Don’t worry, Wade Jeffree is alive and well. Even though he’s been producing new work at a fast clip and giving tons of talks at conferences around the world (often with his partner in design and in life, Leta Sobierajski), his online presence has given us little indication of what he’s been up to recently; and while he’s not exactly social media averse, it’s not the first place he turns to share his latest portfolio-worthy projects. Using a platform designed by someone else to share his personal design work just doesn’t seem to be his thing, and really, who can blame him? And so for the last year and a half he’s been busy designing a personal site that’s truly personal (as in literally), and is now unveiling one of the cleverest, funniest, and most honest design sites we’ve seen.
“I wanted to create ‘the ultimate personal website.’ A lot of people say they have a personal website, but it’s actually not personal at all; it just shows their work. So I wanted to look at how you could really embody that idea.”
In a canny riff on the culture of oversharing, and the equally obnoxious, navel-gazing qualities of the quantified self “movement,” Jeffree’s vital stats are tracked and displayed on his new site (designed by Sons & Co) that utilizes a special app created by VR researcher Max Weisel (who’s got a sweet personal site of his own, designed by Jeffree, natch). “Vital” meaning his current location, his heart beats per minute, the song he’s streaming, and the number of unread emails in his inbox (currently a daunting 46,955).
But just what do we do with this information? What does it mean? And how do we extract the Wade-ness of it all? Each status update has a corresponding video; just click through from the splash page and you can see precisely what he’s up to at any given moment—not in a boring, big-brother-camera/fly-on-the-wall way—but in the thoughtfully considered, intentionally art directed, and never not humorous way that is very, very, Wade Jeffree. In fact, if you find his recent work for DS & Durga, the New York Times, or the OFFF Conference intimidatingly good, watch one of the 31 different short videos that play on loop: “Wade is working” is Jeffree tapping intently away at his laptop with miniature rubber hands attached to every finger; “Wade is stressing” is Jeffree freakishly bearing his teeth with the aid of a clear acrylic dental dam; “Wade is drinking” is Jeffree emptying an entire bottle of red wine into a wine glass and then sniff-testing it before taking a tentative sip.
As someone who visits a lot of designer’s personal sites, this is one of the few (only?) I’ve seen that keeps me hitting refresh and bookmarking it to come back later just to see what Jeffree is up to next. Earlier today I witness him “Warholing,” and that can only be a sign of good things to come.