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AdColonized: Getting to Know James Vela

Posted May 18, 2017

Los Angeles is definitely filled with movie magic, but people sometimes forget the other artistic opportunities available in the city. Marketing Designer, James Vela not only creates beautiful graphic designs for AdColony Skylab but also captures life through his side hobby: photography. To give us more insight into his role in Skylab, James has agreed to step in front of the AdColonized microphone.

How does the Marketing Designer fit within the greater AdColony Skylab team and AdColony at large?
I primarily work on internal marketing projects. This can be anything from Keynote presentations to trade show booth graphics to invites for parties/mixers. In addition to marketing, I also support other areas such as DEC mocks when extra help is needed in Creative Services.

Tell us a little about your experiences prior to joining AdColony & how they have prepared you for your role here?
Prior to AdColony, I worked for over a decade as the sole graphic designer for a boutique event production agency. Moving between projects as varied as RFP Booklets to full motion graphic video loops that served as décor extension under impossible deadlines prepared me for pretty much anything.

What made AdColony the right fit for you?
Skylab is a very well-oiled machine so stress is never an issue. Also, the attitude here is so supportive. Not to mention being surrounded by some of the most talented and dedicated designers I’ve ever met. It’s been wonderful to feel challenged to step up my game on a daily basis to keep up with the awesome work everyone here makes.

How do you keep growing & learning in what you do?
We are fortunate enough to have access to amazing tutorial and resource providers such as Lynda and TutsPlus which are always available to keep up with any program. Also, I keep up with design trends by monitoring Behance, as well as other aggregators of art and design such as Abduzeedo, From Up North, and Fubiz. And of course simply having casual discussions with the other designers here about innovation in any medium be it robotics or 3D printing.

What are your hobbies or activities that you look forward to doing on the weekends or after work?
My number one passion outside of design is photography. I’ve had an interest in it since I was a kid when I would steal my mother’s Spectra and make photos of my action figures and cars in elaborate chase scenes, and that experimental spirit continued through high school and college as a passing fancy.

However, I picked up a camera seriously around two years ago to capture some of the scenes I’ve been ruminating in my head for a while. So, almost every weekend I’m in a studio in DTLA or working on cleaning up the details of previous shoots.

Of course, outside of photography, I enjoy a nice Old Fashioned at the local arcade bar or binge-watching Project Runway.

Which app is keeping you engaged lately? Why?
Definitely a music app called Pacemaker for iOS. It essentially allows you to choose tracks from Spotify or iTunes and seamlessly mix them together to create personal mixtapes. Many lifetimes ago I used to DJ at a few clubs in Ventura County, so it’s a very fun way to re-engage in mixing but in a much, much easier way (these apps that automatically beat match are amazing…wish I had them in ’03!).

What’s one thing not many people know about you that you’re willing to share?
I’m allergic to apples.

Do you have a nickname at work? If so, is there a story behind it?
I don’t have a nickname here but in other circles, I am only known as “The Jam.” It’s a band thing, of which I’ve been in several. I think it was laziness and something that sounds mildly musical.

What is your favorite moment you’ve had with the AdColony team so far?
We all had the opportunity to have a tour of The Broad in DTLA last summer and it was a total blast. We saw so many amazing works of art (Warhol being one of my favorite artists, it was awesome to see some of his work in person) and taking it all in with the group was a fun way to expand our minds a bit.

About AdColonized
Each AdColonized feature shines a light on a different member of the AdColony team. From favorite apps and hobbies to dislikes and odd secrets, we cover it all! Who do you want to see on the next AdColonized? Tweet it to . For the latest AdColony mobile news and updates, follow  on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or connect on Linkedin.


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