Jonathan Stephens - Designer/Creative Director/CEO
Jonathan made the move to Los Angeles in 1994 from Little Rock, Arkansas where he was born and raised. Upon moving to Los Angeles, he soon realized he wanted to be behind the camera where he could have creative control and offer his own vision. He attended the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema/Television, where he received a B.A. in Film Studies. USC was the perfect place to make his vision a reality through directing films, producing music videos, and learning the art of still photography.
While attending USC, his photography and films began taking on a distinct style. Two of the films he directed at USC, “Misled”, a horror film, and “Lord of Sacred Doors”, a psychedelic journey through a doctor’s mind, both attracted a lot of critical acclaim from USC Cinema/TV. During the last year of his attendance at USC, Jonathan Co-Produced a music video “A Certain Shade of Green” for Incubus under Epic Record/Sony Music directed by Kenny Morrison.
After graduating from USC Cinema/TV in 1998, he landed a job in production with The X-Files. He worked on the show for four seasons (Seasons 6-9). During that time, he directed a music video for a hip-hop group called“Dameon One and Official.” He also continued pursuing his photography, testing models, shooting magazine editorials, headshots, bands, album covers, and more.
During the 9th Season of The X-Files, Jonathan was asked by Kim Manners (Director and Co-Executive Producer) to be the Still Photographer for the episode entitled “Release.” He photographed murder victims (40 extras made-up to look dead by the Emmy Award winning make-up department led by Cheri Montesanto-Medcalf) and designed a wall collage with the photos for the interior of the main character’s apartment. The crew often referred to the wall as “The Wall of Death.” Jonathan's work was featured on-camera throughout the episode and served as an essential tool in furthering the plot.
During the latter part of Season 9, he was hired byThe X-Files Magazine and The X-Files Official Website (thexfiles.com) to photograph images for publicity and behind the scenes. His work has been featured on the main page of the X-Files official website, X-Files posters, coffee table books, magazines, behind the scenes series DVDs, and other various X-Files publications. While working on the X-Files, Jonathan worked very closely with Kim Manners from every stage of production, from the concept meetings all the way through shooting on set in production to editing the completed episode in the editing bay.
Jonathan’s photography was exhibited for the first time on February 16, 2002 in a group art show at Transmission House Gallery in Hollywood. He has also had numerous shows with the Cannibal Flower Underground Art Movement during the past year. He has also exhibited his first one-man show called “The Wonderland Exhibit” in various Los Angeles galleries and venues. The response from this exhibit was overwhelmingly successful. Not only did thousands of people enjoy the experience, the hottest curators in the LA art world began to take notice such as Billy Shire of La Luz de Jesus Gallery / Billy Shire Fine Arts.
The celebrity clients in Jonathan's photography portfolio to date include: Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick, David Duchovny, Annabeth Gish, Mitch Pileggi, Snoop Dogg, Martin Scorcese, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, and Archbishop Don Magic Juan.
After The X-Files, Jonathan went on to shoot the album cover for “Slightly Stoopid” (Everything You Need – album), a band under Silverback Management. Under Silverback, he also produced a music video for “Sweet Honey”, Slightly Stoopid’s hit single that played in heavy rotation on KROQ, 91X, and various other markets across the nation. Aside from directing/producing music videos and shooting album covers, his photography was featured on various episodes of The Bachelor 3. Jonathan also licensed an image for a Book Cover titled "EXECUTIVE SECRETS: Covert Action & The Presidency" written by William J. Daugherty, forward by Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down. Many of Jonathan’s photos were just published in a brand new coffee table book for The X-Files entitled “The Complete X-Files – Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies” by Matt Hurwitz & Chris Knowles, Foreword by Chris Carter. Jonathan has also been involved with consulting for various developed new concepts for TV Programming with an emphasis on Licensing and Product Merchandising for producers and production companies.
Jonathan began making his first watches in 2002. He has always been a fanatic of watches and sunglasses and was looking for something other than the leather banded Fossil and Diesel brands marketed to men. With only three watches under his belt, Jonathan began to see a market for his designs as more and more people stopped him on the street to inquire where they could buy the product. When they discovered it was his design, people began placing orders.
Jonathan was able to place samples of his watches in high-end boutiques in Malibu and Hollywood on Melrose, through friends who worked there. Within 6 months, he was able to secure an account with a large chain of Japanese department stores.
While making various connections in Hollywood, he was able to work closely with celebrity stylists and celebrities themselves to promote the TIMEBANDITS brand. Snoop Dogg’s reaction was so positive that he has been captured at event after event world wide sporting TIMEBANDITS Watches.
Many celebrities have been seen wearing Jonathan’s line of TIMEBANDITS Watches including: AMERICAN IDOL Contestant Chikezie, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CONTESTANT: Sara Kei VonGillern), (AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANTS: Sanjaya Malakar, Chris Richardson, and Blake Lewis), Paris Hilton, SNOOP DOGG, Nicole Ritchie, NICK VERREOS from Project Runway, Jack Osbourne, Flavor Flav, Haylie Duff, Pamela Anderson, FERGIE of the Black Eyed Peas, Naomi Watts, PEREZ HILTON, Jenny McCarthy, Arch Bishop Don Magic Juan, the band 311, Cast of LA Ink, Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana and many, many more.
The Pool Trade Show, an indie/underground designer show for up and comers (now owned by Magic Trade Show of Las Vegas) was Jonathan’s first experience in the trade show scene. Fred Segal approached him, offering him an opportunity to sell his designs in their stores. This was a very pivotal point, especially considering that designer competition was (and is) steep. But for Jonathan, it wasn’t just the marketing power that came with the way his brand was portrayed, it was the smile on someone’s face when they put the watch on and say – “Oh no you didn’t? with a laugh - that mattered. This product line that Jonathan designed became a door opener for all kinds of unique opportunities and fun adventures. His watches have been sold in well over 1000 retail stores worldwide.
Jonathan is currently expanding the TIMEBANDITS brand and is developing a line of TIMEBANDITS Gangster Toys. The release for the first Urban Vinyl Gangster Figure is scheduled for Spring 2010. There will even be a TIMEBANDITS Comic Book released in association with the line of toys! Stay tuned for more TIMEBANDITS Toy updates.
Working in Hollywood entertainment has afforded Jonathan a spattering of celebrity contacts, but that’s not what is more important to him. He became sober over 8 years ago. He didn’t go the Anonymous route, seeking support from AA; he simply quit cold turkey. Partying and drinking was only getting in the way of what he truly wanted to accomplish. Jonathan needed to produce “tangible work and tangible evidence of his time on this planet.”
He says, “I can take someone into a room right now completely filled with art, photographs, paintings, designs, products, films…complete archives of a creative body of work. All of that to me is worth a lot more than a hang over and an empty bank account.”