In our Meet the Team series, we talk to Jared van Fleet today to find out what he works on and the work that drives him. If you want to discuss creative brands or music with someone, he’s your guy!
Hi Jared! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a multimedia artist and producer who began working at Sketchfab in 2016 to lead Creative Development. Prior to Sketchfab, I’ve worked as a professional musician, filmmaker, ad agency drone, startup co-founder, and bizdev/marketing consultant for tech companies. I’m also currently serving on the board of directors for UnionDocs, a non-profit based in Brooklyn, NY.
Generally, I’m interested in exploring how media and technology influence human behavior and identity, and how this relationship in turn affects our political and natural environment. I spend a lot of time in my basement studio, taking things apart, building them back, stitching, editing, mixing, etc. Otherwise, you’ll probably find me in the park with a book and bike.
What’s your experience with 3D/VR, including your time at Sketchfab?
I think my first experience with anything related to 3D was my childhood love for the stereoscope that’s been in my family since the early 1900s. At university I studied digital media, with a few courses on 3D design and virtual worldbuilding. After experimenting with 360 lenses in 2013 for a music video, I grew interested in the latest wave of VR, eventually doing freelance production of interactive projects for some large brands. Since joining Sketchfab, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some of the smartest people working in 3D, and I’ve become especially inspired by the convergence of volumetric/interactive experiences and cinematic VR.
What are you working on here at Sketchfab?
Like everyone at a fast-growing company, I wear a lot of hats here. Primarily my role involves working with brands, agencies, and media companies to create and publish 3D/VR experiences that will thrive on our platform as well as in their social media strategies anywhere on the web, including desktop browsing, mobile devices, and headsets. I’m also heading up our internal content production efforts, which are aimed at supporting our various partners.
What are you most excited about now that you’re on the team?
Sketchfab is leveling the playing field for the distribution of immersive media, and this commitment to democratization is one of the most exciting aspects of the company. Everyone here cares about building an inclusive platform that empowers all creators–not just those with massive budgets. I think that’s essential for a healthy cultural economy, and it’s inspiring to come to work every day with a team of brilliant people dedicated to such a worthwhile cause.
What is your favorite model on Sketchfab and why?
Iconem’s reconstruction of the Monumental Arch of Palmyra, Syria, is fascinating from many angles. From a technical perspective, it beautifully executes a combination of photogrammetry and digital modeling to reveal multiple layers of history. Thematically, by capturing ruins that are under threat of conflict, it illustrates an important use of Sketchfab, which is gaining in momentum. The work of digital conservationists such as Iconem is establishing a new paradigm of museums: one in which preserving cultural heritage is not dependent on colonialist acquisitions, and in which collections are freely available for anyone to appreciate.