Simon Daniel James

Winadzi
Indigenous/First Nation Association(s): 
Kwakwaka’wakw

Simon Daniel James, also known as Winadzi is an internationally renowned artist in many mediums. Simon is a carver for more than 33 years and he has learned many things in his long career. Winadzi is the co-creator and co-Producer of the “Raven Tales” series and has spent several years promoting it all over the world. Winadzi has recently added Professional Storyteller to his repertoire of tricks since being asked by many schools to do storytelling for students. Winadzi is from the Kwakwaka’wakw nation, from the Kwicksuteniuk clan from Gilford Island on his mother’s side and from the Gwa'sala 'Nakwaxda'xw from Blunden Harbour on his father’s side, but was raised in Campbell River. When he reached the age of 15 he decided to start carving cedar and trained under his father Simon James Sr. a renowned artist in his own style.

After leaving Campbell River, Winadzi attended ‘The Vancouver Film School’ from 1996-1998. He finished both 2D classical and 3D computer animation and created a short student film called “Dawn of Creation” which was the inspiration for Raven Tales “How Raven Stole the Sun”. Simon was working with National Geographic’s “All Roads” since 2004, being the first recipient of the National Geographic “All Roads” Film Grant for “Raven Tales”. Simon practiced his carving for several years while living in North Vancouver and was asked to carve 3 totem poles for Fukushima Japan in 2001. Simon carved a totem pole in Rosser Elementary School in Burnaby BC in 2006 with every student from K-grade 6. Now living on Bowen Island with his wife Naomi James, Winadzi has completed 26 episode of ‘Raven Tales’ and is the proud owner of ‘Raven Tales Production Corp’ since 2004. Simon has collaborated on public art projects with artists on Bowen Island including a sculpture called “Embracing the Spirit of the Flame”. This project started on the day that the Olympic Flame came to Bowen Island on its way to the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. In May of 2011 Simon collaborated in creating a carved cedar panel with students from Kindergarten to grade 5 for the Bowen Island Community School. Early in 2013 Simon was asked again to participate in another school project in Burnaby creating an 8 x 8 red cedar panel with all of the students in Westridge Elementary school. Simon lives his life being involved in educating and entertaining children of all ages including his son Ryuki who was born in 2010 and his daughter Mizuki who was born in late 2012.

Simon is drug and alcohol free for more than 25 years and has his own tools to get any carving job completed. He also has a clean driving record and has his own vehicle.

Awards: 
to many to list