Who is this guy?
Photographer, Musician, Philanthropist, Educator, and Multi-Media Artist
James Anshutz began his professional creative carreer as a DJ in Tampa, Florida at the age of 16. He graduated in 1999 from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL with a degree in Recording Engineering and Multimedia Production. After completing his schooling, he started his career in radio at 102 Jamz in Orlando and moved up the rankings At the age of 21 James Anshutz, a.k.a. "DJ J Class" was voted by The Source Magazine as one of the most influential DJs in the country. After deciding that the hip hop music industry wasn't a great environment to start a family, he jumped ship, changed careers, and moved to Hawai'i on a whim.
James knew Hawai'i was home the second he stepped off the plane back in 2001, "I instantly felt it in core of my being...it was amazing!" he said. Since then James transformed “an old photography hobby” into a full time professional career as a commercial photographer and artist. His work in the photography field began to flourish in 2008. In late 2009, he co-published his first book, “Survivor Spirit: The Beauty, Passion, and Power of Breast Cancer Survivors,” which won the 1st place award in 2009 International Independent Publishers competition. Just after the release of “Survivor Spirit,” he began working on his follow-up book project titled “The Lemuria Project,” which was inspired from his volunteer work with Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation. (Some of these images can be seen on the Personal Projects page.
James currently has a live/work art gallery at the Chinatown Artist Lofts in Honolulu which is Hawaii's only live/work space for artists and creative entrepreneurs. Since moving in, James' loft has been featured in multiple films and TV shows including Hawaii 5-0 and Zac Efron/Anna Kendrics film 'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates". It is an exciting hub of creative energy that inspires and motivates James and all of his passions. From there, he runs a production company and gallery specializing in commercial photography and visual design.
In 2016, James was asked by Punahou School to teach the Digital Photography Program for their summer courses. And of course, he said "Yes!". Until 2021, James was faculty at the school and launched the DJ FUNdamentals Program, Middle school Digital Photography programs, as well as teaching Music Explorations which focused on music production and composition, sound design for films, and video editing.
Last year, James also created a songwriting and music production program for the 2019 Hawaii International STEM Conference in collaboration with Nainoa Thompson of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and professional/student mentoring from local musicians Henry Kapono and Paula Fuga. This event included a one-of-a-kind recording studio experience for all of the students and was designed with this professional mentor guided learning model to create a theme song for the next voyage of the Hōkūlea. (ARTICLE LINK) (VIDEO LINK).
Vision for the Future
With James’ passion for partnering industry professionals with eager to learn students, his 8th grade music production students have performed their class projects, live on stage, with the Grammy winning group Ozomatli. These opportunities have changed his student’s motivation to self-learn, way beyond the few hours in the classroom. As we have seen in the recent years children are becoming extremely successful on Youtube, so why not give our youth a helping hand, teach them to find their voices, and train them on the tools that will catapult them into their own passions on a global scale.
Behind The Scenes
Somehow he is able to balance the life of a single parent to his two amazing children Bodhi and Sequoia, a freelance photographer, a business owner, P/T teacher, and a person passionate about inspiring his community through collaborative multi-media art programs. James’ light and personal strength shine brightly through his vibrant style of work, his commitment to the community, and his determination as a connected, highly involved single father.
James’ clients have included Sony Music Japan, Hyatt Hotels, Honolulu Symphony, Hana Hou! Magazine, Hawaiian Airlines, Lululemon Athletica, Nella Media Group, Advertising Associates International, Children’s Miracle Network, Honolulu Board of REALTORS, Locations Hawai'i, Kapiolani Hospital, Hawaii Pacific Health, and more.
To see more of James' photography and amazing photo manipulations,
visit the Modified Images Gallery and Studio at the Chinatown Artists Lofts in Honolulu.
Open studios every First Friday from 5pm-10pm
(1116 Smith Street Honolulu Hawai’i 96817)
Our studio on HAWAII FIVE-0
Living at the Chinatown Artists Lofts plugs James into an amazing collaborative live/work situation with other creative professionals. On top of that, the beautiful 1909 Mendonca Building courtyard (which James designed the concept for) is regularly used for filming TV episodes and Hollywood movie productions. The energy of the courtyard contiunes with the outdoor seating arears for the Restaurants Grondin and Ethopian Love. James' studio at the artists lofts has been featured on Hawaii 5-0 twice and also a background for the upcoming film 'Mike & Dave Needing Wedding Dates' with Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick.
Stop by on First Friday and check his and 15 other open art studios and galleries in one amazing building.
Artists in Residence
Feature story on the Chinatown Artists Lofts in the current issue of Hana Hou Magazine (Aug/Sept 2015)
Photographed by James Anshutz
Small Spaces - Chinatown Artists Lofts
Feature story on the resident spaces of Chinatown Artists Lofts (including our studio) Hawaii Home + Remodeling
Dreams Come Alive...
By Rasa Fournier
November 5, 2014
What got you interested in using your photography and filmmaking talents to help people with life-threatening illnesses?
I am a freelance commercial photographer and Photoshop artist by trade. Outside of work, I’ve always given back to the community. It began when I was young. My mom volunteered all over the place and I had to go with her. At the time, most of it wasn’t much fun for an 8-year-old, but I saw how it really helped people...
Video project's goal is to help sick kids
By Nadine Kam
Honolulu Star Advertiser
Nov 04, 2014
James Anshutz was breezing along in his own world of art and commercial photography when, in 2007, a photo project changed the direction of his life."It started with a First Friday gallery show for the month of October. I was asked if I could do something for Breast Cancer Awareness Month," he said....
The Survivor Spirit: The Beauty, Passion, and Power of Breast Cancer Survivors
By Paula Rath
The statistics are shockingly familiar: One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Although it can be a devastating disease, breast cancer can also bring women strength and hope. A new book, "The Survivor Spirit," profiles 20 Island women who have grown through the experience of having breast cancer. Not only have they survived, they have thrived, discovering inspiration and positive change...
Capturing Stories Of Strength And Hope
Photographs can reveal what words and ink cannot. They can capture a precise moment in time and tie it up into one tiny, neat package that can go anywhere and last for ages.
James Anshutz knows the power a picture holds, which is why the renowned photographer has donated his time and talents to the Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation for “Exposures,” a poster exhibit featuring some of Hawaii’s families that are dealing with the realities of childhood cancer...
Greek myths are archetypal stories for us because the gods who tackle conflict come away with glorious victories or abysmal failures that, though grandiose in scale, parallel the internal human experience of life's lessons learned. Like Odysseus battling the Cyclops, the everyman (or everywoman) can discover untapped strength and latent depths of humanity while facing overwhelming challenge.
'Portraits of Survival'
Photographer James Anshutz has been working to reveal that inspired power in breast cancer survivors through "Portraits of Survival," an exhibit featuring photographs of 27 women...