Deer Dairy:: End of Year Report 2016

I ended 2016 with a bang of creative output. It felt good. But I was burned out a bit so i transitioned in to the new year by drinking a lot of beer, sleeping all day, and then playing around 7 days straight of Star Wars: Battlefront.

Looking forward to that 12:00 RESET. Hello 2017.

Next, I came up with something sweet for the end of an otherwise bitter year. I shot all of these cats and pups with the client's phone camera. 

Justin Long aims to nail interview in hopes of landing a gig directing Huawei commercials. 

Client: Huawei

Agency: Blast Radius
Executive Creative Director: Scott Yanzy
Group Creative Director: Bumper Caroll
Associate Creative Director: Kyle Kartz
Art Director: Mawk Wetzel
Copywriter: Katie Notovny
Account Director: Jessica Grizzell
Strategic Planner: Kara Mullikin
Project Manager: Lindsay Howard

Post Production: Odd Machine
Director: Seth Henrikson
Editor: Chris Shegich

Here are some illustrations i've created for the production so far. Don't know if we'll use them all or not but they're fun to do.


Deer Dairy:: 11/30/16

It's hard to believe I've been freelancing at the same place for so long but I have been. And I wouldn't have stayed in the same place for such a long time if I hated it. I don't. 

Blast Radius (previously called Design Kitchen) is a small and scrappy shop-with some cool clients-under Wunderman/Y&R Brands. They've given me a lot of creative freedom and trust to make cool things. 

Like when they sent me to LA to photograph a red carpet event...

I got to create a bunch of videos. When asked to create a simple static post, I instead created full videos. Sure, they could be higher fidelity, but I did them with limited time and resources, so lay off.

I created illustrated and animated a bunch of characters because people like GIFs. 

And I've done a bunch of motion graphics too. It's been a fun and busy bit of time. 

Oh, I also recently co-created this video with CJ Cook.


Hope in Happiness is the first track off of Blane Fonda's upcoming EP Honest Cheater to be released this Winter. The song takes on common themes within Blane's music, such as dealing with the weight of the world in one's own mind and in reality.

Inktober, 2016

What a month full of Grobblings. Fall is my favorite season of the year and thankfully we've had one this year, albeit it is probably due to the beginning of the end of the world.

This year, i completed Craig Gleeson's Bad Guys Club Inktober Challenge which means I did a drawing every day for 31 days. Phew. I'm never drawing again.

Mawk & The Dark Rainbow

Beginning on March 14th I started working for myself. I left the comfort of a full-time job at a reputable advertising agency because I felt stifled, anxious, underutilized and frustrated at the amount of actual creative work I was doing: Why devote so much time, heart and soul in to something that wasn't fulfilling?

I'm happy to have a moment after two and a half months of non-stop, often times, double-booked freelance to report that it's going well. I busted my ass for those several weeks to reap a healthy bank account and afford me some time to SLEEP, road trip with friends and (start to) get my life in order. 

A quick recap: after a nice vacation with family in Las Vegas and Breckenridge I came home to Chicago to quickly begin work. I had the pleasure of working remotely on a pitch with Oakland-based EVB. I got to reunite with one of my favorite creative leads: The Beautifully Wonderful Valerie Carlson.

It was fun pitching HULU and putting my overall creative skill set to work creating entertaining video pieces which were proposed to air on social media. Although they ultimately did not win the pitch, I was told they really liked and may produce a couple of my serialized content pieces: namely HULU's Got Swears! and (Not A) SPOILER ALERT. The executions are rough (essentially rough animatics), but you get the idea how fun these would be if fully developed. 

Concept, Writer, Director

Concept, Writer, Director, All Voices

Concept, Writer, Director, All Voices

Concept, Writer, Director, All Voices

Created entirely

Concept, Director

Around this time, I was also working on a few T-shirt designs. I cranked out a cool design which my client liked a lot and bought immediately and then contracted me for four more designs. Little did I know she would send countless notes of feedback and take up a lot of my time while, ultimately, not buying any more designs which left me with $150 dollars for around 40 hours of design work. 

FIRST LESSON LEARNED: Be clear of expectations and get things in writing.

I got paid to sit around for a couple days waiting for work at a place called InTouch Solutions. After a couple of days they realized the project they brought me in for was on hold indefinitely. I got paid for my time and we went our separate ways. They had a cool office and good work. I hope I can go back. Especially since I left my charger there.

Luckily, Razorfish reached out to me and needed an extra hand for a pitch they were working on. I loved being back in that office. The people who were still there, the beers on tap, the wonderful creative space and sunny windows, they all made me feel right back at home. I came up with and executed an area that would help them get to round 2 of said pitch.

Illustrator, designer, director, jingle writer and performer, concept. Animated by Shane Swinnea.

I was actually double-booked at this time. JB (Johnny Boy, INC) reached out to me for a quick design job thanks to a referral from my awesome lady friend Amber. I helped them rebrand a high-end Hot-Pocket-esqe package. I designed, illustrated and shot some product. I even wrote a little copy. They ended up buying the chalkboard execution.

I'm pretty sure it was around this time that CJ Cook, Mike Bove and myself started shooting a music video for Blane Fonda. I made a Pig Man mask and wrote the story. Hopefully, I'll be blogging about the finished product before too long. 

Ding, ding, ding! Round 2! And back to Razorfish I went. This time around I was more of a creator than a director, but it was still fun making stuff. Strangely enough, this round, I was more or less an animator. 

Editor, Designer, Illustrator, Animator

After the Razorfish pitch I would be recruited by a friend of mine to help transition some desktop designs to mobile at an agency called MERGE. The site was for a company called Rubicon. They're doing some really interesting things with waste management. Check them out. 

Unfortunately, I would only be there for a few days before hearing some bad news: my grandmother passed away. Being my own boss, and having had some intense work months leading to this, I decided to cut my contract short and travel to PA to be with my family. After that, I went on a road trip with four of my closest friends.

We started in Chicago and made stops in Nashville, Little Rock, Austin, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, Some shit RV park, and finally Omaha. There are too many great stories from that trip to detail. But, notably, on our second day–during a vision quest–the beautiful blue sky was traded for grey thunder clouds which made way for a beautiful, dark rainbow. I had been searching for a name for my new company and this one just made sense. In all of its beauty and uncertainty, this rainbow somehow shined beautifully against the backdrop of dark, violent skies. And, thusly, Dark Rainbow Creative was born.