MEET #1412 JON CONTINO
Illustrator/Designer/Letterer • New York, NY
New York native Jon Contino is widely know for his unique illustration style which combines old and new world aesthetics into a modern, minimalist style imitated the world over. His work reveals the influences of historical New York, contemporary street art, and the lost art of hand-drawn lettering. Through these images, his story is also told as designer and consultant for many brands including Nike, Jack Daniels, JCPenney, New Balance, Rachael Ray, and Random House, as well as the co-founder and creative director of CXXVI Clothing Co.
1. How long have you been freelancing?
I started freelancing as a part time job in 1997 and worked through high school and college doing stuff for small businesses and independent record labels. I bounced around a couple agencies in 2005 and 2006 until I opened a studio that lasted until 2010. I went back to full time freelancing in early 2010 and haven't looked back.
2. Is there a time or place that you feel most creative/have the best ideas?
I used to think it was late at night because that's when I get the highest volume of work done, but I realized that's just because no one is emailing me or calling at 3am. Once I realized that, I found out that my actual flow of ideas is pretty constant throughout the day, it's just a matter of finding the time to get them on paper.
3. What's your ideal Working:Not Working ratio?
It used to be 100:0, but now that I'm a dad, it should probably be less than that.
4. Do your parents understand what you do?
I'm one of those lucky people that have great parents that are not only supportive, but completely understand what happens in my professional life. Both my mother and father are creative people so they're always interested in what's going on. The best part about it though is that I get to learn a lot from them instead of rolling my eyes and making up stuff to get them off my back.
5. What scene from a movie makes you laugh just thinking about it?
One of the opening scenes from Artie Lange's Beer League when the old pitcher yells to the dugout "Hey, I don't want any of you Italians drinking out of my water bottle!" It's a quick little joke, but it kills me every time I think about it.
6. If you were stranded on a desert island, with your computer, what 3 websites would you take with you?
Lookwork — For looking at stuff to inspire.
Svpply — For looking at stuff to buy.
Tumblr — For looking at whatever else.
7. What do you do when Not Working?
There's one of three things that I like doing when I'm not working: Spend time with my family, play Wiffle Ball, and go to the beach. Sometimes I can do all three at the same time.
8. Do you have a hidden talent?
Funny I should mention Wiffle Ball in the previous answer, because my hidden talent is that I am the greatest Wiffle Ball player OF ALL TIME.
9. Any tips or advice for fellow freelancers?
Freelance means you have no job security. No matter how popular you get, do not forget that. YOU HAVE NO JOB SECURITY. Don't get lazy.
10. What's your favorite thing on the internet this week?
I've been really into the new version of Flipboard on the iPad. It lets you create "magazines" from just about any source so I've jumped ship from my Tumblr inspiration blog to a Flipboard magazine and love every second of it. It feels a lot more tactile in the magazine format with the handheld screen, so curating stuff is a lot more satisfying. If you're reading this on an iOS device, then you can see my Flipboard magazine "BORN FREE" at this link: http://flip.it/3wuot