Local Feature: Inspiration From Master Tinker-er, Jeffrey Warren

 Jeffrey Warren, co-founder of Public Lab

Jeffrey Warren, co-founder of Public Lab

Artist Jeffrey Warren and I had only corresponded on email and had never met prior to his portrait photo shoot in Somerville, MA. I wasn't sure what to expect; I didn't know his age, projects, style, etc. But immediately upon meeting his warm smile, talkative and robust personality, and wired brain, I knew he'd be exciting to work with. I mean, he does share an office space with children all day, and their playfulness was rubbing off on him.

Jeffrey Warren is a co-founder of Public Lab, an open community and non-profit investigating environmental concerns. Jeffrey was recently featured as the Somerville Arts Council Artist of the Month, and we spent a Wednesday afternoon shooting some primo portraits.

I arrived with my camera backpack ready for action. We met at his office building, weaving our way through the toy-filled corridors of Parts & Crafts, a member-supported family makerspace and community workshop in Somerville. As we passed a small spinning kid, Jeffrey shared a nice "what's up?" and a high five. Jeffrey turned to me laughing, and told stories of the kiddo's pressing their luck while balancing on chairs in the facility. He's begun to take count of the risk-taker's failures on a white board in his office.

 Somerville's Artist of the Month, April 2016

Somerville's Artist of the Month, April 2016

Jeffrey's office was filled with boxes and papers, reflective of the numerous ideas that flow through his head. I began to photograph while he enthusiastically showed me various small mechanisms he'd built, including a "Papercraft Spectrometer" for Public Lab. His face lit up with rainbow light as he tested his most recent project, "Spectagram Records", a project combining CDs and vinyl records (too friggin' cool, see below!). I'm known for my spontaneous shooting style so after he mentioned his new purple commuter bicycle, I had to get some pictures. We wandered around outside and, on the beautiful streets of Somerville, shot portraits next to his trusty 2-wheeled, metal steed. When the shoot was wrapping up, we walked back through the halls and I noticed some incredible skylights above beaming in.

"We have to shoot here," I exclaimed. "You'll look like a rad villain!"

The whole photo shoot took about an hour, and Jeffrey was extremely comfortable to be around and photograph. Also, did I mention his shoes paired with orange socks?! Dude's got style. I'm thankful to have met Jeffrey and observe his curiosity and bright, youthful attitude that effortlessly compliments his casual personality and impressive crafter/builder artistry. Jeffrey Warren is the artist to follow so keep an eye on this fella'!

To read more about Jeffrey Warren, visit the full interview here: http://www.somervilleartscouncil.org/artistmonth/warren