Jess Graves
 

RECENT PROJECTS

 
 
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THE JAMES BEARD PORTRAIT PROJECT

The James Beard portrait project was an endeavor I dreamed up and eventually art directed intended to honor chef and mixology James Beard award honorees hailing from the Southeast.  I knew from the beginning I wanted to work with my friend and longtime collaborator Erik Tanner. Over the course of six days at a studio set up on a cyc wall we constructed, we photographed thirteen very distinct personalities. Erik and I wanted stark, strong black and white portraits that felt like an honest representation of the subject's personality. The choice to photograph them without context spoke to our respect for the magnitude of their standalone accomplishments.

Images were displayed on nested, triangular rolling frames at more than 5 feet tall each, and all proceeds from sales of the photos went directly to the James Beard Foundation. The images were the flagship exhibition of the Atlanta Gallery Collective and debuted during Sunday Supper South, Jamestown's annual JBA Foundation fundraiser, now in its tenth year.

Collaborators of note: Erik Tanner (Photographer), Jonathan Myers (Architect, frames), Lionheart Framing (matting and display), Ben Brinker (Video/film), LTI Lightside (Printing)

Chef Anne Quatrano (Atlanta, GA): Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Star Provisions, Dub's Fish Camp

Chef Anne Quatrano (Atlanta, GA): Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Star Provisions, Dub's Fish Camp

Chef Sean Brock (Charleston, SC): Husk, McCrady's, Minero 

Chef Sean Brock (Charleston, SC): Husk, McCrady's, Minero 

Chef Hugh Acheson (Athens, GA): Five & Ten, Spiller Park

Chef Hugh Acheson (Athens, GA): Five & Ten, Spiller Park

Sean Brock (2)

Sean Brock (2)

Chef Steven Satterfield (Atlanta, GA): Miller Union

Chef Steven Satterfield (Atlanta, GA): Miller Union

IN THE MEDIA...

"The sense of honesty that appears in so much of Tanner’s work is imbued into the Ponce City Market series. Each portrait highlights not only each subject’s celebrity, but their character as well. Tanner says the choice to do away with color and context reflects the desire for viewers to understand the subject outside the context of their craft. 'I strive for something that feels honest,' he says. 'I’d like the viewers to feel some sort of connection to the subjects, more than connecting with the work itself.' - Creative Loafing Atlanta, "Chefs in Their Essence

Chef Kevin Gillespie (Atlanta, GA): Gunshow, Revival, Terminus City BBQ

Chef Kevin Gillespie (Atlanta, GA): Gunshow, Revival, Terminus City BBQ

Chef Meherwan Irani (Nashville, TN): Botiwalla, Chai Pani

Chef Meherwan Irani (Nashville, TN): Botiwalla, Chai Pani


A PEEK INTO OUR PROCESS

 
 
Preliminary renderings of the frames from Architecture, featuring a matted "hero" image and a secondary image nested in the side of the triangular frame.

Preliminary renderings of the frames from Architecture, featuring a matted "hero" image and a secondary image nested in the side of the triangular frame.

 
Photographer Erik Tanner shooting James Beard nominee mixologist Miles McQuarrie (Kimball House) as filmmaker Ben Brinker gets his shot, as well.

Photographer Erik Tanner shooting James Beard nominee mixologist Miles McQuarrie (Kimball House) as filmmaker Ben Brinker gets his shot, as well.

Photos printed and delivered! This was the first reveal as we came up with a game plan to dry-mount them at Lionheart Framing.

Photos printed and delivered! This was the first reveal as we came up with a game plan to dry-mount them at Lionheart Framing.

Dry-mounted and delivered! Here's a photo before they went in the frames to show the huge scale of the photos.

Dry-mounted and delivered! Here's a photo before they went in the frames to show the huge scale of the photos.

A field trip to the fabricators to check on the frame design. They roll!

A field trip to the fabricators to check on the frame design. They roll!

Finished photo install, mounted and framed, twelve in all.

Finished photo install, mounted and framed, twelve in all.

Chef David Bancroft cheeses next to his finished portrait on opening night!

Chef David Bancroft cheeses next to his finished portrait on opening night!

 
 

04.

"the most millenial mural ever"

 

Collaborators of note: The Miami Ad School at Portfolio Center (Illustration), Public School (Agency of record), Matt Swinsky (Video/film)

It all started when...

...we decided to take it from internet to IRL and make our followers a part of our physical space. If you were one of the first 100k people to follow @poncecitymarket, your @name was written on the walls of Ponce City Market in a massive mural installation... one the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called "the most millennial mural ever."

