WORKAHOLIC // JARED FRANK

Jared Frank’s work looks effortless. And if I didn’t know him better I’d think that he just naturally threw impeccable visual experiences together. But I do know him well, and even though the results look fluid and easy, I’ve learned that they come from the constant grinding thought of a curious, knowledgeable, hard working guy.  

As Topsy Design, Jared works across borders from interior design to film to art direction to editorials (he even prop styled one for The WORK Magazine). And makes me question why we set up these barriers between different forms of visual expression. His current projects are a coming-of-age film set during the housing crisis, a retro-future retail store for H Lorenzo, and a handmade danish modern apartment in Beachwood Canyon.  

And if that doesn’t sound crazy enough, he’s already got his next few gigs lined up.  He’s planning to write a post-apocalyptic art film set in Cuba while designing a modernist/deco home in Connecticut. Dude needs to take a vacation. And he tells me he’s going to. As soon as the home is finished, he’s off to Cuba on a journey that will combine screenplay research with an eye towards design inspiration. As you can see, he’s a tough guy to describe, so I let him discuss what he’s up to in his own words…

anotherdayattheoffice

(Jared Frank – shot by Duncan Skiles)

WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST WORD TO DESCRIBE YOU?
One word to describe me: RAD. But I assume you really mean: one word to describe what I “do” career wise. If that’s the case, then I want to make a little argument here against one-word jobs. Any gig that can be boiled down to a single noun is probably something out-of-date, something that our grandparents could have done for a living: painter, journalist, architect. And my whole career is based around avoiding that kinda trap, which leads to working in a limited palette and making things which don’t relate to the multi-hyphenated world in which we live.

Now I realize that we need to communicate, so when pretty girls at parties ask me what I do, I tell them I work in design. Or sometimes, if I’m feeling like a charlatan, I say that I am an interior designer and a filmmaker. Then folks usually want to know which is the day job and which is the night job.  So I tell them that I’ve never had a day job. I suggest everyone stop having day jobs. Just have as many night jobs as necessary to pay for your day.

combined

(L: WORK Mag editorial –  photo is by JUCO. R: Patio design by Jared Frank & Sam Jacober, shot by Ryan Schude)

WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK?
My work is NOT inspired by a desire to express myself (I don’t even know what that means) or by muses, pretty tree, pretty girl ugh. Instead I’m interested in systems. Like a well functioning household or store. Or the ongoing political struggle in a post-apocalypti, nativistic island, and how that takes it’s toll on individuals and their sense of self.  

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT PROJECT:
My most recently completed gig, was my first commercial space, the newest H Lorenzo store in West Hollywood. Unlike my previous interiors, this one has a futurist quality, but in many ways it’s a retro future, recalling many 20th century pop phenomena including mid-century jet setter culture, science fiction sets and minimalism. Since that finished I’ve been working on a mid-century home that is inspired by the interiors that modern designers actually built for themselves. So it is much more rough-hewn and organic than what we generally think of when we think of mid-century design. No plastics, no plywood, instead clay plaster, live-edge walnut, organic linen, petrified wood. My client calls it his danish commune. Then next month I do an apartment that is primarily inspired by the bauhaus and deco movements but I’m trying to reach back from there to take in asian and african art and forward to the more severe designers of the 70s. In general, I have a rule, never create a reenactment. Nothing should feel like stepping back in time. Instead it should feel like journeying to a time that never existed but yet makes perfect sense.

KingswoodStill1

(Kingswood still – Jared Frank video direction)

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AS FAR AS FILM GOES?
I told you about the screenplay I’m writing. The other thing I’m doing is waiting to hear back from film festivals about the short I directed which looks at young kids in love and how they’re affected by the housing crisis. It deals with the theme of inheritance. As children we inherit the world our parents create. And our behavior is often shaped by their influence, or lack thereof. So when two kids try to love each other, they bring all that baggage and all those constraints to the task. And that’s why they generally fuck up so bad. I make that metaphor literal by having their love affair take place in the half-built houses of a stalled development.

patio i designed

(Jared Frank and Sam Jacober Patio design, shot by Ryan Schude)

IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANYONE WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK WITH AND ON WHAT PROJECT? 
Collaborate with anyone, wow, I hear that Jesus invented the chair so maybe we could work together. (If you don’t know, watch The Passion and learn.) Truthfully though, instead of working with some celebrity or son-of-god, I’d like to find some creative person to establish a long term collaboration, think Ray and Charles Eames or Jeunet and Caro.

INTERVIEW BY: Yael Greenberg 
Leave A Comment