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Columbia College Chicago
Jess Weida
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Jess Weida

Summer 2007
Institute Fellow
San Francisco, CA

Jess Weida
Jess Weida is a graphic designer by trade and a stage performer. Weida recently moved to San Francisco and is part of the small in-house creative team at the progressive social change company CREDO Mobile. Weida has been involved in the drag performance scene for a number of years, performing in Chicago, around the U.S., and abroad as “JR Stranger.” Among the original members of the Austin, TX drag troupe Kings n Things, Weida created the graphic identity and publicity for the group during their inaugural year, and four years later, designed all of the conference print materials for IDKE8 (International Drag King Extravaganza) hosted that year by Austin's drag community. Also in 2006 Weida played the part of “Jos. R. Stranger III,” one of the ten feisty characters traversing early-twentieth century Chicago in The Lola Project. Weida was also part of the production team behind the show, a full-length drag and burlesque production. Since 2001 Weida has operated under J. Weida Design, conducting print design, web design, identity development, illustration, and project management for a range of clients.

Weida received an Institute Fellowship to hone and investigate her ongoing practice of visual art, design and creative problem-solving inside of the demands of daily professional work--and as applied in unexpected ways beyond that. Weida began to explore incorporating motion graphics and animation—a natural extension of her professional 2-D design—with her drag and performance work.

In 2008 Weida joined the Obama for America Campaign based in Chicago, working on design and brand execution for Barack Obama’s historic presidential campaign. In 2008 Weida won a Chicago Design Archive award from The Society of Typographic Arts. Besides collaborating on a “very scary” animation short, Weida is currently conducting research for a personal graphic narrative. Rooted in family lore and personal history, and set in blue-collar, rural Pennsylvania, Weida will investigate upbringing and self- determination in the face of familial roles and attitudes surrounding gender expression, while documenting and exploring generational mental illness and a matrilineal abuse legacy.