An Interview with Jay Shuster – Part 2

Last time on Bright IIDeAs, Jay Shuster shared his experience working at Pixar Animation Studios alongside a highly creative and talented group of people. It’s a company that fosters each employee’s thoughts which allows them to work to their full potential, creating films that advance technology and entertain. The key elements to Jay’s creative process are his dedication to physical models, preference for basic tools, and hand drawn approaches to brainstorming. In a society that praises the latest design platforms and computer-based methods, pencil to paper skills are often pushed aside, but Jay has held onto this trait which is why his work has become so memorable.

Growing up with a father who is a 43 year veteran at GM gave Jay a deep understanding of manufacturing and how every part fits together to make a finished product. The creative direction of a movie is very similar and begins with the critical stage of modeling. Jay advances in foam core modeling which has resulted in an office that is packed with 3D set ideas and characters from past projects. Getting rid of these and replacing them with a streamlined desk and computer is a foreign concept to Jay and is something that has allowed for a number of “happy accidents” and brainstorming breakthroughs. Luckily, Pixar encourages this way of work and understands that ideas can be sparked by a number of different personal discoveries. Another way that Jay has stayed in touch with his drawing skills is his dedication to using only preset tools when it comes to his graphic design. Countless brush add-ons allow for work that doesn’t even need to be sketched in real life and while this is a viable way to work, Jay feels that the basic tools highlight a designer’s natural artistic abilities. As Jay has advanced to his art directing role he hasn’t lost touch with the methods that have made him the talented creative he is today. He now has the chance to show his teams different ways to work that can result in unexpected and incredible outcomes.

Jay Shuster is the Keynote Speaker at Leader’s Breakfast in September. Make sure to buy your tickets to this year’s event here.

Jaclyn Giuliano, IIDA
Herman Miller

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