2: Justin Katz
When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So in celebration of our Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.
Justin Katz is a five-time Emmy Award-winning motion design director, producer and editor at Flock of Pixels. With a BFA in Film & Animation from RIT, a career start in brand identity at Landor, and an ad agency education from JWT--he later headed out west on a whim and has been loving it here ever since.
Justin often gives talks on motion design around the country and founded MGPHX. His client list includes: AIGA, Apple, American Express, Brand New Conference, Canon, Coca-Cola, Coldstone, Cox, Del Monte, Goodwill, Honda, iGo, Insight, Kibbles n Bits, Kotex, Lulan, Massage Envy, Milk-bone, Phoenix Coyotes, Sylvan Learning, & Taser to name a few. Justin currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Liz, dog Dave, and eats way too many burritos.
I came to Phoenix with an optimistic outlook and a question for my wife, "Can we be desert people?" We took a chance and moved from NYC, determined to find out. Over six years later, we are still here and our love for this place has grown 100 fold, especially after moving Downtown. The people of Phoenix are really what's kept us here, though (well, the awesome happy hours helped too). Here, you walk into a store and an employee will ask "Can I help you?" and they are being completely genuine! You have to struggle to find that level of friendly in other parts of the world. I walk the city a lot, and each time without fail I'll get neighborly nods and even greetings from strangers. Did I mention how amazing the concept of "reverse" happy hour is too?
I make art because it's fun! I literally get paid to make cartoons and bring stuff to life. I've got a couple of personal projects that have been shelved due to timing, but will hopefully be brought to life in 2013.
I'm most productive when ... there is a deadline fast approaching or when it's a passion project. There is something that happens to my brain when I'm under serious pressure -- I love it -- I get this tunnel vision and can work incredibly fast.
My inspiration wall is full of ... visual mazes. I tend to collect art that is aesthetically very complex with lots of small details -- the kind that you don't see unless you really start examining a piece. It's great to have them on your wall so you can always open your eyes to finding something new -- it's all about perspective and keeping an open mind. Most of the stuff I collect now is digital, though, and goes into inspiration folders per project. I like to take all the content I can -- look at it a few times, then store it away and forget about it to let my subconscious take over.
I've learned the most from the people I've worked with. The jobs I do are rarely just me working alone -- I work with a team of highly skilled designers, artists, animators, and sound designers to deliver what we feel the client needs for the specific project. When you can work with your friends and form teams based on deep trust and respect it will always be fun.
Good work should always tell a story, make a statement, and have a concept. A piece can be amazing (visually), but unless it delivers a story or consistent message -- it's going to be shit. I usually spend more of my time with clients in pre-production to make sure we have a solid concept rather than on actual animation production.
The Phoenix creative scene could use more love. Love from ourselves and others. We've got some killer talent here- not only in the commercial art world, but fine art as well. Take for instance my CPA neighbor who just happens to also be an amazing potter who was featured at the Botanical Garden. Lately, I feel like everyone I've been meeting is an artist. Downtown just has this great vibe happening now -- go anywhere and the room will be dominated by creatives. Go to Third Fridays and support other artists, buy some art, be happy, and show some love.
The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)
100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe 80. Heidi Abrahamson 79. Josephine Davis 78. Travis Ladue 77. Taz Loomans 76. Mikey Jackson 75. Alex Empty 74. Joe Ray 73. Carol Roque 72. Daniel Funkhouser 71. Carla Chavarria 70. Hugo Medina 69. Cavin Costello 68. Claire Carter 67. Lindsay Tingstrom 66. Catherine Ruane 65. Christopher Crosby 64. Aaron Johnson 63. Brenda Eden 62. Colton Brock 61. Ernesto Moncada 60. Benjamin Phillips 59. Brad Armstrong 58. Angela Hardison 57. Tyler Quinn 56. Andrew James Benson 55. Charles Anthony Darr 54: Tiffe Fermaint 53. Eric Cox 52. Victor Vasquez 51. John Randall Nelson 50. Lauren Lee 49. Kyle Jordre 48. Julie C. Kent 47. Sean Deckert 46. Niba DelCastillo 45. Joseph Benesh 44. Ashley Harder 43. Dan Vermillion 42. Daniel Shepherd 41. James B. Hunt 40. Lori Fenn 39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen 38. Wayne Rainey 37. Christian Filardo 36. Melissa Cody 35. Jason Rudolph Peña 34. Cindy Iverson 33. Ryan Gentry 32. Sebastien Millon 31. Andrea Beesley 30. Chris Pruitt 29. Robert Diehl 28. Rachel Malloy 27. Jonathan Simon 26. Ann Morton 25. Kim Moody 24. Kevin Flanagan 23. Such and Champ Styles 22. Julia Fournier 21. Rebecca Green 20. Jules Demetrius 19. Averian Chee 18. Sara Cochran 17. Daniel Mills 16. Nina Miller 15. Robert Brandan Martinez 14. Rachel Bowditch 13. Ashley Macias 12. Eddie Sparr 11. Bob Roman 10. Melinda Bergman 9. Emily Stergar 8. Tomas Stanton 7. Becky Nahom 6. Jordon Roberts 5. Mary Stephens 4. Frank Gonzales 3. Jacob Meders
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