Jeff Gray

Building Tangible and Memorable Interactions.

I embrace the idea that it's great to be curious, even at the expense of becoming an expert. I love to learn new things, but it's no fun going it alone. Because of this, I'm also a long-time teacher as well as collaborator whenever possible.

My passion for learning things makes me a generalist more than any other term you could classify me with. I often jump between different aspects of a project, experiment, or research initiative, so I can be most useful in filling the gaps and getting something meaningful going.

Iteration and collaboration help round out my process. Sharing, refining, refactoring and designing, these all help the best experiences and interactions come forward.

I wear a lot of hats.

The most obvious is the dark gray hat you'll literally see when first we meet. I'm guessing you're more curious about those other hats though. Here are a few.

Experience Design

I approach every project through the lens of the people who will take part. This is often not just the "end user" or audience, but also the performer, the maker, the salesperson, or those who protect and watch the work. Making work accessible is to make it engage all these individuals.

Expressive Code

Software development is an endless ocean of different experiences, both to create and to explore. The proliferation of programming languages as well as tools built on top of them (both open-source and proprietary), means there are more opportunities than ever before for great interactions. This also comes with the challenge of keeping up with these tools, and picking the right one for the task at hand.

Physical Interaction Design

Software can fall flat without tangible interfaces that make that software fun, engaging, and bring different aspects of self to bear. Building things that jump off the screen into the real world gives the audience a much wider means of exploring, and can dramatically change how effectively someone engages. Designing for physical space means utilizing software and drawing, creating plans that bring all stakeholders together, and help drive the process forward.

Digital Fabrication and Actuation

Exploring projects in the physical world means being able to understand and manipulate materials. In many cases, this is in the act of building and fabricating objects (and understanding the best tools to do so). In other cases, it involves using sensors and data to understand the world, and actuators like motors/solenoids/servos to affect change in the environment. Bringing these three processes together, many additional doors open to you for creative expression and storytelling.

Prototyping / Gluing

As a generalist, I’m uniquely positioned to combine different skill-sets and explore the viability of an idea or creative concept. Prototyping is a useful way to do this, building quickly and iteratively and testing extensively with different types of users. Often, I find this stage of the process equivalent to choosing the right glue to use to make two things stick together durably. This isn’t just a physical problem, as many projects require finding ways to translate data from one location to another, transform information into meaningful output, and create environments that are resilient to this type of transposition.

Mentoring / Cross-Pollinating

Collaboration is not only critical in the creation of meaningful experiences, but often the cross-pollination of knowledge and ideas is an absolute must when doing anything expressive. As a longtime learner, I find myself learning the most when testing that knowledge in the classroom as an instructor and mentor. When I help others apply approaches I’ve learned over the years to their work, I am truly able to test my understanding and round out the edges of my knowledge through their applications and approaches.

Some Projects.

A comprehensive list of the work I've been engaged in.

sweetgreen - retail prototyping - 2018
kings networked torch interactive (rebuild for Two Bit Circus) - 2018
pods - replatforming and roadmapping - 2017
plasma cut pendant lamp (fabrication workshop: Molten Metal Works) - 2017
stanley black & decker / lista cabinet configurator - 2017
7-series owners guide (BMW) - 2016
ludens tame the tickle experience (fun fun fun fest) - 2016
junction (Workshop: KBS, Spies & Assassins) - 2016
spies labs (incubator: KBS, Spies & Assassins) - 2016
beautyrest mattress selector (interactive website) - 2015
code literacy (Course: SVA, IxD) - 2015
fragrance genie - 2015
ultimate driving experience (mobile lap-timer app and video wrapup experience) - 2015
puma ipad wall (retail technology) - 2014
jay-z gold interactive mirror (Macy's) - 2013
slow code (Course: SVA, IxD) - 2013
math square interactive floor (Museum of Math) - 2013
beasties - mobile breathing/meditation app - 2013
local bee (mobile grocery app) - 2013
giftspy (mobile app) - 2012
omnigon sentiment wall interactive - 2012
red bull mission control (mobile geo-spatial gaming app) - 2011
orbitz 50 faves - 2011
dossier (chrome extension, tab management) - 2011
press (mobile journalism app) - 2011
hbo true blood - vampire yourself social experience - 2011
jelli (mobile radio app) - 2010
hello hi there (EMPAC/steirischer herbst residencies, annie dorsen) - 2010
big mouth interactive (Science Museum of Western Virginia) - 2009
kidtropolis (Children's Museum of Houston) - 2009
monkey king interactive wall (Children's Museum of Manhattan) - 2009
interactive performance art workshop (Workshop: Colorado College) - 2008
atmosphere rocket (Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum) - 2008
lincoln and new york (New York Historical Society) - 2008
dynamic glass orchestras (3rd Ward Residency with Sarah Walko) - 2008
mix master studio (sound interactive, Johnstown Heritage Children's Museum) - 2008
the steel mill experience (Johnstown Heritage Children's Museum) - 2008
distance gloves (r&d: epson) - 2008
antikythera viewer (Children's Museum of Manhattan) - 2008
swan catchers (performance art, chocolate factory, with bryan markovitz, ryan dahoney, Flux Quartet) - 2008
computational media (Course: SVA, IxD / Hunter College) - 2008
espn trophy tug-of-war (Wieden + Kennedy temporary installation) - 2007
sensor workshop (Course: NYU, ITP) - 2007
UN DDR kit (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) - 2007
doppelganger (3-Legged Dog residency) - 2007
storybooth new orleans (in conjunctio with NYU and Tulane University) - 2007
a shift in the fabric - 2006
death of sound - 2005
music performance as network topologies (r&d, NYU, ITP) - 2005
collaborative music machine - 2004