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. Comprised of 2D animation and a healthy dose of statistics , this personal piece is a loving insider's portrait of an institution that serves a critical role in many of our communities.

Produced for Business Insider as the first in the "Master Your Money" series, this "explainer" video takes a spin through some strategies to handle student debt. I designed, illustrated, and animated this piece. I also adapted the script for screen.

Produced by Expand the Room for Knewton, this video takes viewers on a spin through the challenges facing today's college instructors, and the way their unique software solution can help. Starting from a script and a blank screen, I designed, illustrated, and animated this piece.

Based loosly on "The Call," Abington Township (PA) Fire commissioned this short film as part of their recruitment and retention efforts. I wrote, directed, illustrated and animated this piece, which was viewed over 32,000 times in its first month online, and earned Abington Township the 2019 Recruitment and Retention Award from the Fireman’s Association of the State of Pennsylvania.

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. I handled the keying/compositing, and also creative directed and animated the extensive hybrid live action/animation sequences in the film. It 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 available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

Here's a closer look at the visual effects and animation work I did on this piece:

Interested in seeing even more of my work? Check out my page on Vimeo.

Commercial Services

I design and create digital motion graphics animation. My specialty is two-dimensional   multimedia animation, working principally in Adobe After Effects.

I work with both client-provided assets and blank screens, drawing on my illustration skills to create unique source materials from scratch. I bring a visual sensability informed by my background in graphic design to all my work. I'm also a capable screenwriter, and I often work with clients to take projects from napkin-sketch rough concepts to polished, production-ready scripts. I pair these creative skills with an extensive technical skillset, including keying, tracking, particle systems and other aspects of postproduction visual effects.

My favorite projects involve taking complex, abstract concepts and working out elegant, attractive ways to explain them visually.    


Curriculum Vitae

I bring over two decades of experience as a commercial artist to my work. My client base has been quite diverse over the years, ranging from ad agencies and production houses to theaters and nonprofits. I have been full-time freelance since 2003 and my practice has been focused on motion graphics animation since 2007. 

I hold a Masters degree in Fine Art from the Design and Technology program at Parsons (2007), where I studied narrative animation and broadcast design. I did my undergraduate studies at the Gallatin School at New York University (2001). If you're interested, you can check out more details of my resume on LinkedIn.

I 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 part-time at the Vermont Fire Academy.

So, Uh, What the Heck is a Surfacist?

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 with flat planes, or surfaces. But in a more figurative sense, I see all the visual work I produce as a surface. Designers often 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 the reflection of a building in a pond, an image lacking depth: a surface. Is it beautiful or ugly? Graceful or awkward? Compelling or uninteresting? All of these judgements are passed on a simple visual impression. As the designer, that surface impression is my purview. Thinking about design this way, the work assumes a painterly quality. Concept and execution become interwoven– the brushstorkes are the painting, the surface that you see. This is how I like to think about my work. 

Contact Information

6019 Vermont Route 30, Pawlet, Vermont 05761   
(802) 325-7070   |   jon@surfacist[dot]com   |   LinkedIn   |   Vimeo