James Zelasko

James Zelasko

  • Partner
  • Kinetic Creative Director
Kinetic
  • ISFP
  • The Artist
  • Futuristic
  • Learner
  • Ideation
  • Intellection
  • Developer

As The Artist, James innately sees life as his greatest tapestry, and has a strong  appreciation for art and beauty. He is friendly, sensitive, and generally quiet (although while on stage, you wouldn’t suspect it). With one foot in the present and one foot in the future, James straddles well living both in the moment and in a world of possibilities. He genuinely enjoys serving others and living authentically.

James was born in Cleveland, Ohio but hasn’t always called Northeast Ohio his home; throughout his childhood, James’ step-dad was in the Airforce, and as such, James learned how to make friends in diverse places - from Texas to Florida to England. Undergoing such constant change was foundational for James: it was in these transitions that James learned to be adaptable, adventurous, and curious. “Traveling was a great education.” As a father of three, James hopes to provide his children a similar experience, once they’re older. "I'd love to travel with them, to help broaden their horizons and realize that this is just one way of life." In his free time, James enjoys drawing, writing, hiking and camping with his family.

James stumbled into graphic design during college, which ended up suiting him well: As someone who despises small talk, James quickly appreciated design's ability to cut straight to the message. Since college, design has steered James down many paths, which most recently have led to video and motion graphics. Even more so than design, James loves that video is able to be especially concise, effective and memorable: “It compacts a lot of information into a small space."

So where will James' path lead next? His dream is to one day make his own films. “I love watching and studying movies. As an introvert, it’s almost like an escape for me.” He fantasizes about one day traveling the world as a documentarian.

James is the Creative Director of ipsoKinetic.

Expertise

  • Motion Graphics Animation, Editing, Creative Direction.
  • Experienced in graphic design, illustration, and interactive design.
  • Deep experience in telling brand stories through motion.

With over 13 years of experience in advertising design, James has a great skill for understanding client’s goals and the creative deftness to craft solutions that help realize them. His work has been recognized internationally. 

As ipsoKinetic's Creative Director, James is charged with bringing client's vision to life and helping their voice cut through the clutter. He loves being able to take Kinetic’s expertise in distilling brand stories, applying it to a client’s intended message, and wrapping that in the visuals and aesthetic qualities of that brand so that there’s a cohesive brand experience for the viewer.

Q&A with James

What's the best part of your story so far?

The fact that I’m still learning about who I am--which is frustrating in a lot of ways. As humans, we want everything “now” and don’t like to wait. But I like that I’m still figuring out what I want to do and how to do it well, and what interests me. I’m still willing to learn, and to stay curious.

What organization or company inspires you and why?

Apple and Pixar are inspirational and challenging to me in that they really care about the details, and it’s the details that really makes things so much better. I love the way they think through their stories, and all the things they come up with to make their made-up worlds believable real. Like in Monsters Inc., monsters power their cities with screams, right? So they had to think about how to store screams, and where to store the closet doors that transport the monsters to the “real” world. I love that these details are just there in the background; they make the story so real and fun, and make it come alive.

What are you doing when you feel most like you?

Having a white piece of paper in front of me and a Number 2 pencil in my hand, and letting my mind wander and filling the page with whatever strange images come to me. I find myself writing words and letters that pop into my head, with no narrative. At the end of the day, I end up with a book of nonsense, but there’s something really relaxing and freeing about that.

What is something no one would ever believe to be true about you?

That I’m a good public speaker - I actually have a history in musical theater. Even though I’m quiet and shy and don’t do well in small groups. On stage it’s different.

What are you passionate about related to the work you do in serving others?

Listening. Being able to help someone distill down what they’re trying to communicate to its most salient points. That’s the communicator in me; I like helping people form their thoughts a little better, and bringing them to life with a video.

In an alternative life, what would you want to give a try?

Something sports related - I’ve never been good at sports, but I’ve always liked being active. Maybe baseball or snowboarding.

What aspect of ipso's culture resonates with you the most?

We try not to take anything for granted and to think outside the box about everything: how we do business, set up the office and relate to clients. That mindset affects the whole ethos of this place. We try to think creatively rather than accepting the status quo.

What does flourishing mean to you?

It means having the freedom to explore what you were put on this earth to do--what you were made for. It’s exploring and cultivating the seeds that were put in you. It’s tending a garden; sometimes there’s weeds or rocks in our work, and other times there’s things we need to help tenderly cultivate, water, and help grow. These things require curiosity and patience, and the space to allow growth. You can’t rush or force it.