Vincent James, innovator in design, music and photography

Vincent James, innovative design, music and photography
Vincent James. Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Lucas

Vincent James is an accomplished web designer who created the California Healthcare Foundation’s website and developed online communications strategies for 26 years, while also making notable contributions to the photography and music arts. Contributed, died in Auckland on June 14. He is 59 years old.

His wife, Melissa Lucas, said he died suddenly of natural causes.

In all of his endeavors, James was an innovator who performed at a high level and created without formal training. He dropped out of high school and played drums in a band. He later earned a GED but never attended college.

In addition to his professional achievements in online communications, James also has a passion for photography. He became an accomplished photographer, wowing social media fans around the world with his landscapes, skyscapes, and fog scenes, and earning the respect and admiration of legions of fellow photographers.

He mounted his cameras on tripods on the ground and launched drone cameras into the sky, creating a vast catalog of visually striking images, much of which was shot in Northern California. His work attracts large audiences. On Instagram, where he has 110,000 followers, each of his nearly 2,000 photos typically receives 2,000 to 5,000 likes.

The themes of James’ music and photography reflect the moody, existential angst he harbored after experiencing hardship in his youth. Vincent’s father abandoned the family when he was young, and his mother developed serious health problems when James was young. To some he seemed a brooding loner, but those who had the opportunity to know him experienced his kindness, gentleness and generosity.

The new foundation’s website

James’ interest in digital technology began in 1993 while working for the New York City Parks Department. One day, a computer arrived at his workplace, and with his gift for learning new skills, he figured out how to operate it. He eventually taught his colleagues how to use it.

He soon began designing and building websites. He was recruited by a Silicon Valley startup to join the tech boom and moved to the Bay Area in 1996. He worked for several failed tech startups and considered returning to New York before CHCF hired him in 1998, shortly after California launched a foundation focused on granting money to improve the health of state residents. At CHCF, he met Lucas. They have been colleagues for 19 years.

“Vincent knew nothing about foundations, philanthropy or health care when he started,” said Sam Karp, senior vice president at CHCF, which hired him. This didn’t matter to the highly confident James, who was the leader in creating the CHCF website. “Vincent built the infrastructure CHCF uses to communicate its grants, policy goals and work to grantees,” Karp said.

Until his death, James oversaw the development and evolution of the Foundation’s digital strategy, including its cutting-edge website. James made adjustments to the site as the organization’s goals changed and best practices in web technology, design, and user experience evolved.

Karp said CHCF pioneered the way foundations embrace and leverage the Internet.

“Vincent had an artistic perspective on everything he did,” Karp said. “He was deeply moved by art and music. It influenced everything – his designs, his rhythm, his sense of shape and structure, the light in his photography – everything.

Another CHCF colleague, Maribeth Shannon, worked with James to develop a consumer information website that compared hospital quality data in California. Ratings data are complex, and James knows most people have a hard time understanding them.

“Vincent thought about this for a long time, and given his interest in visual displays and his understanding of what people could grasp, he came up with a very clear and concise way to present the message,” Shannon said. “CHCF became a model for this type of work in other states. He was a true renaissance man with many talents and interests.

Years later, operations of the California Hospital Compare website moved from CHCF to another organization in 2017, and hospital ratings remain online and up-to-date, she said. Shannon said the website remains largely unchanged from what James designed.

born in the bronx

James was born Vincent James Salzillo in 1964 in the Bronx, New York. His mother, Katherine (Kitty) Lento Salzillo, ran a movie theater. Their marriage ended when Vincent was five, and his mother became a single parent. As his mother often went to the theater with her while she was working, Vincent developed a keen interest in film and visual arts and showed an aptitude for various techniques.

At age 13, James began dreaming of becoming a professional musician after a family friend gave him a drum set. He developed his musical skills on drums, guitar and keyboards through tireless practice, observing other musicians and watching videos.

In 1990, Vincent married his first wife, Penny Bratt. During those years, he formed an acoustic rock band “Elizabeth Gone”. The group enjoyed success in the New York area, including performances at the legendary CBGB club in Manhattan’s East Village. Believing that ethnic names were not good stage names, he stopped using the surname Salzillo and began calling himself Vincent James, a name he later officially used in court. When his marriage ended and Silicon Valley called him, James decided to move to California.

