(1969 - Present)
Simon James was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia on February 18, 1969. “Winadzi”, which means “Raider”, was the name given to Simon James by his grandfather, Chief James Aul Sewid. His nickname is Simon Daniel James, given to him by his mother, Mabel W. Sewid James, and his father, Simon Silas Dick “Tahnis”. His family moved to Campbell River, British Columbia when he was very young. He now resides in North Vancouver, British Columbia, after finishing his courses at the Vancouver Film School in January 1998. Simon started drawing in elementary school and continued on into his adult life. He has been carving since the age of fifteen and has also been painting and sculpting for many years. He has won awards in both district and regional levels and went to the British Columbia Festival of the Arts in 1994 for his carving of “Komokwai”. In September of 1995 he won an award of excellence for his carving of the “Grebe”.
Simon’s art has been criticized as being too colourful, non-traditional and non-conforming. “Simon James, an artist with potential, but too wild, needs taming,” to quote from the Umista Society monthly report. He used to take these words in the way that they were intended but now he has learned to embrace his wild artistic style and that is the way that he intends to stay. However, when it comes to ceremonial events such as the potlatch, he is still very traditional, and enjoys getting involved in the singing, dancing, and drumming.
Using the knowledge he acquired from completing his 3D Animation course at the Vancouver Film School, he wrote and co-created "Raven Tales", an animated television series that appeared on APTN. This series won the Milagro Award at the 2004 Santa Fe Film Festival. It is Simon’s wish to continue to instill his love for his culture in the younger generation as his ancestors did before him. Simon admittedly still has so much to learn, but he is willing to keep growing his own knowledge and spreading it through his work as to keep his rich cultural heritage alive.