Employee spotlight: John Oney

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Not only is John Oney the witty emcee of our birthday celebrations, but he is also one of Intermark Group’s talented Art Directors. Starting out as a motivated, self-taught designer, John began freelancing at a small ad agency where he quickly became entranced by the world of advertising. To learn more about John, click here:

Q: What are your responsibilities?

A: Well, explaining what an art director does all day would actually TAKE all day. So, I highly recommend you check out a book called “Art Direction Explained, At Last” by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne. You can get it here!

Q: Give us a little background on how you got into the industry?  

A: I was a self-taught designer looking for a way to advance my career. When I moved to Atlanta in 2007, I began freelancing at a small ad agency and fell in love with the culture and the work. The recession hit shortly thereafter, so I decided to go back to school at The Creative Circus to learn about art direction and advertising. I’ve been in the industry ever since.

Q: What brought you to Intermark and how did you get started in your current position?

A: I was living in Atlanta when a recruiter from Cincinnati called me up one day and asked if I’d ever consider moving to Birmingham. Honestly, this city wasn’t on my radar at all. It really is amazing! But the biggest factor in my decision to come to Intermark was getting to work with the creative team, which continues to inspire me in surprising ways each and every day.

Q: What’s your favorite part about what you do?  

A: I love collaboration, so getting to work with all the talented and creative folks at Intermark is what keeps me coming back each day.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?  

A: There are many challenges associated with this job, but the biggest one, for me, is self-imposed. I have high standards for myself, and my desire to achieve them often slows me down.

 Q: Are you seeing any new trends in the marketing/advertising industry?  

A: In general, it seems like many brands are getting involved in experiential advertising, which is exciting because it can be so effective. I’m also seeing more advertisers getting into entertainment. It’s not just about creating content. Movies, web series, cookbooks, whatever. It’s a great way for brands to grow audiences and create fans.

Q: Favorite quote/saying?  

A: I don’t have a favorite quote or saying, but I do love quoting lines from movies. My all-time favorite movies to quote include Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, Clueless, Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect. LOL.

 Q: Hobbies?  

A: Tennis. I’ve played since I was 10, but injuries and life in general have gotten in the way recently. I would really love to begin playing again in the new year. I also love movies and theater.

Q: Family, pets?  

A: My family lives in Indiana. My parents got married after dating for 8 months. They’re still together. My Sassaw (that’s what I call my grandma) is going to be 98 in February. She still lives on her own, which is amazing. And she’s an artist, too. She paints china and watercolors. I am constantly inspired by her. As for pets, mine passed away last year (he was almost 16!), and I miss him every single day. My favorite Christmas gift this year was a watercolor Sassaw made of him.

 Q: What’s something that most people would be surprised to learn about you?  

A: I’m actually kind of shy and introverted. You might be thinking this answer is bologna, but it’s true. I have to make myself be outgoing, otherwise I’d never talk to anyone. I’m fairly comfortable being extroverted now, after many years of practice, but usually I’d rather just be at home watching “This Is Us” and crying all alone on the sofa—which I do sometimes at lunch.

Q: What is the quote on your nameplate?  

A: Dr. Seuss — “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

I also like a quote by Alex Bogusky, who said, “If you’re about to spend advertising dollars on a campaign and you can’t imagine anybody’s going to write about it or talk about it, you might want to rethink it.” That’s pretty good advice, don’t you think?