My Other Half - Meet James
My husband, James and I were asked to be in a video for Paige, a denim and clothing brand based in LA. If you didn’t know from seeing us on Instagram, James and I work together to run Lauren Williams® ART. As a couple who works together behind the camera showcasing my art, being on camera for this project was a role reversal for the both of us! I thought it would be a great opportunity after releasing the Paige video, to share more about the man who understands me, supports me and inspires me. I asked James to share his perspective on what it is like to be married to an artist and work with your spouse. Take it away, Babe
Hi there! I’m James and I’m the other half of Lauren Williams® Art. I run the day to day business operations, including vendor relations, accounting, special contracts, project collaborations, invoicing and payroll, as well as being the liaison with designers and art advisors on commissioned works. I also handle the video content you see on YouTube, Instagram and the website. I manage the transportation and freight for Lauren’s large-scale works, and overseas shipments, too. There are a hundred other things that Lauren and I juggle to run the business, but these are the main things that I take care of so that Lauren can really be focused on creating.
I hear it all the time from guys who say that they could never work with their wife and I understand where that comes from, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the third business that we have built and run together, not counting our family of 5, with 3 boys we created and raise together! I think it’s very special for our boys to see us working together and building something using our talents. Working to support a family takes a lot of time, so why not spend that time with the one you love, if you have the opportunity? I think it’s important however to do something you both love. It can’t be something only one loves and the other likes. You both need to be committed to it and feel equally invested so that you respect and treat each other as equals. I don’t believe in a “work/life balance” when it is your own business. We live and breathe the business and all that it takes to keep it running. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week thing. Being intentional about time to focus on each other is crucial though. That and a lot of prayer!
It can be challenging, at times to be married to an artist. Lauren is very creative and often has a thousand things running through her head related to new projects, current projects, upcoming commissions, ideas for a new pieces and business to-do’s, on top of being a mom. Respecting her way of processing while also reminding her to take a break and look at what is going on around us, can be difficult. I think my past experience truly prepared me to be the perfect partner for Lauren.
I’m from the East Coast by way of Santa Fe, NM. I lived in Santa Fe during my teenage years and was constantly surrounded by art. I attended a small private school, with only 27 people in my graduating class. We had an entire building that was dedicated to art classes. We studied everything from pottery to painting and photography. I was surrounded by friends who were amazing artists and witnessed them create, and what the creative process for an artist looks like, including excitement and frustration to doubt and creative blocks. One of my best friend’s father was an art dealer and opened my eyes to the business side of the art world. I watched him trade a painting for a home once! Mind was blown! The homes I hung out in had original works by artists like Georgia O’Keefe and Picasso, I even helped install a George Rickey sculpture. This lifestyle shaped my love for all things art.
I became enamored by the art business and I wanted to be an art dealer. I continued my education at the University of New Mexico and studied art history. After a couple of years sitting in classrooms looking at art, I decided to mix it up and move to Los Angeles. After a year or so of “discovering” myself I landed a PA job on a movie set and instantly fell in love with this process.
Being paid to watch and observe people making art, this time in a collaborative way I hadn’t seen before, was life changing for me. I worked my way up the production ladder, from getting coffee to working as an assistant for the late Mike Nichols on the movie “Angels in America”. I produced TV series for Mark Burnett, on shows like “The Apprentice”. Later I began executive producing commercials with advertising agencies and eventually landed as the VP of Production at a studio in LA. I have also worked as a Director on various projects throughout my career.
I think to be in film and television you have to love to create and be willing to help others create. As a producer, I learned what it meant to support and work with directors to bring their vision to life and especially how important the director-producer relationship is. There needs to be complete trust to benefit the process. As a director, I value the input of others and thrive on the collaboration with a DP, producer or costume designer. Ultimately It’s all about people working together to bring a vision to life.
Through my art-filled childhood and my career as a Producer/Director, I have learned that artists struggle, whether an actor, musician or painter. Artists are their toughest critics. I’ve learned to allow them to work through their own process and know when to help and when to let them work through it on their own. When Lauren decides to take on a commission, I have to prepare her for the creative journey in order to complete the piece. From excitement, to frustration and doubt, to exhaustion and impatience and finally acceptance and pride, the emotions that Lauren goes through as an artist are high. It can easily affect the business and our relationship if we aren’t prepared spiritually and emotionally. There are times when I see she is creatively frustrated and needs to walk away from a piece for a few days. I encourage her to get a manicure or spend time with our boys. One time she was so discouraged with a giant commission with a tight timeline, that she told me she was quitting and that I needed to finish it for her! I took that as the cue to start making her favorite watermelon margarita and call it a day.
Working together as a couple is an incredible opportunity, but it certainly comes with its challenges. I think the business has actually strengthened our relationship because it forces us to communicate and listen, even when we don’t want to. I couldn’t have been given a better partner to be married to or be the mother to our three boys. God had us planned for each other. On a lighter side it also means our house is constantly rotating furniture and art on the walls, so I feel as though I am living in a working gallery. Seems as though things have come full circle, right?
Thank you for reading and learning more about our relationship and how we operate together as a couple and business owners. You can follow James on Instagram at @jwill.iams
We loved creating the video for Paige and are so excited to have some beautiful moments of our life documented in their short film. Thank you to Paige for including us in this project! Thank you to our friend, Brandon Zebell for his talents in filming and editing. Thank you also to photographer Dave Puente for the awesome images.