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Koepke began his career working with a number of major publications and brands. He served as founding creative director of Vibe magazine and produced award-winning works including 26 magazine for AGFA, the design of Musician magazine and Benetton’s Colors magazine, World Tour for Dun & Bradstreet Software, and SoHo Journal for SoHo Partnership. He served as SVP, Creative Director for J.Crew and Creative Director for Wieden+Kennedy Portland, where he helped open that agency’s New York office. Koepke designed David Byrne’s book of photography, Strange Ritual; directed the “Slow Burn” music video for David Bowie; and directed the U2 video “Window in the Skies,” which was named Best Video at the Los Angeles Film Festival. He also worked with DJ Paul Oakenfold to create the visuals for his 2008 World Tour.
Koepke founded Modernista! with Lance Jensen in 2000. Jensen left the agency in December 2010. Modernista! is an independent agency with clients such as Sears, Product (RED), the National Park Foundation, Nickelodeon, Food Should Taste Good, Chug, Sophos, Jack Wills, Boulder Digital Works, Doc to Dock, Stop Handgun Violence, and the Art Institute of Boston. In the past, Modernista! has created marketing campaigns for clients such as General Motors, Palm, Showtime TIAA-CREF, Napster, Gap, Anheuser-Busch, MTV, and Converse.
Modernista! was named Regional Agency of the Year by AdWeek in 2004 and has won many other industry and creative awards. One version of its website was a finalist in the Webby Awards and the SXSW Web Awards. The website was also selected for the Communication Arts Interactive Annual and the ID Design Annual and was recognized by the D&AD Awards. In addition, Modernista!’s redesign of BusinessWeek magazine took first place at the International Design Awards.
In the final years, Modernista! moved aggressively into digital marketing and communications and social media, although it stresses that it remains medium-agnostic. One of its more interesting[according to whom?] final projects was an alternative reality game leading up to Season Five of the Dexter TV show.
In spring 2011 Modernista! shuttered its doors due to the sudden exit of co-founder Lance Jensen.
Fifteen months after the Boston-based Modernista! shut down, founder and executive creative director Gary Koepke, joined SapientNitro as global ECD of brand content innovation where he is focused on building the firm's "craft," adding creativity and story systems to digital and non-digital experiences. In May 2013, Gary was appointed Worldwide Chief Creative Officer where he now provides creative leadership and inspiration across the company and sets the standard for creative excellence as SapientNitro establishes itself as a new breed of agency focused on the always-on connected consumer.
Honors and awards
Personally, Koepke has garnered gold awards at all the major design/advertising shows. His work has been shown at the DNP Gallery in Japan, which has named him one of America’s top designers. It is also in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Koepke sits on the boards of Stop Handgun Violence and previously Boulder Digital Works at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. He has also served on the Communications Task Force of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and he was chairman of the American Photography Annual from 1998 to 2003.
Koepke is an avid musician and painter.
- “Ad Agency Modernista Relies on Out-of-the-Box Thinking," in USA Today, November 4, 2008
- See also Modernista! website, http://www.modernista.com/ .
- "Gary Koepke, Co-Founder, Modernista!, Outdoor and Press Juror," in AllBusiness.com, June 16, 2003, http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/4125998-1.html. See also "New Work: 'Vibe,'" in Pentagram.com, Sept. 9, 2008, http://pentagram.com/en/new/2008/09/new-work-vibe.php.
- “‘26’/AGFA Journal,” in AGFA Design Archives, http://designarchives.aiga.org/#/entries/%2Bid%3A3975/_/detail/relevance/asc/0/7/3975/26agfa-journal/1.
- “The Art Direction of Musician Magazine: Gary Koepke," http://www.spd.org/2010/11/musician-magazine-gary-koepke.php
- "Innovators," in New York magazine, Dec. 22-29, 1997, https://books.google.com/books?id=AugCAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=Gary+Koepke+Wieden+%2B+Kennedy&source=bl&ots=OOuD-3uh4_&sig=RG-jMCv9ldXyewEXU0gR0ROhmag&hl=en&ei=zSBQTdz7LYXcgQemrO0h&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=Gary%20Koepke%20Wieden%20%2B%20Kennedy&f=false.
