Jeffrey Buoncristiano is a natural in front of the camera. His steely eyes and epic beard are frequently featured in front of the lens of countless photographers, and in the bearded community he is known for one of the most killer man mane’s and badass beardstache’s around. But what many might not know is that Buoncristiano’s real passion lies behind the camera.
As a motion graphics artist (or VFX artist), Buoncristiano is responsible for creating media in various mediums from video to photography.
“Since I can remember, I have always loved entertainment,” says Buoncristiano.
“I loved watching Saturday morning cartoons. I would set up a VCR and tape Darkwing Duck, replay the theme song until I memorized every word. Then I’d go through frame by frame and study how animation works. Then I’d pause it and tape a piece of paper on the screen and trace the characters until I started to ‘get it’ and I felt comfortable drawing and then finding artists that changed my views on art such as H.R. Giger and M.C. Escher.”
He goes on to say that as he got older and immersed himself in the work of more filmmakers and artists, he started to refine his scope and find his calling.
“I think I watched Aliens when I was young and that blew me away. Also artists like Brian Froud when I found Labyrinth just is amazing! These artists were creating things I’ve never seen before and I wanted to do anything close to them but that was my own. As time went on I fell in love with movies and video games. These were the things that made me excited beyond compare, and the idea of being an artist that got to create media that countless people would see seemed like the best case scenario. But I didn’t need anyone to see it. I would make things for myself and friends and everything just for the sake of it. Time went on and I grew and so did my craft.”
And even though he initially spent his time creating for himself and his friends, he has gone on to make a career from his creativity, seeing his creations show up in a variety of places.
“These days, I get to say that I’ve worked on stuff that would make my seven year-old self a fan of me. I’ve created animations and work seen on global platforms, I even saw something I made in the ‘trailers’ when I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens! It was surreal to see something in a theater. It was literally one second long little thing, but I don’t care, I got excited to be like ‘Awesome, I am a part of this!’ That is my professional goal, and each year I try to impress myself more, and of course make my family proud of me.”
But while Buoncristiano has been behind the lens since childhood, a few years ago he unexpectedly found himself gaining notoriety for something he didn’t expect – his beard. He was featured on Buzzfeed in an article titled “This Man Got Stupidly Hot After He Spent A Year Growing a Beard”
“There have been countless articles on it,” he laughs.
Before that, I had beards before in my life, but never made it past a month long. I used to do No-Shave November every year for kicks. I hated how itchy it got, and thought I looked dumb, but it was fun and whatnot. The itch factor got to me too much, and I had never heard of beard oil.”
As his beard grew and he started to learn more about beardcare products, he found Beardbrand.
“I remember loving the all ways Beardbrand approached having a beard. There was a bit of other beard care products out, but their arrogant attitude really turned me off,” he says.
“I was all about my beard, but I wasn’t ONLY about my beard. Beardbrand was the only brand I could identify with in that regard. So I wrote them a fan letter praising their efforts and offered help promoting them and such. With the boom of attention I was living in at the time for my beard, I thought it was important to stand behind something aside from the status quo, and Beardbrand has been a part of my life since!”
Today, Buoncristiano has adopted a more minimalist approach to his beard, as outlined in one of his recent videos for Beardbrand. But regardless of the length and style of his beard, his popularity and notoriety haven’t waned one bit, and he says that is something he never takes for granted.
I define myself as a person who embraces an idea that my life is best lived fueling my passions and disciplining myself to grow and help others grow who are interested in the same or of like minded,” he says.
“Inspiring others is also an intended goal and to support people and help them reach their goals in life. There is no reason to be an asshole when working with things you love and around inspiring people. I promote bringing out the best in everyone and having a good time in the process!”
To learn more about Jeff’s work and connect with him, visit his website buon-buon.com, and find him on Instagram.