Grammy-winning art director and photographer Ian Cuttler Sala died Sunday in a car crash in Los Angeles.
Sala was a passenger in a car driven by Sami Hayek, the younger brother of actress Salma Hayek. As we reported earlier, the pair was driving in Bel Air when Hayek lost control of his 2006 Ford GT as he drove east on Sunset Boulevard. The car crossed over into westbound traffic, colliding with a 2011 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Sala was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sala worked with several well-known stars, including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Marc Anthony. He won a Grammy Award in 2006 for best art direction for “Johnny Cash: The Legend,” reports Billboard. Along with that Grammy win, he earned a Grammy nomination for best art direction for “Louis Armstrong: The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings." He also received honors from HOW, Print, The Color Awards and AIGA.
Beyoncé took to her Facebook page to remember her friend, writing, "Rest in Peace Ian Cuttler. Ian was a Grammy Award winning art director and photographer who will be greatly missed. His memorable work includes album covers for Destiny Fulfilled and Dangerously in Love."
According to his website, Sala worked with Sony Music for nine years before he became a full-time photographer. While at Sony, he created visual campaign for artists such as Ricky Martin, Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Billy Joel, Julio Iglesias and Marc Anthony. He went on to shoot campaigns for clients like Converse, Sony BMG, Gillette, Axe and Lincoln Center and editorial material for publications like Maxim, GQ Mexico and Maxim.
According to the New York Daily News, Sala lived modestly in a New York City apartment he shared with a roommate he recently found on Craigslist. “He was really down to earth,” his roommate Tashina Finkton, 22, told the Daily News. “He was really genuine, a very sweet person ... It's so sad.”
Sala had traveled to Los Angeles for a book cover shoot for an author, said Finkton. “I was like, 'Oh damn, he's got a Grammy.’ He was just really good at his photography. He went out and shot in California and the next thing you know...,” she said.
Authorities said Sala's parents flew to Los Angeles from Mexico after learning of the fatal accident. Sala’s cause of death hasn’t been officially determined, but according to the Daily News, he suffered blunt force trauma in the accident. And photos from the crash scene show the passenger side of the two-seater sustained heavy damage from the collision with the truck.
Drugs and alcohol weren’t detected on Hayek at the scene, say police. Authorities believe speed likely contributed to the accident.