Gary Koepke

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Gary Koepke is a creative director and co-founder of the Boston-based creative and communications agency Modernista![1]

Early career[edit]

Koepke began his career working with a number of major publications and brands. He served as founding creative director of Vibe magazine[2][3] and produced award-winning works including 26 magazine for AGFA,[4] the design of Musician magazine[5] 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.[6] Koepke designed David Byrne's book of photography, Strange Ritual;[7] directed the "Slow Burn" music video for David Bowie;[8] and directed the U2[9] video "Window in the Skies," which was named Best Video at the Los Angeles Film Festival.[10][11] He also worked with DJ Paul Oakenfold to create the visuals for his 2008 World Tour.[12]


Koepke founded Modernista! with Lance Jensen in 2000.[13] Jensen left the agency in December 2010.[14] Modernista! is an independent agency with clients such as Sears, Product (RED),[15] the National Park Foundation,[16] Nickelodeon, Food Should Taste Good, Chug, Sophos, Jack Wills, Boulder Digital Works,[17] Doc to Dock, Stop Handgun Violence,[18] and the Art Institute of Boston.[19] In the past, Modernista! has created marketing campaigns for clients such as General Motors,[20] Palm, Showtime[21] TIAA-CREF,[22] Napster, Gap, Anheuser-Busch, MTV, and Converse.[23]

Modernista! was named Regional Agency of the Year by AdWeek in 2004[24] 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.[25] The website was also selected for the Communication Arts Interactive Annual[26] and the ID Design Annual and was recognized by the D&AD Awards.[27] 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.[28]

In spring 2011 Modernista! shuttered its doors due to the sudden exit of co-founder Lance Jensen.[29]


Fifteen months after the Boston-based Modernista! shut down, Koepke, joined SapientNitro as global ECD of brand content innovation.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Koepke is a musician and painter. His work has been shown at the DNP Gallery in Japan.[31]


  1. ^ Garfinkel, Mark (September 11, 2008). "Ad agency Modernista relies on out-of-the-box thinking". USA Today.
  2. ^ Anderson, Mae (June 16, 2003). "Gary Koepke, Co-Founder, Modernista!, Outdoor and Press Juror". AllBusiness. Archived from the original on October 6, 2009.
  3. ^ Hayman, Luke; Moghadam, Rami (September 9, 2008). "New Work: 'Vibe'". Pentagram. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009.
  4. ^ ""26"/AGFA Journal". AIGA Design Archives.
  5. ^ Newman, Robert (November 30, 2010). "The Art Direction of Musician Magazine: Gary Koepke". The Society of Publication Designers. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017.
  6. ^ Williams, Alex (December 22, 1997). "The Great American Sellout". New York Magazine. Vol. 30, no. 49. p. 87. ISSN 0028-7369.
  7. ^ "Strange Ritual". David Byrne. Archived from the original on February 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Hunter, Sandy (June 5, 2002). "Koepke directs Bowie". Boards. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "The @U2 Interview: Gary Koepke". @U2. February 5, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Macleod, Duncan (December 23, 2006). "U2 Window in the Skies Music Videos". The Inspiration Room.
  11. ^ "U2, "Window in the Skies" – Dir. Gary Koepke". Videofeast. 2006. Archived from the original on August 19, 2011.
  12. ^ "Oakenfold Taps Modernista for 2008 Tour Visuals". Advertising Age. April 1, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "American Beauty". Communication Arts. September 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011.
  14. ^ "Modernista Founder Lance Jensen Heads to Hill Holiday". Advertising Age. December 9, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ (RED)NIGHTS concert site, Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "This Is Your Land," in Communication Arts 2010 Interactive Annual, Archived 2011-02-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Boulder Digital Works Partners with Modernista!," in, June 8, 2010,
  18. ^ "Stop Handgun Violence Debuts Dramatic Billboard in Massachusetts….", Stop Handgun Violence press release Archived 2008-11-21 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Security Check Required". Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  20. ^ "Marketing Muscle and Guzzle," in The New York Times, October 24, 2007, See also "Modernista Wins the General Motors' Cadillac Account," in BusinessWeek, June 28, 2006,
  21. ^ "Showtime, Modernista Amp Up Dexter, Season Five," in Online Marketing Connect, August 30, 2010,
  22. ^ "With Service-Career Focus, TIAA-CREF Hones Message," in USBANKER, October 2004, Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "A Century of Converse Shoes Have Adorned Many Feet," in the Boston Globe, Sept. 7, 2010,
  24. ^ "Regional Agency of the Year: Modernista!," in AdWeek, Jan. 12, 2004,
  25. ^ "SxSW: Can Neuroscience Trump Creativity in Marketing?," report of panel discussion featuring Gary Koepke, in, March 13, 2010,
  26. ^ "Modernista!," in Communication Arts 2009 Interactive Annual, Archived 2010-12-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ "Ad Agency Gets Web 2.0! Can It Be True?," in AttentionMax, March 28, 2008, See also "Modernista Dismantles Site, Trusts the 'Net to Share Its Ethos," in Marketing Vox, March 19, 2008, Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ "Showtime (Dexter): Serial Huntress", in Creativity Online
  29. ^ "Last Day for Staff at Modernista Is Friday". Advertising Age. April 27, 2011.
  30. ^ "SapientNitro Taps Industry Maverick Gary Koepke to Lead Global Brand Content Innovation (NASDAQ:SAPE)". Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  31. ^ "The 32nd Exhibition: 2 American Art Directors". Retrieved April 4, 2017.