When we hit that big number, we did almost followed the same tired trope of making a celebratory video. But then we took a step back and reminded ourselves who those people on Instagram really are — our real-life community! We realized then that it wasn’t about patting ourselves on the back, but about extending true gratitude to every single person who helped us get there, both online and off. 

We threw around a lot of crazy ideas, but the simplest answer made the most sense, which was to thank each and every follower by (@user)name. We believe it's them who build the foundation of Ponce City Market every day, after all. 

This installation would not have been possible without an all-star team of students from Miami Ad School at Portfolio Center — one of the most respected communication schools in the country, residing in Atlanta. These 12 student artists make up the next generation of creative thinkers who will inform and influence the future of our city.

Students: McKenzie Martin, Katie Tynes, Nakita Simpson, Madison DeFilippis, Jennifer Grimm, Casey Lovegrove, Laura McMullan, Sarai Wingate, Alex Minkin, Jessica Pester, Jack Lester, Alexa Lyons

 
 

SELECT EVENTS & ACTIVATIONS

06.

THE ZOMBIE FLASH MOB

 
 

Unassuming visitors were invited to Ponce City Market for a public, shop-to-shop trick-or-treat. Little did they know they were in for a big surprise! We pulled off this fully choreographed flash mob of zombies who danced to “Thriller” as music blasted through the Central Food Hall.

07.

THE GRINCH IN RESIDENCE

 
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I dreamed up The Grinch as an answer to the anti-Santa sentiment that a gritty property like Ponce City Market demands. It took nearly a year of planning and execution to commission the custom suit and prosthetics, obtain licensing, cast the actors, build the set, and execute the marketing campaign. The Grinch at PCM is a hit, now a huge annual tradition in the city of Atlanta, drawing massive crowds every year who want their chance to be photographed with the Mean, Green One himself (including a lot of terrified children and delighted parents).

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Neon billboard art from our advertising campaign.

Neon billboard art from our advertising campaign.

Our inclusivity-themed campaign was titled “Come Together and Misfit Right In”, inviting people to choose Team Naughty (adult holiday festivities) or Team Nice (family-friendly events). This art was commissioned as banners to line the Ponce-facing side of the building and was produced by Atlanta agency Public School.

Our inclusivity-themed campaign was titled “Come Together and Misfit Right In”, inviting people to choose Team Naughty (adult holiday festivities) or Team Nice (family-friendly events). This art was commissioned as banners to line the Ponce-facing side of the building and was produced by Atlanta agency Public School.

Pseudo-spoof movie signs went up around Atlanta teasing the Grinch’s arrival.   Graphics: Public School

Pseudo-spoof movie signs went up around Atlanta teasing the Grinch’s arrival.

Graphics: Public School

Part of our guerrilla marketing campaign was graffiti in the Krog Street Tunnel.

Part of our guerrilla marketing campaign was graffiti in the Krog Street Tunnel.

We got lots of funny write-ups in local media, including this one from the  Atlanta Journal-Constitution .

We got lots of funny write-ups in local media, including this one from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A time lapse of The Grinch getting into makeup and prosthetics.

The Red Light Party was our adults-only Black Friday party for all the road-weary folks with family fatigue.    Photo: Clay Goswick

The Red Light Party was our adults-only Black Friday party for all the road-weary folks with family fatigue. 

Photo: Clay Goswick

We invited Blondie and the infamous ladies of the Clermont Lounge to be our Mistresses of Ceremonies at The Red Light Party. Much to our delight, they obliged!   Photo: Clay Goswick

We invited Blondie and the infamous ladies of the Clermont Lounge to be our Mistresses of Ceremonies at The Red Light Party. Much to our delight, they obliged!

Photo: Clay Goswick

 

OTHER NOTABLE EVENTS

I am always looking for an excuse to throw a great party, what can I say?

08.

SUNDAY SUPPER SOUTH

Sunday Supper South is the annual James Beard Foundation fundraiser led by Chef Anne Quatrano and Jamestown that I had the pleasure of helping plan and execute in 2016 (all-female chef lineup!) and 2017 (theme: Arachnaphobia!). 

09.

SPOTIFY CHANNEL LAUNCH + SILENT DISCO

Often tasked with creating compelling creative around our tenants, we launched a branded Spotify channel at Ponce City Market with playlists curated by chefs, makers and local movers and shakers. To celebrate, we threw a silent disco by popping up a one-night-only night club in an empty retail space and inviting all of our friends.