- "Strange Ritual," in DavidByrne.com, http://www.davidbyrne.com/art/strange_ritual/index.php.
- “Koepke Directs Bowie,” in Boards, June 5, 2002, http://www.boardsmag.com/articles/online/20020605/bowie.html.
- “The @U2 Interview: Gary Koepke,” Feb. 5, 2007, http://www.atu2.com/news/the-u2-interview-gary-koepke.html.
- “U2 Pays Tribute with Window in the Skies," in The Inspiration Room, Dec. 23, 2006, http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2006/u2-window-in-the-skies/. See also "U2, 'Window in the Skies' - Dir. Gary Koepke," in KatClark.org, http://katclark.org/blog/?p=386.
- “Oakenfold Taps Modernista for 2008 Tour Visuals,” in Advertising Age, April 1, 2008, http://adage.com/songsforsoap/post?article_id=126089.
- "American Beauty", in Communication Arts, September 2007
- "Modernista Founder Lance Jensen Heads to Hill Holiday," in Advertising Age, Dec. 9, 2010, http://adage.com/agencynews/article?article_id=147561.
- (RED)NIGHTS concert site, http://rednights.joinred.com.
- “This Is Your Land,” in Communication Arts 2010 Interactive Annual, http://www.commarts.com/interactive/cai10/thisisyourland.html.
- “Boulder Digital Works Partners with Modernista!,” in AgencySpy.com, June 8, 2010, http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/boulder-digital-works-partners-with-modernista_b6681.
- “Stop Handgun Violence Debuts Dramatic Billboard in Massachusetts….”, Stop Handgun Violence press release
- "Security Check Required". Facebook.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- “Marketing Muscle and Guzzle,” in The New York Times, October 24, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/automobiles/autospecial/24HUMMER.html. See also “Modernista Wins the General Motors’ Cadillac Account,” in BusinessWeek, June 28, 2006, http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2006/06/modernista_wins_the_general_motors_cadillac_account.html.
- “Showtime, Modernista Amp Up Dexter, Season Five,” in Online Marketing Connect, August 30, 2010, http://www.onlinemarketingconnect.com/mediabistroagencyspy/2010/08/showtime-modernista-amp-up-dexter-season-five/.
- "With Service-Career Focus, TIAA-CREF Hones Message," in USBANKER, October 2004, http://www.americanbanker.com/usb_issues/114_10/-231217-1.html.
- “A Century of Converse Shoes Have Adorned Many Feet,” in the Boston Globe, Sept. 7, 2010, http://heat.basketball-news-update.com/a-century-of-converse-shoes-have-adorned-many-feet-the-boston-globe/.
- “Regional Agency of the Year: Modernista!,” in AdWeek, Jan. 12, 2004, http://www.adweek.com/aw/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=2066162.
- "SxSW: Can Neuroscience Trump Creativity in Marketing?," report of panel discussion featuring Gary Koepke, in Econsultancy.com, March 13, 2010, http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/5587-sxsw-can-neuroscience-trump-creativity-in-marketing.
- “Modernista!,” in Communication Arts 2009 Interactive Annual, http://www.commarts.com/interactive/cai09/Modernista.html.
- “Ad Agency Gets Web 2.0! Can It Be True?,” in AttentionMax, March 28, 2008, http://www.attentionmax.com/blog/2008/03/ad_agency_gets_web_20_can_it_be_true.php. See also “Modernista Dismantles Site, Trusts the ‘Net to Share Its Ethos,” in Marketing Vox, March 19, 2008, http://www.marketingvox.com/modernista-dismantles-site-trusts-the-net-to-share-its-ethos-037421/.
- “Showtime (Dexter): Serial Huntress”, in Creativity Online
- "Last Day for Staff at Modernista Is Friday". Advertising Age.
- "SapientNitro Taps Industry Maverick Gary Koepke to Lead Global Brand Content Innovation (NASDAQ:SAPE)". Shareholder.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- "The 32nd Exhibition : 2 American Art Directors". DNP.co.jp. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- "Modernista.com". Modernista.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017.