was "Imagination." In the speech Christensen expressed his belief that all people are creative, some just feed their imagination more than others. Christensen commented,
"It seems that many adults see imagination and creativity as something reserved for artists, writers, and other 'creative' types. But I don’t agree with that. I believe that everyone has an imagination, everyone has the potential to be creative. I think that the process comes more easily to some folks, but with practice we all have access to imagination and creative problem solving, no matter where our interests and talents lie . . . We can all be creative if we are willing to pay the price, as there is a price to be paid for any success."Woodbury Art Museum's exhibit, Wet into Wet. His art is heavily influenced by myths, fables, and fantasies and always has a unique and recognizable flair which makes it his own. Christensen's art was also featured in the book Passage by Faith: Exploring the Inspirational Art of James C. Christensen.
Christensen is married and has five children, two of whom, Cassandra Christensen Barney and Emily Christensen McPhie, are also alumnae of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at BYU and are notable artists. James and his wife, Carole co-chair of the Mormon Arts Foundation and currently live in Orem, Utah.
- The Deseret News - 'Passage by Faith' features a collection of whimsical, thought-provoking art by James C. Christensen (2 Feb 2013)
- The Deseret News - 'Passage by Faith: Exploring the Art of James C. Christensen' (1 Dec 2012)
- The Daily Herald - Arts Hot Ticket: Fluid flourish (24 May 2012)
- The Daily Herald - Water works: Woodbury ups cool quotient with 'Wet into Wet' (17 May 2012)
- Mormon Artist - James Christensen (December 2010/January 2011 issue)
- Mormon Times - LDS artist joins forces with 2 daughters for art show (13 Sept 2009)
- BYU Magazine, Spring 2007:The Art of Family (Spring 2007)
- BYU Magazine Alumni Reports: Colleges Honor Alumni (Fall 2005)
- James Christensen Prints
- Utah Business Magazine - James C. Christensen: A Fish Out of Water. Interview by John Blodgett (1 June 2005)
- Christensen, James. "Exercising your Imagination." University Forum Address, BYU, 30 Jan 1996.