He began writing and producing electronic music on his home desktop computer, using his own drum beats, keys and samples, combined with recordings of lead vocals and guest guitarists of ambient singers. His musical interests are wide-ranging and James cannot be classified as a specialist in any one musical genre. As a child of the 1970s, he was deeply influenced by classic rock, new wave, British Invasion and modern rock. “It took me a while to realize that his obsession with expressing himself fueled his passion and discipline,” Lucas said.

“Vincent’s enthusiasm was contagious and he made the whole thing fun,” said Brian Mello, an Oakland guitarist and singer who has played in various bands led by James since 2016. “When we first started playing together, I was worried it would come across as listless and a garage thing and then it wouldn’t go any further. But he quickly set up gigs and found other like-minded people musicians and brought them in.

James’s visual artistic impulses never ceased to compete for his attention. James had another sudden change of tune during a 2008 band gig when a friend showed him a new compact digital camera. “He was having a battle with himself, trying to live in two worlds,” Lucas said. “He always had one eye on the weather and the changes in fog and clouds.”

Vincent James - Innovator in design, music and photography, joins other landscape photographers to chase the fog
Vincent James chases fog with other landscape photographers in Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. Photo: Dan Kurtzman

nature in frame

When James devoted himself to photography, his unstoppable drive led him to travel in search of nature’s everyday orchestrations of color, mood, movement and light. From 2009 to 2017, he and Lucas explored California and the Southwest, Yellowstone National Park, New England, Hawaii, Oregon, and Iceland—she honing her birding skills while he photographed An extraordinary series of photos. His still photos look like they are moving.

James’ creativity is relentless. Many days, instead of sleeping in, he jumps in his car at 4:30 a.m. and drives to the Marin Headlands from his home in Oakland, just in case the day’s sunrise might surpass the hundreds of stunning sunrises he’s already captured.

James is admired by fellow photographers for his achievements and the collective spirit he displays in landscapes that are difficult to hike to—sometimes cold, wet, and unpredictable. The result is very effective.

“The power of his images cannot be overstated,” photographers Falu Bakrania, Subha Joshi, Michelle Liu and Darcy Mead wrote in a social media post on the Instagram page they manage, West Coast Framerz. “His photographs of the Bay Area and beyond are widely recognized for their exceptional use of light, color, and composition. More than that, they are full of story and emotion.

Dan Kurtzman and Jesse Cortes run an Instagram page that features landscape photos from photographers across the Bay Area. They say James inspires people to reach greater heights. “He mentored numerous photographers and generously shared his insights to help others improve their skills,” they wrote. “For many years, he also served as the host of @wildbayarea, where he helped showcase established artists and Works by up-and-coming artists, and he hopes to help these artists gain more exposure.”

golden sunshine

The day before his death, James posted a haunting photo on Instagram. As he drove across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco, he took a dramatic photo of Alcatraz in the early evening. The island seemed both threatened by huge dark clouds and illuminated by a halo of low, golden sunlight.

“Children, never do this [take photos while driving]but I was impressed by the appearance of this iPhone photo as I was driving over the Bay Bridge about 30 minutes ago,” he wrote happily.

As usual, responses from Instagram followers included “stunning,” “cute,” “unique,” “brilliant,” “glorious,” “iconic,” “awesome,” and “like a painting.”

“In the 26 years I have worked with Vincent, first as a colleague and friend, and then as his supervisor, I have always been amazed by his effort to make everything he did fit in with his vision. Can Yes,” said Sally Mudd, CHCF’s director of engagement. “This is reflected in his work and art. He is a true artist – never satisfied with his achievements, always striving to reach higher levels of perfection. He is unique in every way.

Vincent James and Melissa Lucas began exploring ethical non-monogamy in 2017. ‘s home. James is survived by his partner of 26 years, Lucas, and his girlfriend of five years, Jane Earl.

A memorial celebration is planned for late summer.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *