My name is Jon Weiss. I work as a commercial video artist, specializing in motion graphic animation.
My practice spans the entire production cycle of animated work, from conceptualization, writing, and design all the way out to the illustration and animation. This free-ranging, multi-disciplinary approach is fun for me, providing variety and the ability to craft a project from beginning to end. It also provides tremendous flexibility and efficiency for my clients. I pair these creative skills with an extensive technical skillset, spanning a wide range of 2D motion graphics and postproduction visual effects techniques. This allows me a large stylistic range and the ability to move seamlessly across a diverse mixture of media.
Do you want to tell a story visually, but don’t have the option of using footage? Do you have a complex or abstract idea to explain, and need visuals to make it click? When paired with good writing and solid design, animation is a powerful tool to solve creative challenges that are common in short-form documentary and journalistic work, video essays, and other “explainer”-type videos. If you’re facing such a creative challenge, give me a shout, let’s see what we can think up.
I bring over two decades of commercial art experience, robust formal training, and a strong graphic design sensibility to my work.
I have been full-time freelance since 2003, and my practice has been focused on motion graphic animation since 2007. I transitioned from Flash to After Effects on version 6.0, and AE has been my trusty steed ever since, through 18 versions of the software…and counting. Suffice it to say, I’ve got that saddle nicely broken in.
I hold a Masters degree in Fine Art from the Design+Technology program at Parsons, where I studied narrative media, with a focus on motion graphics. I also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Gallatin School at New York University. If you’re interested, you can check out more details of my resume on LinkedIn.
I live and work in the great small town of Pawlet, Vermont. When not at my desk, I serve my community as Chief of our volunteer fire department. I am also a passionate educator, and my “side gig” is teaching fire service skills as a lead instructor for the Vermont Fire Academy.
So, uh… what the heck is a Surfacist?
Surfacism is a made-up term that started as a joke, but has come to both describe and inform my practice. As a 2D animator I make composite work, layering flat pieces atop one another. I am a specialist in working with planes: surfaces. But in a more figurative sense, I see video itself as a surface. When someone watches a time-based work on screen, she might find it to be compelling or boring, graceful or awkward, beautiful or ugly. What is being judged isn’t just one character design, or one color choice, or one transition, it is the piece as a coherent whole. You can’t shift your angle, or run your hands over it, or pick up one small piece and hold it up to the light. Video is peculiar in this way. It’s not like a building, it’s much more like the reflection of a building in a still pond: a surface.
This is the idea I like to keep in mind as I approach my work.