Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Jon Leon. Photography for the series is by Cade Martin, wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.
Jon, please provide us a short bio.
I was born in Long Island, New York, and quickly moved to Louisville, KY, where I was raised. I graduated from the University of Louisville with a major in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design and a minor in Art History. I also walked-on the the Men’s Basketball team for the 1993-94 year. I now live in Severna Park, MD, where I’m married and have an 11-year-old daughter. Professionally, I am now Senior Art Director at GKV
Are you involved in any other organizations?
Just coaching my daughter’s 3/4th grade basketball team. Not much time left after that.
What are the things you are most proud of?
I would have to say my amazing wife, Kirin, and our daughter Sophia. Kirin works full-time and takes on a lot of the parenting duties due to my hectic schedule. And our daughter is turning out to be a great little kid. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Who are your personal role models?
My college professor showed me one of our alumni’s work one day. It was an ad for some Nike ACG shoes made by Jelly Helm. It was the first thing I saw that triggered the idea of becoming an Art Director. It was the perfect blend of art and commerce. I followed his work and career path ever since then. Luke Sullivan was a big influence as well.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Kinda. Back then nobody gave out emails or had social profiles, so I just guessed at both Jelly and Luke’s email addresses and funny thing was, they were nice enough to respond. I think that gesture alone blew me away and let me know there were kind people willing to give their time and thoughts to people that were passionate.
What professional advice do you have for others?
I think about this question a lot. Especially being my daughter is getting close to having to make those decisions. Only thing I can tell her or anybody is to find something you love and put your all into it and good things will happen. If you become good enough at it, the money should follow.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
I have a pretty eclectic list. But right now I’m digging Bleachers, Chris Stapleton, The War on Drugs and Brian Owens. Oh, and Pit Bull. Don’t ask.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Tough one. Woodberry Kitchen when I’m in Baltimore, but The Point Crab House in Arnold is 15 minutes away from the house and great as well.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I’m big into Texas Holdem. So if you know of any house games!
(Cade Martin has photographed more than 100 communicators for this “Up Close and Personal” series. You can check them out here.)