2022 Hot New Things: Jason Barnes, Media Design School
Each summer DA profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. We welcome these talented emerging professionals to our industry, learn about their passions, final projects, developing creative confidence and ambitions for the future.
Today we speak with Jason Barnes, from Media Design School. You can find out more about Aotearoa NZ creative study options by visiting our design schools page.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I recently completed the Graduate Diploma of Creative Technologies (GDCT) course at Media Design School majoring in Motion Design. I’ve always been fascinated by complex storytelling and the power of video to communicate ideas in emotive ways. After a Masters in Architecture from University of Auckland, and 4+ years of work experience as an Architectural Designer, I have taken the opportunity to transfer my interests into this new area of design. Interdisciplinary and explorative design is what interests me most.
What did your graduating project focus on?
My capstone project, ‘Memories of Water’ was a tribute to my late father’s story, using water and its changing states as a metaphor for his journey. The narrative of the final motion piece is guided by the voices of my family and the final aesthetic is that of a ‘living journal’. Watercolour illustrations and reflective writing emerge from the page and flow through a sequence of crystallised memories. It was primarily a project of reflection and experimentation and while it is a very personal story, it addresses widely relatable themes of interconnected contrast- health and illness, past and present, impermanence and everlastingness.
Why did you choose to study at MDS?
As this was my second round of tertiary education and I was making a quick jump between industries, I wanted to make sure I used my time wisely. I heard a lot of great things first-hand from MDS alumni, and I found everything to be true – the faculty are super passionate and will go out of their way to support you, the course is structured to get you ready for the industry and the project briefs are exciting and prepare you with fundamental skills and experiences to get you started. Of course the brand new, purpose built campus in Wynyard quarter was a big bonus too!
What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?
I’ve gained valuable experience and made good friends along the way. I’ve come to see that one of the essential ingredients in design is the love of what you are doing. When you find a way to weave your own passions into the project briefs, you can end up with a unique outcome that is authentic and also fun to work on.
Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?
My studies were filled with them, and that’s what I love most about design- the exploration of possibilities. I enjoyed having the chance to experiment with different methods, techniques and it’s interesting how in life no experience is ever wasted- I found my architectural background influenced a lot of my design decisions and final outcomes.
Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick design as a career path?
Growing up, my Dad believed in me more than I believed in myself. He turned his passion for sailing into a career and always encouraged me to do the same- to make a career out of what I enjoy most. When he passed away at the end of 2020, it was a strong reminder that life is too short to wonder ‘what if’. What I really wanted to do was share stories and ideas through Motion Design and my capstone project is a tribute to his continual support and encouragement. I’m a big believer in finding a way to pursue a career surrounding your unique interests.
How (if at all) do your interests outside of design inform the work in your portfolio?
Nature has always been my biggest source of inspiration and I’m sure that is quite clear from my portfolio. As a result, the primary themes that recur throughout my portfolio are probably ‘interconnectedness’ and ‘cycles’. I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years as I like to learn from different cultures, traditions and environments. The work I produce is deeply inspired by my own life experience as I believe the most impactful design outcomes emerge when you draw upon your own authentic story.
What does your creative process look like?
My process is generally fluid but seems to follow a distinct pattern. I like to start with big picture ideas, themes and possibilities before moving into a range of in-depth expressive experiments. After that, I will usually take a moment to reflect, connect the dots, and identify the patterns that could form the design framework. From there it becomes more about crafting and refining. However, I always allow room for experimentation because that’s where the greatest discoveries come from!
What’s next for you?
I’m an eternal student. I love to learn, so I’m looking for opportunities to improve my skills and abilities in Motion Design and as a storyteller. Going forward, I hope to collaborate on design projects that can inspire, uplift and connect.
How can people get in touch or see more of your work?
I’m always happy to share discussions about design ideas and can be contacted via LinkedIn or email- firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more of my work here: https://jasonbarnes.space/