Jeff Rogers ('02) | Art & Design
SpotCo, New York City
Jeff Rogers has found what it takes to make it on Broadway - and it's not his acting ability.
Jeff ('02) is a graphic designer for SpotCo in New York City, and his job is to create key art for Broadway shows.
"SpotCo is arguably the most well known theatre-focused advertising agency," Jeff says. The company's current clients include more than 20 current Broadway shows and National Tours, as well Cirque du Soleil, The Disney Channel, The Guggenheim Museum and more.
"Day to day I am mostly working on art for various plays and musicals, but we get the occasional movie poster and book jacket too," he says.
Art of the matter
When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a cartoonist at Disney. But I think the job I have now is better than that.
Jeff's art becomes a relaxing hobby during his off time. "On the weekends I would much rather work on a new type painting or an idea for a book than watch TV," he says.
His personal work is focused on the process of creating, "which to me is usually drawing, painting, digital illustration and some photography," Jeff says.
He's also been doing typographic paintings and illustrations for the past couple of years.
"I love letterforms and expressing a word or phrase visually. So for that work I am really just retrying to quench the need to make stuff."
Jeff's professional and freelance work has been featured in Print Magazine, Communication Arts, Gestaltin's Playful Type 2, Chen Design Associate's FingerPrint 2 and Unit Edition's Supergraphics as well as many design websites and blogs.
As a designer in SpotCo's art department, Jeff usually has three or four projects going at once at various stages of completion.
"The lifecycle of a project varies with every show, but it usually takes roughly three months from start to finish - although a project is never really over until the show closes," he says.
Born to draw
Though Jeff has been "doodling" since he was old enough to hold a pencil, he did not start college with the goal of becoming an artist. He enrolled at the University of North Texas in 1997 as a music major, specializing in the snare drum.
"Eventually I decided that I didn't want to be a band director - which is what most music majors are forced to become after they graduate, or else suffer from severe starvation, or play country music," Jeff quips. "So I let music become my 'hobby.' "
Jeff transferred to Abilene Christian University the next year, where he changed his major to graphic design and "racked up a bunch of unnecessary music credits." He also played in several bands.
"I transferred to ACU because I wanted to study under professors who were believers and to be in smaller classes where I could hopefully get more personal attention," Jeff explains. "My twin brother was going there, and my parents went there, so that definitely had a lot to do with it too."
At ACU, Jeff earned his bachelor of fine arts. He also met his future wife, Allison Seibert ('02), who graduated with a BFA in theatre and just finished a stint working in wardrobe for "West Side Story."
Detour through Texas
Jeff's route after graduation took him on a tour through Texas with country music artist Aaron Watson and into several graphic design jobs before landing at SpotCo.
Being surrounded by amazing friends and teachers at ACU who challenged my faith and supported me made a huge impact on my life.
Though he wasn't a big country music fan, Jeff couldn't resist the invitation to tour with Watson.
"My good friend Dylan Sneed - an amazing singer/songwriter and ACU alumnus - and I were asked to join Aaron on the road for the summer," Jeff says. "We played all over Texas, and at that point in his career we were opening shows for some of the biggest acts in the Texas Country scene (Pat Greene, Kevin Fowler, Cooder Graw and many others) and making peanuts.
"It's funny because I really didn't like country music at all, but I feel like I learned a lot in the experience and definitely have a better understanding and appreciation of the genre.
"Dylan and I said goodbye to the band about a year later in order to get 'real jobs' and use our degrees. I was thinking of asking my girlfriend to marry me, so I felt like I couldn't be making $3 a month any more."
Jeff left the band and got his first design job with Southwestern Bell, now AT&T.
"Aaron still says that he is going to get us back in the band someday," Jeff says. "We're still friends, and I am very proud of him and his success. He's making a little bit more money now."
Taste of the Big Apple
Jeff and Allison married in 2004 and moved to New York City in 2008. Jeff landed the job with SpotCo through an ACU connection. "The ACU family reaches very far and wide, and it is a strong family," he says.
Jeff has found the Big Apple "a land of amazing opportunity and amazing numbers of passionate believers - and lots of Texans. And the food – gracious. For an artist, it is the mecca. I would not have had as much success in my career as I've had the last three years if I had not moved here."
Jeff is grateful for the academic foundation he got at ACU, "but I think what has been most valuable now are the relationships that I made while I was there," he says. "You're getting a very real, meaningful, spiritual foundation for your life that comes in the form of professors who care about you."
See Jeff's work at www.frogers.net/
See Jeff's 10 answers from Creative Minds
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