Fig. 1: The Call

Your home is on fire. You call for help. Who answers? The fire department, of course, but who are those people? “The Call” is an animated short I made to explore this question. This is a question I think about a lot; when I’m not working as an After Effects artist, I’m a volunteer firefighter and a fire service instructor. Every American has a 1-in-4 lifetime chance of having a serious fire in their home, but yet the majority of us live in communities without a single firefighter on the payroll. Volunteers step into this breech– 87% of fire departments in America are all or mostly volunteer. This project is a portrait of the unique institution that fills such a critical role in many of our lives, an essay about the challenges volunteer firefighters face and the remarkable experience of this service. Comprised of 2D animation and a healthy dose of statistical information, this piece was lovingly-crafted in my spare time over the course of about seven months. It’s an insider’s tour of your hometown fire station, a world that’s pretty alien to a lot of us, but yet exists right beside us, usually just a call to 911 away. It is also a showcase of my illustration and 2D animation work.

Fig. 2: Pop Meets the Void

In a hyperreal combination of live action and animation, a musician navigates his daydreams in an epic and comedic struggle to release his first album. Pop Meets the Void is my second feature-length collaboration with director William Cusick and producer TaraFawn Maen, and also the largest project I have worked on to date: my work involved all the animation and VFX work for this 89-minute film, roughly a third of which was shot greenscreen for composite onto all-digital sets. And I do mean all of it, I worked alone on this Kickstarter-funded piece, starting from raw source files and taking them all the way to color grading by the very talented folks at Nitrous.

Pop Meets the Void won the Best Feature Film award at the 2016 Lower East Side Film Festival, where it premiered, and went on to win the Audience Choice and Best of Fest awards at the 2016 Queens World Film Festival. It has been released by Filmbuff and is avalible for purchase and rental on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

Here's a look under the hood:

Fig. 3: More Work to View

I work as a motion graphics artist, creating digital animation for broadcast, web, cinema, and to accompany live performance. This work ranges from simple overlaid elements like titles and charts supporting video projects to immersive animated worlds. My specialty as an animator is in working with video footage, photographs, typography, illustrations, and other two-dimensional source materials to create composite animated work, primarily in Adobe After Effects.

My skill set extends beyond animation into the related world of postproduction visual effects. I have extensive experience in green-screen keying and compositing, object removal, postproduction camera stabilization, color grading, and working with generative particle systems.

Beyond my work with digital tools, I posess strong illustration, drafting, photography, and other traditional fine arts skills, as well as physical fabrication capabilities. This grants me a unique degree of latitude to create animation elements from scratch, ultimately allowing my animated work to achieve a variety of looks, textures, and visual styles limited only by your imagination.

I hold a Master's degree in Fine Arts from the Design and Technology program at Parsons the New School for Design (2007), where I studied narrative animation and broadcast design. I also hold a Bachelor's degree from the Gallatin School at New York University (2001), where my studies focused on the intersections of critical theory and media studies. I have worked as a designer professionally since 1999, getting my start doing print design, whetting my appetite for animation working with Flash (remember Flash?), and finally turning to motion graphics over a decade ago. I have worked as a full-time freelancer since 2003. I have had the pleasure of partnering with a diverse array of clients and collaborators over the years. Marquee commercial clients have including Toyota USA, Barnes & Noble, Novartis, Stage Entertainment, the Coca-Cola Company, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

After many years in New York City, I currently live and work in Pawlet, Vermont, where I serve my community as Chief of our town's volunteer fire department. I am also a certified fire service instructor and teach throughout the state as a part-time adjunct faculty member at the Vermont Fire Academy, the state agency responsible for delivering firefighter training and certification programs.

Surfacism is a made-up term that both describes and informs my work. As an motion graphics artist, I am a specialist in 2.5 dimensional digital space– I deal principally with flat planes: surfaces. But in a more figurative sense, I see all the visual work I produce as a surface. Often designers will talk about their craft as a process of organization, of laying out elements to optimize function. In this way of thinking, design takes on the characteristics of architecture. But unlike architecture, you can't experience work on screen by moving around it, or walking through it, or running your hands over it. This work is not so much like a building as it is like a reflection of a building in a pond, an image lacking depth: a surface. As you look at it, you evaluate it: is it beautiful? Ugly? Graceful? Awkward? All these aesthetic judgements are informed by our culture, our expectations, and our personal taste, but they are all passed on a simple visual impression that the artist is responsible for. Thinking about design this way, concept and execution are inseparable.

I strive to approach my work in a painterly manner, creating a whole that benefits from the contradictions and juxtapositions within it and makes use of them, rather than trying to hide the brushstrokes and blur the seams.

Drop by: 183 Vermont Route 133, Pawlet, Vermont 05761   |   Give a ring: (802) 325-7070   |   Email: jon@   |   LinkedIn   |   Facebook   |   Vimeo