Jim Simon is presently involved in the fine arts and the art of life in its fullness!
In the early 70's he was the first black to establish an award winning animation studio, receiving awards for the numerous animated spots that he produced, directed, designed and animated for Sesame Street, Electric Company and Vegetable soup children's programming in N.Y.C. The Sesame Street spots were the first that dominated the ASIFA awards for films that utilized "BLACK" designed characters and concepts and music style. The Black elite of the day from Broadcasting, stage and screen honored Jim at the Cattlemen’s Restaurant and dubbed him as being “The Black Walt Disney”; these memories, all of which, Jim now smiles fondly. Later a film he produced for the "Black Psychiatrist of America" through his WANTU Enterprises studio, received the U.S.A. Film Festival Award. During these times Jim was chosen for a “Dewar’s White Label” Profile - National Ad Campaign. The Annual Black Film Awards provided Jim with yet more awards highlighting his “FAT STUFF BOUNCE” film, and then he received yet another award for a 30-second public service film for the “New York Public Library” which encouraged children to obtain their own “Magic” library card.
After departing from the “Big Apple” Jim quickly relocated his family to the bright lights of Hollywood. Soon after, he collaborated with Filmation Studios on the design of the Brown Hornet character and film segments for Bill Cosby's Fat Albert TV series. Later he was designer and animator of The Soul Train Show's opening and partnered with Don Cornelius in the creation, design and development of a proposed "Lil' Soul Train” TV cartoon series. Throughout the past years he has either been producer, director, or animator on numerous Saturday morning TV series for the major Hollywood studios. As well as starting an animation studio from the ground up in Dublin, Ireland for a major Hollywood studio. Jim's latter years in the business were spent as an Over-Seas Animation Production Supervisor in various countries i.e., Japan, India, Canada, Korea, China, Thailand and the Philippines.
After returning to the US he became frustrated with the cutthroat politics of the animation film business, Mr. Simon decided to lay his pencil down and not create, design, produce or direct for any of the Hollywood studios. After ten-years of not touching a pencil for art creation, he retired. Suddenly, his life changed, when his lady friend, slapped a 120-piece, boxed set of Sennelier Oil Pastels in his black hands, and told him to get crackalackin! This gesture lifted his outlook on life by guiding him to move on his creative GOD-given talents. This along with the election of Barack Obama as President reenergized the creative juices that now flow within him. Presently, this rejuvenation has led him to create numerous art pieces in various medias i.e.; oil pastels, watercolor, charcoal and acrylic. Mr. WANTU has now begun venturing into oils. Most recently, Jim located-and dusted off his old trusty animation board and Disk. Smiling he said; “Look-out-world! My fingers are tingling and visions of motion run thru my head, just like old times … animation here I come!” Today, he splashes his canvas with paint, and has new animation visions. He looks forward to a rewarding future creating art in all forms, without the politics.
Mr. WANTU's aim is to stride forward and to ultimately exceed his inner validity in art. So that by example, the youth of today (and tomorrow) can reach and exceed the utmost measurement of their inner artistic abilities, thus allowing them to express themselves in any art form of their choosing.
Examples below were produced by WANTU animation studios. 1) A spot for Sesame Street. 2) A film produced for the "Black Psychiatrist of America Group".
1.”Teeth Care” Sesame Street - Prod/Dir: James Simon Animator: Jack Schnerk
2. “The Strike” Morris Funk Foundation Prod/Dir: James Simon
Animators: Cosmo Anzilotti, Lu Guarnier, Ed Smith, Sal Faillace