Downtown NYC VFX boutique Artjail cuts a mean demo reel. Watch it, below, to see what we mean. (Kanye West brings on the NSFW at about the one-minute mark, so be careful, depending on where you work.)
Working out of Chinatown offices, the firm specializes in compositing, CG, beauty work, color grading, and more with a full suite of tools from Autodesk, Adobe, and more. Artjail's latest hire is Arthur Portnoy, who comes on board as executive producer after eight years in charge of sales and production at creative production company Shilo. "He's one of those EPs that hits the nail on the head in every situation," said company Creative Director (and owner) Steve Mottershead in announcing the appointment. Portnoy will be working to raise the studio's profile on the East Coast and beyond. We emailed him five questions about his career. his new gig, and the New York market.
Q: You were at Shilo for close to eight years. What brings you to Artjail?
A: I'd been at Shilo for eight years, which in this business, is a lifetime. I was ready for a change. When I saw the work Artjail was doing I was intrigued. And everything I heard about Steve Mottershead was so positive — both from clients he's worked with and those within the post production community. After several meetings with Steve, I began to think that Artjail was both a place I'd be happy working at and enjoy promoting. Steve knew the skill set I'd bring to Artjail and felt I'd a good addition. The deal between us came to fruition really pretty quickly.
Q: How would you characterize Artjail’s strengths?
A: The greatest strength of Artjail is that the projects we work on consistently come out looking great. Steve has a wonderful eye and graphic sensibility. He also has good technical chops as he's worked successfully in the business for a long time in a number of different capacities — Flame artist, VFX supervisor, creative director and director. He understands how things work in the business and is very skilled at the art of collaboration. He works hard to make each project as good as it can be.
Q: What about growth opportunities?
A: I joined Shilo when it was small and I had a great ride with the team there as the company, business and billings grew. Artjail has the same kind of potential. The talent and production pipeline are in place and now it's just a matter of getting the word out to the agency creative community, commercial directors and production company folks.
Q: How is business in New York, in general?
A: I've been off most of the summer, so that's a bit of a difficult question for me to answer. I'm hoping for a strong third and fourth quarter. There's always new projects happening. You just have to get out there and find it. I'm working on building some strong director/production company relationships for Artjail as well getting our work in front of agency creatives and producers.
Q: Do the newly expanded post-production tax credits for New York state have implications for Artjail?
A: In terms of the tax credit, as the large majority of our work comes from agencies, it's hard to tell. That said, we are bidding a number of effects shots for a new show shooting in New York which is being directed by a friend of Steve's. The more that's produced in town, the better it is for everybody. It's hard for me to quantify anything beyond that.