James Zhang

James Zhang has been on the cutting edge of digital entertainment for nearly two decades. Since its founding in 2007, James has built Concept Art House into one of the video game industry’s most celebrated art services companies, and continues to establish lasting partnerships with industry powerhouses such as 2K, Activision/Blizzard, Epic games, Kabam, and Tencent. 

James is also a partner at Fifth Era which manages Blockchain Coinvestors - the World’s leading blockchain venture fund of funds. He additionally serves on several Advisory Boards including: 1World Online, a crowdsource service that combines social polling with analytics, DreamView studios, a CGI-product company for eCommerce, Playfull, a gaming rewards platform, Readyup, an Esports events platform and Redemption Games, a leading casual game developer.

3 words to describe Nature?

Cyclical . Balanced. Unpredictable

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility – I’m just one of 6+ billion people living in nature.

Symmetry (Perfect design) – As a concept artist who’s designed my share of creatures and fantasy worlds…nothing I’ve designed is as perfect as what already exists in nature. My dragons may be cool on screen or paper, but they aren’t real and not in harmony with the earth.

Serenity – I’ve found solace is more easily attained on a nice hike or laying by the beach.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Oakland hills – Just the proximity make is special for me. My weekly nature fix. I hike it almost every weekend if I can.

Sierra Nevada – Far enough to ‘get away from it all’, but close enough to get to on a weekend. From Lake Tahoe to Yosemite, from Immigrant Wilderness to Mount Whitney…Sierra Nevada mountain range is where I learned to fall in love with Nature. 

Mount Haleakala – Amazing terrain. Parts of it feels like another planet – Mars? Other parts are jungles teaming with life. During sunset, the fog sometimes rolls in under the summit. It’s an incredible view.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Depends on the time and waves, from shore or in the middle of the Ocean… Generally, I feel free and alive. At night, in the middle of the Ocean feels…I would feel insignificant. 

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Depends on the season. Spring/Summer: I feel replenished and refreshed. Autumn/Winter: I generally feel nostalgia. I feel private.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Excitement, energetic, especially an active volcano

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Reflective, emotional, humble, grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Vigilant, Alert, sometimes frightened if loud/close

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Cold, lonely, melancholy 

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean or mountain. Probably ocean – I love fish/fishing.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Cat fishing in Alabama creeks. I grew up in Northern Alabama during the late 80s and early 90s. The city I grew up in, Huntsville was population 100,000 and basically nestled in between rural woods and farms. Some of my favorite memories in high school was going into the backwoods and remote farms with my buddies. For most of 1994, my 3 besties and I would go fishing just about every weekend. 

The best time to go for catfish was at night. We would eat dinner, then meet up for fishing. Sometimes, we wouldn’t get back until after midnight…even on school nights.

We had the best time exploring creeks and ponds. We’d find something different on every trip. We’d catch everything from boots to rocks, logs, turtles…sometimes even fish! On one trip we almost stepped on a cottonmouth (Copper head) sunbathing in the path. On another trip the mosquitos were so bad, we ended up making a fire to use as a repellent. It didn’t work. I came home that night with 20+ bites on my back. They got me right through my t-shirt. My back looked like a pepperoni pizza. 

Our favorite place to fish was a place we called “The Double S P”. Or “The Secret Sacred Place”. This was a place where we had a 100% batting average. Getting there was hard…we had to trek across soggy mud, a foot deep in some areas. Once you get there, it was a narrow creek only 15 feet across in certain areas. Sometimes, the fish jumping made a splash so loud, we described it as someone throwing a recliner in the water. Sometimes, the splash could get you wat while sitting on the shore. The biggest fish I caught there was a 30 inch, 5.5 pound catfish. I’m sure there were bigger fish. The S.S.P. never disappointed. We always had a good story and no one ever went home without catching a fish there. 

Those fishing trips in ‘94 turned me into a lifelong hobby angler. Sometimes, I wonder if that creek is still there. Without us to control the catfish population, there may be some real river monsters there now…