Alum Makes Creative Waves
Is it possible to land a huge corporate ad campaign using mostly Popsicle sticks and glitter pens? Ask Jeremy Hollister ’96 (political science), founder, president and creative director of Plus et Plus, an innovative creative services studio in New York, and he’ll point to their JetBlue account. Since 2002 Plus et Plus has made a big name for itself in visual design and direction, editing, visual effects, animation, product design, and production.
In the five short years since Plus et Plus came into being, Hollister and his partner, artist Judy Wellfare, have seen their work featured around the world. They have published a book. And the team—which now includes ten employees—has moved to a swank new Chelsea office. Essentially, Plus et Plus has been chosen to create advertising and branding concepts for everyone from Coke to Volvo.
On the broadcast side, Plus et Plus has worked with top networks including MTV, USA Networks, SciFi Channel, ESPN, and VOOM. They did a complete on-air reface for AMC, which was based around the network’s tagline, “The Future of Classic.” The eclectic mix featured network IDs, image spots, stunts and promotional toolkit systems, franchise packaging, navigation toolkit, color palettes and typography, as well as a plethora of off-air collateral including business cards, stationary, merchandise, and Web site concepts. Numerous awards have come to Plus et Plus, including Promax, BDA, I.D., Art Directors Club, and International Telly.
Hollister also is curator and organizer of “A Nice Set,” a wildly diverse new art exhibition for which he selected visual artists with a particular passion for music. The traveling exhibition features 33 1/3 artists (the 1/3 being ten-year-old Maceo Villareal, based on age) from around the world. Venues include Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong, Berlin, London, Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Singapore.
In short, Hollister and his company are hot. But he remains philosophical. “In this competitive business, you are only as good as your last project.” But it seems Hollister has been on a roll since graduation from UMass Amherst—and some would say even before then.
“As an undergraduate I specialized in post-modern and media theory,” Hollister says. “I was really interested in animation, and convinced my professors to let me present my term work using a visually animated format instead of written papers.” It seems to have worked exceedingly well. Hollister graduated summa cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
“At this point I started researching real-time video mixing systems,” Hollister recalls. He spent a year at the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois Chicago. There he studied immersive virtual reality environments with early video performance artist Dan Sandin. The lab developed the CAVE, a cube in which several individuals simultaneously experience a virtual, three-dimensional world. It is on exhibition in Linz, Austria, at ARS Electronica and Siggraph Museum of the Future.
It didn’t take long for Hollister’s personal work to show up on the global arts scene. In 1999 and again in 2001, it was featured in the ResFest film festival that travels around the world. In 2000 Hollister’s creations appeared in onedotzero, a cross-media production company in the UK that explores new forms of moving image and celebrates the next generation of creators. In conjunction with his successes there, he had two works included in an exhibition at the Saatchi and Saatchi Gallery in Tokyo in 2001. His installation Peacekeeping was exhibited at Zakka in New York, and Hollister has made speaking appearances at various conferences, and been a judge for IdN Decade Design Awards in Hong Kong. Recently, with Plus et Plus, he worked on a large-scale mural commissioned for the Coke Museum in Atlanta.
The multi-talented Hollister also was the live action director for a film he designed for contemporary American composer Steve Reich. Titled Music for 18 Musicians, the visual soundscape features the duo Coldcut’s remix of Reich’s song. The live action images of landscapes and people with geometric graphic elements have brought Hollister much recognition. He has also directed films for the Robin Hood Foundation and a music video for Matthew Dear. With the Plus et Plus team, he is currently working for the UN in Ivory Coast on a film to promote a roadmap to peace. This is bringing together commercial work with applied theory and philosophy that led Hollister to art in the first place.
“I have a pretty eclectic personality and enjoy change and evolution,” Hollister says. “Getting my start at UMass Amherst was great because it was big enough to allow for different options while still feeling small and intimate. But the range of opportunities was the biggest thing for me—it helped me define my fairly unique career path. Though I majored in political science, I worked in the art department to learn animation and design, and at WMUA I was the art director, which supported my design side. I sampled many other disciplines, from computer science to Spanish to political theory. I gained a wealth of knowledge and places to draw from in my professional work.”
December 4, 2007