Jonathan Kenyon

PTW2019_JONATHAN_KENYON

CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, VAULT49, NEW YORK NY

As Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director of Vault49, Jonathan Kenyon has remained committed to fostering an environment that provides a home for the finest creative minds, while attracting clients who want to push the boundaries. With a deep commitment to cultural diversity, crafted process, and efficient brand strategy, Jonathan guides the agency’s strategic direction and oversees its creative health, while remaining actively involved in core projects for clients such as Pepsico, Diageo and Heineken. He sees the guiding principles of Vault49 as to do good work, ensure the world sees it, forget ego and get along with others, bring your passion and collaborate with the best. Jonathan started the agency with John Glasgow during their final year at the London College of Printing in 2002, where he graduated with first class honors in Graphic & Media Design and where the pair became internationally recognized street artists. Over 15 years, Jonathan and John have built Vault49 into the globally renowned and successful agency it is today.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Huddersfield, England and now live in Soho NYC.

DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
London College of Printing, now the London College of Communication

LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
Right-handed and left-footed!

MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
Night owl. I rarely want a day to end and I’ll often get lost in research (or eBay) late at night.

FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU IDENTIFY WITH?
Any Victorian chimney-sweep; I’ll go with Tom from the Water Babies.

ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
I am convinced that I am an extremely talented pianist in waiting, but have yet to begin taking lessons. I am otherwise woefully inadequate musically.

FAVORITE BOOK?
Are you trying to hack into my bank account? I’ll give you my second-favorite book – Perfume: the Story of a Murderer.

FAVORITE MOVIE?
Trainspotting

FAVORITE TV BINGE WATCH?
The Sopranos

FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?
I’m an Instagram lurker. I post little content, but enjoy seeing what my friends are up to.

FAVORITE PODCAST?
99% Invisible

FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
Rachel Whiteread

FAVORITE CHARITY OR CAUSE?
Planned Parenthood

FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
Few of life’s challenges that can’t be overcome by a good walk.

COLLECT ANYTHING?
Nothing specific, but I do like interesting artefacts and general oddities. Things that have been crafted by long-forgotten hands.

WHICH AREA OF GRAPHIC DESIGN IS GROWING THE MOST?
Motion content, unquestionably.

DESIGN MENTOR/INSPIRATION/HERO?
Sam Summerskill, the head of Bernstein & Andriulli’s London office and a dear friend, for his creative eye, unwavering optimism, ability to see a rich creative tapestry that others often cannot, combined with his ability to monetize his passions and make them real.

GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
Self-doubt is often a challenge, and in that respect I’m no different to most creatives. My greatest strength is a love of research – I enjoy disappearing down rabbit holes to unearth lost stories, uncover gems, and learn everything there is to know about something … (yes, in a somewhat obsessive way!)

ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Work harder than your peers; build a network of fun, talented collaborators; work without ego but make sure what you do is seen by the right people.

IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I can conceive of so many paths for fulfilment within the ‘design’ profession that considering an alternative career is hard to get my head around.

A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
“Don’t be a dickhead.”

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