James Chinlund was born and raised in New York City. He studied Fine Art at CalArts in Los Angeles, experimenting in light sculpture and large scale installation work. After graduating, Chinlund returned to New York and started his film career as a carpenter before finding his first opportunities as a designer on independent films and music videos. 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). Over the years James has been active in the worlds of commercials and fashion as well. Collaborators include: Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Rupert Sanders, Spike Jonze, Fredrik Bond, Lance Acord, Gus Van Sant and Harmony Korine. In 2010 he won both the Art Directors Guild and the AICP awards for "Absolut World", a commercial collaboration with director Rupert Sanders. In 2012 James completed work on "The Avengers" for Marvel which set a record for the highest grossing opening weekend ever. He recently completed work on the Fox film "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" directed by Matt Reeves.
James is currently splitting time between Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans with his wife and daughter.