Remembering Jonathan Bernbaum, world-renowned visual projection artist, 1982-2016

Jonathan Bernbaum. Photo: Courtesy the Bernbaum family
Jonathan Bernbaum. Photo: Courtesy the Bernbaum family

Jonathan Bernbaum died tragically and much too soon in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire at the age of 34. At the time of his death, Jonathan was a world-renowned visual projection artist in the world of electronic dance music.

Born in Berkeley, Jonathan graduated from Berkeley High School in 2000 and from Brandeis University in 2004, earning highest honors as a history major and minoring in film studies. He went on to earn his MFA degree from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2008, focusing on film editing.

After several years of work editing films, he became disillusioned with the corporatization of the film industry and discovered a unique avenue for applying his film skills in the creation of multimedia video art. He was eventually able to parlay these new skills into an international career, touring the world with the electronic music duo Knife Party and with VSquared Labs, among others. At the time of his death, Jonathan was widely considered one of the world’s foremost artists working in his field.

Jonathan was a passionate participant in the Oakland arts community, donating his visual art to countless events throughout the Bay Area and elsewhere in California.

There has been a huge outpouring of tributes to Jonathan. Friends and relatives recall his love of social justice, his razor-sharp mind, his debating skills and his creativity as a visual performer.

The funeral will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, at Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley. The burial will be held the following morning, Monday, Dec. 12, at 10 a.m. at Gan Yarok Cemetery, the Jewish section of Fernwood Cemetery, 301 Tennessee Valley Road, Mill Valley.

Jonathan is survived by his parents, Edwin and Diane Bernbaum, his brother, David Bernbaum, his grandmother, Miriam Lowe, and his aunts, uncles and cousins.

Tax deductible memorial contributions can be made to the Civic Foundation earmarked for the Jonathan Bernbaum Memorial Fund, c/o Rosalyn Weinstein, 200 West Washington Square, Apt. 3406, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

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