My name is Jonathan Weiss. I’m a commercial artist specializing in motion graphic animation.
As a one-person shop, I am a writer, a director, a graphic designer, an illustrator and an animator– sometimes all at once. This free-ranging practice allows me to develop projects from a blank screen and an idea all the way out to release-ready video, delivering tremendous flexibility and efficiency for my clients. I pair these creative skills with an extensive technical skillset, working principally in Adobe After Effects.
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, product demonstrations, 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 and robust formal training to my work. I have been full-time freelance since 2003, and my practice has been focused on motion graphic animation since 2007. I hold a Masters degree in Fine Art from the Design+Technology program at Parsons and a BA 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 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 started as a joke, but has come to both describe and inform my practice. As a 2D animator I am a specialist in working with flat planes, or surfaces. But in a more figurative sense, I see animated work itself as a surface. When someone watches the work, 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 pond: a surface.
This is the idea I like to keep in mind as I approach my work.