Hi, my name is Joe. I am a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I apply the Design Process—a collaborative, iterative approach to implement ideas—within business contexts. My core interest is on developing businesses and task-forces to intervene within systems. I act on this interest with strategic communications and an intense dedication to my work.
This portfolio site is primarily a selection of my visual design work. My current focus is on planning-heavy projects which are omitted here for concision. Thank you for the visit!
I was tasked with creating a visual system for a special edition of Christopher Alexander’s “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture,” a three-book series centering on the work of Deconstructivist architects Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, and Bernard Tshcumi. My approach was to twist a Post-Modern symbol—the barcode, which is a conceptual transplant of Modernism’s straight-line minimalism into nationally dispersed WalMarts—through the eyes of each architect.
Ethereum: Smart Contracts
Ethereum: Smart Contracts is a website-based introduction to the Ethereum blockchain application platform, intended to fill the gap between simple Ethereum definitions and more advanced tutorials. The site showcases custom Solidity micro-lending and automatic payment contracts as everyday use cases.
See the site live here.
Pixel 19 (¶)
Between the Midwest’s southwest and the South’s north is Cincinnati, Ohio, a city which builds in slope from Downtown to the kudzu-covered hills of the University Heights neighborhood. Green trees shade a truck parked on Klotter Avenue, its windows covered with stickers announcing “Pixel 19 Vintage” and a row-home’s address. This home’s porch bursts with wind-chimes and plants. Hardware store decals title the front door “PIXEL / NINETEEN / VINTAGE / CLOTHING LLC.” A three-hole-punch of deadbolts compliments the door’s peephole as a security camera gazes down lovingly.
The doorbell’s ring does not reach the foyer before faint metallic jingles are heard through a swish-clack of deadbolts. The door opens and the jingles transmute to waves of silver jewelry covering the neck, the arms, the fingers of a smiling man: Stu “Vintage King” Nizny. Stu owns Pixel 19 Vintage: Vintage Clothing and Retro Everything Store, LLC. Stu is shades, bling, cowboy boots, designer denim, sleeveless t-shirt: “my favorite are the 1989 athletic cut, tighter the better.” His bug-eye sunglasses make Cobain’s cat-eyes blush.
Your eyes take excess time to adjust as you enter Pixel 19’s 3000 sqft headquarters doubling as Stu’s home. Noguchi lights illuminate fleets of DeMott sailboats and a lucite hall-of-mirrors. Ingridware stacks form a ROYGBIV perimeter above kitchen cabinets. Erté prints descend to racks of army backpacks and fur coats in the basement. A Snoop Dogg action figure, boxed and autographed at length to Stu, serves as guardian angel to a second floor labyrinth of folded and stacked t-shirts. Stu’s bedroom is floor-to-ceiling with seward trunks of clothes. His mattress is the check-out counter.
Stu “lives and breathes vintage, [he] dreams about it when [he] sleeps.” Stu Nizny is an international vintage A-lister, an unapologetic free-spirit meets capitalist, the hand-stitched hippy Carnegie of graphic t’s. He is brilliant, and he has run his business, Pixel 19, as an extension of his personality through 30 years of solo success. Stu’s clients include Hollywood actors, costume designers, musicians, eBay Powersellers, global vintage retailers, and the public. Stu serves his clients—pop-star or not—through on-site appointment only.
Stu and his background represent a balance between the creative and practical. He cites family influences between his grandfather, a Russian immigrant-turned-millionaire through the resale of scrap metal to the U.S. military during World War II, and his parents, 1970s flower children who brought Stu and his sister to art openings, festivals, and orchestras. Stu excelled academically but preferred hiking and drawing. He began as an entrepreneur early on.
Stu is a pre-TED-Talk bootstrapper. At nine years old he began buying, holding, and reselling yard-sale clothing between Cincinnati neighborhoods. Stu collected and sold band-tees through his teens. While peers went to college Stu took client-facing jobs in hospitality—bars, hotels, and restaurants—which allowed him to travel the United States and become a confident conversationalist. Along the way he collected clothing and formed connections with others, some of whom became clients and business partners, but who, at the time, simply shared his passion for an open lifestyle and well-made American objects.
At 25 Stu shifted his focus to Pixel 19 full-time. He had no clear business plan but was without “doubt that fashion was the area [he] wanted to work in.” He felt he was moving toward something and that his niche would define itself while he acted on his ideas. His knowledge and inventory were composed of a 19 state traversal to grab all of the top-quality vintage he could. Vintage fashion connected people with his values: aesthetics, business, reuse, and individual expression. By acting on his interests Stu was ahead of the on-going vintage trend. He was “prepared at the right time, and there is nothing out there [he does not] have or didn’t sell to begin with.”
Pixel 19 is 24/7/365, Christmas included, and Stu insists on flexibility in meeting with clients because they travel—increasingly internationally—for him. 200+ Japanese vintage dealers buy American stock exclusively at Pixel 19. A particular client sends a shipping container full of Pixel 19 stock back to Tokyo annually. While Stu’s stock is diverse, the pre-1989 graphic t-shirt is “the bread and butter” comprising 80% of sales. The rationale is simple: “everyone in the world owns a t-shirt, everyone.”
At the core of Pixel 19 is Stu’s belief that “people are here to serve each other with their individual gifts” and that “fashion happens to be [his] weapon.” Stu chases the moments when a piece brings out a client’s story or matches their vision, “including the vision of making them money. My clients come to me because I have inventory no one else has. I know that everyone connects to something—and that that something is somewhere in one of these crates.”
I performed all post-processing on “Unstitched,” the world’s first virtual reality fashion film while working with The Endless Collective, an award-winning augmented and virtual reality studio. Post-processing entailed transorming raw footage to finished video, and required learning speciality software to splice footage into 360-degree scenes, to color-correct, make timing edits, and to add beginning/end titles. The process itself involved working collaboratively with fashion photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya and fashion designers Dries Van Noten and VFILES. Additionally, I maximized the film’s reception during New York Fashion Week by assisting with publicity through New York Magazine and Vice Magazine.