I’m Jonathan. I’ve worked as a designer, a creative technologist, an entrepreneur. I work now as a creative director at B-Reel and adjunct faculty at Parsons The New School for Design. As a creative director my job is to guide a team of creatives (art directors, designers, copywriters, motion artists) from ideation to execution as we make a piece of work for a client — this could be a website, app, video, or physical installation.
How did you get started as creative director? What is a turning point in your professional career?
I didn’t even really know what a creative director was when I was getting started in my career. At that point I was primarily focused on learning everything I could and just making as much stuff as possible. I got started as a creative director at an agency called Barton F Graf where I got to work as an Interactive Creative Director on a few projects. This was under the guidance of Gerry Graf who is one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. Since then I’ve worked as a CD at R/GA on Samsung and Converse and at B-Reel on a variety of clients.
A turning point in my career was in the summer of 2013. I had just left a company I had co-founded, OKFocus, to take a job at Barton F Graf as a creative technology director. The first thing I worked on there was the Climate Name Change campaign for 350.orgwhich ended up being seen by millions of people and winning a Cyber Lion at Cannes. It was the first time I was involved in a project of that scale and needless to say was a big learning experience.
What is your ideal work environment? Do you prefer to work at studio all day long or mix a few activities?
I like working away from a desk when possible. One of the best things about working as a creative is the ideation process can happen anywhere — on a walk, in the elevator, in the shower, driving, spacing out. Often times I find that people are to quick to start browsing the web for inspiration. Usually just talking to someone helps you get to a great idea faster.
Where does your work inspiration come from?
I live in New York City which is a great place to experience a sensory overload every day, whether you like it or not. I’d definitely say its a great place to draw inspiration from. That being said sometimes inspiration to solve a work problem comes from just working hard at the problem at hand, no matter how stuck you seem.
Where are your favorite art places in New York or outside?
For bigger museums I like Dia:Beacon, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the MoMA. Galleries in Chelsea that always seem to have good work are Foxy Productions, Marlborough, Andrea Rosen, the list goes on.
Who are the people you admire most?
I admire the work of Gerry Graf, Eli Rousso, Allan Yu, Mr. Doob, Jim Riswold, Janet Champ, Charlotte Moore, Eric Kallman, Gmunk, Italo Calvino, Roberto Bola?o, Phil Jackson, Mom ’n Dad.