Jesse Stagg (born New York 1970) is a creative director with deep roots in pop culture and a background in advertising, design, media arts, and experiential marketing. He lives in Los Angeles, California, where he consults and lectures on the intersection of technology, entertainment and design. He once attended the TED (conference) on a hacked pass.
Early life and career
Born in New York City, educated in London and Cape Town, he was raised in a commune in Surrey England. A third-generation Creative in the entertainment industry, he began his career at Ogilvy & Mather advertising in Cape Town, South Africa.
After leaving Ogilvy & Mather, Stagg founded UFO with partner Carl Mason, a collective focused on building large scale socially diverse events around music. In 1991 UFO created the influential dance club Club Eden, followed by a second club "Uforia". UFO's numerous events and venues helped lay the foundation for the emerging South African Electronica scene, and the indigenous forms of Techno known as Kwaito and played a part in the early social re-integration of the Post-Apartheid Rave Generation.
During the 90s Stagg produced and created events throughout South Africa and the United States. Beginning with the World Peace Party (1990), the first rave in Africa, and concluding with Leonardo DiCaprio's millennium party in 2000.
He returned to advertising and design in 1994 as senior art-director at Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network studios overseeing the launches of Dexter's Lab, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, Powerpuff Girls and others of the Emmy winning World Premiere Toons on Cartoon Network.
Stagg went on to work as an Art-Director at Disney Online then moved to Paramount Studios as Creative Services Manager. He later joined Burbank based FTM (Feed The Monster), as senior Art-Director producing award winning web sites for CBS/Infinity radio stations KROQ-FM, KCBS-FM, and KITSLIVE105.
The 7th Portal
In 1999 Stagg's cartoon The 7th Portal was produced by Stan Lee, high-profile editor of Marvel Comics. On its release in 2000, it broke records for an online series, coining the phrase "Webisode". The 7th Portal 3D theme park ride later broke attendance records at Paramount Parks.
Other professional roles
From 2003 to 2005, Stagg was the communications chair of the Graphic Arts Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). During his tenure, the council inaugurated "Into The Pixel", the first video game art awards, and commissioned works by artists Shepard Fairey, Salomón Huerta, and Kenny Scharf.
In 2006, Stagg was US consultant to Banksy's critically acclaimed Barely Legal show in Los Angeles. The show ignited a firestorm of controversy due to the inclusion of a live hand-painted Indian elephant centerpiece. The exhibit was a breakthrough for the UK artist, attended by 30,000 people over its 3-day span. It featured heavily in mass media and the Oscar® nominated documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop.
In 2014 Stagg curated the Nelson Mandela Mural by Shepard Fairey in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. An 8-storey tribute to Nelson Mandela and South Africa's historic Purple Rain Protest, the artwork marked the passing of Nelson Mandela and the 20th anniversary of Democracy in South Africa.