James Chinlund was born and raised in New York City. He studied Fine Art at CalArts in Los Angeles, with a focus on sculpture and large scale installation art works. After graduating, Chinlund returned to New York and started his career in film, first as a carpenter, before finding opportunities as a Production Designer on music videos and independent films. During this period he first worked with frequent collaborator Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain) in addition to other directors in the New York independent film world including: Todd Solondz (Storytelling), Paul Schrader (Autofocus) and Spike Lee (25th Hour). After a short break from features to care for his young daughter, Chinlund returned to the feature world in 2012 to work on "The Avengers" for Marvel which set a record for the highest grossing opening weekend ever. Since then he was twice nominated for Art Director’s Guild Awards for his work on the Fox films "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and “War for the Planet of the Apes” directed by Matt Reeves. Over the years James has been active in the commercial and fashion worlds as well. Collaborators include: Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Rupert Sanders, Spike Jonze, Marc Forster, Lance Acord, Gus Van Sant and Harmony Korine. James has received numerous awards in the commercial field. In 2019 he won the AICP and Cannes Lion for a collaboration with Spike Jonze. Most recently James completed work on "The Lion King" for Disney which will be the first feature film ever shot entirely in Virtual Reality.
James is currently splitting time between Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans with his wife and daughter.
"Root Against Your Species" A.O. Scott NY Times 7.12.17 "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" A look inside - MTV News 7.9.14
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review" Variety 6.28.14
"Neighbors who Need Good Fences" A.O. Scott NY Times 7.10.14
"Avengers Deconstructed" - Hero Complex LA Times 5.24.12
"Avengers Production Design Interview" - Comic Book Movie 5.25.12