Helvetia, Randolph County, West Virginia
I founded the award-winning studio Coat of Arms and serves as its creative director, producer and editor. I’m a first-generation American of Belgian and Cuban descent. Born in Chicago, I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, before attending Carleton College in Minnesota. There, I met my wife and business partner, Clara Lehmann. Together we live in Helvetia, West Virginia, with our two daughters.
I create a vast array of work each year for clients like Google, Jaguar Land Rover, Nickelodeon, The Onion, PBS and Warner Brother Records, while also prioritizing volunteering efforts in the community. I also produced and edited the award-winning films, “A Perfect Soldier,” and “Born in a Ballroom.” Past awards include an Emmy, Tellys, Excellence in Title Design (SXSW), a gold and silver Cannes Lion, and other film festival awards.
What Jonathan hopes to accomplish through the AAN:
I would like to play a part in the stories being told in our region, and I want to share a more nuanced perspective of what life is like in West Virginia and how diverse our people can be.
What he’d like to see happen during the first 100 days of the next presidential administration:
I have hope for a more collaborative political conversation that upholds empathy, respect, and less divisive perspectives.
Jonathan’s advice for journalists who want to cover Appalachia:
I think it’s important to find local contacts to bridge the gap between ‘outsider’ and ‘insider’ and as a quicker way to find mutual respect and more nuanced as well as unique stories and people. Journalists naturally have tight deadlines and quick turnarounds, so it can be difficult to have time to spend with subjects or places being covered. But by including locals, a lot of history and nuanced understanding can be garnered without a loss of time or finances.
Reach out to Jonathan through this form: