James F. Dicke II began painting at the age of eighteen when he studied under Warner Williams, à bas-relief artist and amateur astronomer at the Culver Military Academy, in Indiana. Five years later, he received a bachelor of science in business from Trinity University, Texas. Dicke is chairman and chief executive officer of Crown Equipment Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of industrial forklift trucks, founded in 1945 by his grandfather Carl H. Dicke. In his art, Dicke draws inspiration from nature and his contemporary art collection, which includes emerging artists as well as established names such as John Currin and Philip Pearlstein.
He is collected by the Smithsonian, as well as the Mandarin Oriental, and NASA is interested in his collection as well.