Jonny Warren- Visual Artist and UX Designer
In 2018 traditional career paths are being challenge in every industry including those in creative fields. There is a constant flow of new and emerging talent transitioning from one medium to another and finding overlap success. Jonny Warren is a UX designer, Visual Artist, and Musician. Although it can be argued that his path is somewhat of tradition earning a BFA in Studio Art, his career path to success has been anything other than conventional.
Born in Hawaii and into a Navy family, Jonny grew up moving throughout the Pacific USA and finally settling in Florida. Jonny described himself as a quiet child with supportive parents that allowed him to pursue many interests throughout his adolescence. In his youth Jonny spent hours drawing comics and recalls his first professional desire was to become an animator. A passion for visual art ignited within him when he discovered Anime. It was Hayao Miyazaki famous for films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke who brought new depth and awareness to the potential that existed within visual art. Jonny shared, “Miyazaki is one of the few people now that still does hand drawn animation. As a kid I was inspired by his work and how he develops immersive worlds.” The ability to story tell and share ideas pushed Jonny to explore beyond the boundaries of what was known to him.
Jonny’s second creative outlet for music also developed early on. First learning to play the clarinet and then moving onto the bass. He spent much of his childhood with friends and family playing and writing music which to this day is something you can find him doing in his free time.
When attending Florida State University, Jonny believed his natural step was to major in music. Shortly after undergoing the rigorous program, he realized music education wasn’t compelling and changed directions to a Fine Arts program. All the while his parents supported his decision and encouraged him to choose a career that would make him most fulfilled.
“As long as I can remember I was drawing. I’m glad I chose to study Fine Art because it opened up this whole new world where before I had felt very limited. It taught me to conceptualize the work that I did.”
Jonny’s love for Atlanta developed while he and his wife were in college. They would often travel to Atlanta for events and concerts enjoying their weekends in city. Once completing their degrees and with a strong desire to leave Florida, he and his wife opened a map. After debating over the possibilities, Atlanta stood out as the obvious choice. “We loved it here, the art scene seemed very welcoming, and I thought that it would be a good place to pursue art. After living here over seven years a lot has changed. There has been a lot of development. I’ve also seen galleries open to then close. However the active art scene has still remained. Being here long enough it has been pretty cool to see artists who have grown and it is also inspiring to me. Its an example that if you hustle you can make it in Atlanta.”
Soon after moving to Atlanta Jonny was introduced to UX through a friend. Curiosity once again had peeked and he enrolled in a coding camp at Iron Yard. The collaboration between design and product building allowed him to fulfill his creative drive while building something bigger than himself. He says, a lot of art can be self-serving and this field allows him to step outside of that.
Jonny has been involved in many projects throughout the city most notably Forward Warrior. You can find some of his work in Cabbagetown accompanied alongside the work of other talented artists. After a period of consistent visual art commissions it was a consciously made decision by Jonny to step away from creating art and reflect on his goals.
“I wanted to take a step back and recharge because I didn’t have the inspiration. Right now I’ve been using new mediums such as drawing on black paper and using silver ink. I’ve stepped out of my usual work flow and now I have a couple murals that I’m working on.”
What can seemingly be perceived as work overload, Visual Artist, UX designer, and Muscian, this feeds into Jonny’s creativity. He appreciates the ability to delve deep to explore an idea or the opportunity to work with new mediums keeping things fresh. For Jonny this multi-disciplinary schedule works for him.