Pop Meets the Void

Pop Meets the Void is my second feature-length collaboration with director William Cusick. A neo-surrealist comedy about music in the 21st century, Pop Meets the Void is a a hyperreal combination of live action and animation, using mixed media compositing techniques drawn more from motion graphics animation than from traditional cinematic visual effects. The result is a rewarding, beautiful, and unique visual exploration of reproduction and artificiality. The film was produced on a Kickstarter-funded budget over the course of 2014 and 2015, and premiered at the 2015 Lower East Side Film Festival, where it won "Best Feature Film." At its second public screening at the Queens World Film Festival, the film took the "Best of Fest" and Audience Award. Pop Meets the Void has been released by FilmBuff is avalible for purchase or rental on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Youtube.

My Role: Animation/VFX lead. I handled all of the design, art direction, and execution for the VFX in the film, including keying, rotoscoping, and compositing.


Welcome to Nowhere

Welcome to Nowhere (Bullet Hole Road) is a feature-length film adaptation of Temporary Distortion’s internationally acclaimed 2007 hybrid theater/cinema performance. In a series of warped, image-driven episodes, five strangers in the American West navigate overlapping landscapes of paradoxical fantasy. Constantly shifting perspective, the fractured narrative revolves around a surrealistic combination of sparse dialogue, unsettling characters and abstracted motion graphics animation. The film became an official selection of five film festivals in 2012.

My Role: Animation and postproduction VFX, production design, color grading.



Salome's Envisage

Featuring over an hour of lavish footage meshing seamlessly with animation, all projection mapped over a three dimensional set, Salome's Envisage pushes classical music live performance to a new level. Salome's piano no longer feels like a static object on the stage as she performs her beautiful renditions of classical and romance-era compositions, and instead takes on the sense of being some sort of vehicle, transporting the audience through a mysterious world.

My Role: Animation and postproduction VFX
Client: Salome Scheidegger



Toyota Prius "Bigger Picture"

This whimsical short film was designed and directed by Saatchi & Saatchi LA in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Toyota Prius. I handled all of the animation on this project.

My Role: Lead Animator
Client: Toyota USA



Documentary Photography

Various documentary and editorial photographs taken for commercial and personal projects over the last several years. I shoot predominantly digital photographs, but I am experienced with 35mm and medium format equiptment as well.

My Role: Photographer, digital retoucher



Landscape Photography

I am especially fond of photographing landscape settings, both natural and urban, and working outside. These photos are among many I have taken in recent years as both personal work and as part of commercial projects.

My Role: Photographer, digital retoucher.



The Passéist

The Passéist was my MFA thesis project at Parsons the New School for Design. Exploring ideas of mixed media representation in motion graphic design and shoestring budget keying and motion tracking techniques, this animated short was originally screened at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York City in May of 2007.

My Role: Everything but the music.

Curriculum Vitae

My name is Jonathan Weiss, I work as a commercial animator and postproduction artist. I hold a Masters degree in Fine Arts (MFA) from the Design + Technology program at Parsons the New School for Design (2007) and a BA in political theory and communications from the Gallatin School at New York University (2001). I have worked in media production since 1999 and have been full-time freelance since 2003. My clients have included Toyota USA, Barnes & Noble, Stage Entertainment, The Coca-Cola Company, Universal Entertainment, HP, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and many others. I have also taught digital design at the graduate level.

As an animator, my specialty is in working with 2-dimensional source materials to create 2.5-dimensional work, with a special interest in using green-screen footage composited together with other media to create hybrid live action/animated work. I work primarily in Adobe After Effects, but am proficient in a range of other software applications. My skill set also extends into what is traditionally the realm of postproduction visual effects, including extensive experience with object removal, postproduction camera stabilization, and color grading.

I am experienced with a wide array of digital video capture technologies, including the unique workflow demands of RED and BlackMagic Cinema DNG camera raw workflows. I also possess strong drafting, illustration, photography, and specialty fabrication skills to draw upon for the purpose of creating animation assets from scratch.

I take great pride in my flexibility as a commercial artist and my ability to work confidently under pressure, both handy attributes on projects that involve "putting out fires." I am also a firefighter in the literal sense. I serve as 1st Assistant Chief of my local volunteer fire department and am employed part-time as adjunct faculty at the Vermont State Fire Academy.

To learn a bit more, visit me on LinkedIn. For rates, availability, and any other inquiries, please send me an email or give me a call at (802) 268-0022.

So, What in the World is Surfacism?

Some years ago, while discussing work with a colleague, I jokingly described my philosophy of design as "surfacism." It's a made-up word, but it stuck, and surfacism has become a term that both describes and informs my work. As an animator, I am a specialist in 2.5 dimensional digital compositing-- I deal 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, and a strong concept, narrative, or visual effects technology can't function without equally strong visual craft. It's not just the story, it's how it is told.

Sound interesting? Drop me a line, let's have a beer and talk about it some more.

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All work on this site © 2016 Jonathan Weiss & its respective owners.