ScreenViews: Meet Jean Tanis, Creative Director, Symbologist & Jerk Chicken Connoisseur

We recently sat down with Jean Tanis, Creative Director with Fitzgerald & Co. in Atlanta, Georgia. He has created a number of campaigns from Coca Cola to the US Marines & is a part of the brainchild behind the recent Checker’s/Rally’s films, including “Buy Back the Block“, which won a slew of creative awards including a Silver Cannes Lion in Entertainment for Music, a Bronze Cannes Lion in PR, and a One Show Pencil in the Cultural Driver category. He gave us some insight into the world of advertising, his go-to-foods and who’d narrate the biopic of his life. 

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Where are you from?

Growing up I’ve lived everywhere major cities to rodeo farms, but I call Atlanta my home.

  • How did you get started in the industry?

I kind of fell into it honestly. I’ve always been obsessed with Symbology; especially religious symbology. I’m by no means religious, but I was always amazed how these creative manifestations drove people to such emotional, visceral reactions. So I got really interested in visual communications. Which then led me to design, and that of course led to art direction, then creative direction etc etc and here we are.

  • Did you always know that you wanted to work in advertising, or was there a specific moment that influenced you?

No I never even thought of it as a career choice. I tripped thru the rabbit hole and ended up here.

  • What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?

Well I have a two way tie. The Hot Hands Trippin Bear and 4LOKO Glory Hole.

  • What would you say are some of the main challenges that you face in your work right now?

Well by and large, the advertising industry is shrinking. Because of that, it’s in a frantic state of change. So the rapid change leaves the creative advertising fractured between the old and new. But the truth is, TV is fading and consumers are smarter. You have to come correct or they’ll call bullshit.

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  • What keeps you sane in this industry? What keeps you driven to do great work?

Who said I’m sane? That’s sweet.

  • Who are some of your Creative Heroes?

YEEZUS and Frank Lloyd Wright

  • What is a guilty pleasure/vice you can’t go without?

Jerk Chicken with a side of devil’s cabbage.

  • What TV shows are you watching right now?

Dirty Money, like LITERALLY right now.

  • If your life and career were a biopic, who’d narrate it? Who’d be on the soundtrack?

A Documentary of Extreme Mediocrity and Dramatic Flair by John Waters. Soundtrack would have features from Kanye, Kendrick, SOHN, Little Dragon, and 2 Chainz

  • What restaurant/food/dish from your hometown do people need to know about?

Jerk Chicken from All Island, Boiled Peanuts at Bonton, Whole Fish, from Octopus Bar, and wings fried hard from Magic City.

  • What’s in your fridge at this very moment?

Coconut water and slow smoked trout (homemade).

  • What one meal could you eat for the rest of your life?

JERK CHICKEN SPICY

  • If you could invite 3 people (living or dead) to share a meal with, who would that be?

Dave Chappelle, Prince, and Kanye


Check out more of Jean’s work at: http://www.jeanius.tv/

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