Kicking off this Creator Spotlight series is none other than Jay Sprogell, a New York-based director and photographer known for his unique blend of visuals in animation, collage, photography. Jay's work has a strong aesthetic that captivates and holds your attention. It’s bright, punchy, vivid, and fun.
Jay answers questions about his creative path, his process for making unique visuals, where he finds inspiration, and advice he would give to up and coming creatives. Without revealing too much upfront, let’s step into the world of Jay Sprogell.
“I appreciate you taking the time Jay, can you share a bit about your background and what led you into the creative industry?”
Jay: "I started out as an assistant editor for a now defunct production company back in 2008. After a few years, right when it was becoming obvious things were winding down, Canon was just starting to release the 5D Mark IIs and the 7Ds that were getting great video quality. In an effort to start creating things I was actually proud of / had my own voice / etc - I just began shooting whatever I could. That snowballed and I worked for another (also now defunct) production company, but have been freelancing for the better part of the last 15 years."
“Your work reaches across so many different creative avenues - photography, collage, animation, video editing - as someone who’s multi-hyphenated, how do you describe what you do when people ask?”
Jay: "I always used to say “I just want to make cool stuff” and then for whatever reason I thought that sounded too immature or unfocused…so I stopped saying it. But now that it’s a new year, and I’ve had some big shifts in my personal life, I am revisiting that tagline, if you will. At the end of the day I like making things. When I feel like I’m getting in a slump with video, I’ll go take some pictures. If I get bored with pictures, I’ll make a collage. They are all related, so they all inform each other creatively. I never feel like I am doing something that is super far removed from anything else. It’s a nice little creative ecosystem."
"Where do you draw inspiration from? Are there any particular people, eras, or experiences that have significantly influenced or shaped you?”
Jay: "Generally speaking, I love something about taking an older image or advertisement that’s had its time in culture and then reconfiguring it. At the same time, I’m also really drawn to just great cinematography and simple compositions. When I was growing up, I would always stay up late watching movies on HBO and I know the word “cinematic” gets thrown around too much these days, but something about a great shot really speaks to me. In terms of direct inspiration - I don’t know if I necessarily pull from one specific person or another, but I will look at something and say “oh I like that use of color and texture” or “that’s a really cool shot” and try to bring elements from all over into my work."
"What has been the most challenging aspect of your work, and what do you do to overcome it?"
Jay: "Great question. For the most part, my body of work is stuff that has been just me. Shot / Edited / Animated by Jay Sprogell is what’s under a lot of the things in my portfolio. While part of me loves that because of the creative control and the fact that I get to take a more big picture approach to a given project - I sometimes think “you know wow, what if I had a more talented cinematographer shoot this? Or a better editor? or animator?” Trying to get more talented collaborators involved is probably at the top of my list of things to do in the next year."
"What advice would you give to aspiring creatives who wish to follow a similar path?"
Jay: "Just going out there and making something that is specifically yours is the most important thing. Even if it’s not that great, or doesn’t end up being what you want it to be. Being able to talk about something you’ve made in a way that gets you excited, shows people that you actually care."
“Any upcoming projects you are working on that you're excited about?"
Jay: "I was very busy leading up to the holidays so I’m pressing the reset button at the moment. But I have a few personal projects that I have put on the back burner that are ready to get made."
"Jay, thanks for taking the time today. Where can people follow you and check out more of your work?”