5+ | Gerald Schoenoff

by Caitlin on September 30, 2011

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gerald since my early days at Westside Studio, he was really one of the first clients I worked with. We’ve always got along wonderfully, so it was natural of me to ask him to contribute to 5+!

Gerald was fortunate enough to have Russell Monk take his portrait, a unique and privileged experience for him. Watching Russell walk up and down King Street to find the perfect backdrop for the portrait of Gerald was inspiring in itself, you could see the creative wheels inside Russell’s head spinning.

Gerald © Russell Monk

Within a few minutes, Russell had the shot! Yup, people, he’s that good!

We finished up with a lovely lunch at The One That Got Away and catching up on old times, Gerald and Russell haven’t seen much of each other since their shoot together for PEI Tourism, back in 2006, it was a great morning!

Thanks again Gerald!


To me there’s nothing more inspiring than walking through a forest on a slightly overcast day with a light drizzle, especially the few times it’s been to a BC rainforest. Another would be driving along the Pacific coast watching the ocean waves pound on the beaches. Nature inspires me like nothing else. I like to observe the light during different times of the day and see how the shadows change along with the colours. Same with design patterns that naturally exist on insects, plants or animals. I find it cool to take a close look and isolate something really specific and study it.

Rainforest by the Capilano Suspension Bridge

HWY 1 Big Sur

Brackley Beach in Prince Edward Island with 2PM light

Bee stuck on my car antenna


It’s funny but I love to go to galleries but I’m not drawn to landscapes at all. Even though they inspire me in real life I’m drawn to conceptual contemporary works that may not necessarily be esthetically pleasing but get me to think about something in a completely different way. Don’t get me wrong of course, I still love the usual Met or Getty but really like the Power Plant or the Contemporary section at the AGO.

Diane and Steph after a long day at the Met with me.

Ken Lum’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

People I Work With

What I love about the business we’re in is we get to work some really talented people and sometimes we get to work with some gifted artists. This year I got to shoot with a two time Academy Award winning cinemetographer Bob Richardson. It was a little intimidating to think here’s the guy that shot most of Oliver Stone’s films most of Quentin Tarantino’s films and Marin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro to name a few more. The cool thing was to see the guy as accomplished as he is, love his craft and work as hard as anyone else on the set.

I also got to work with Peter Schreyer on a project which was a thrill. He’s the guy that designed the VW Bettle and Audi TT and is now the head designer of Kia. I loved hearing him explain to me why he designed certain features on the car and what his point of view was on wheels. He says they’re like shoes on a woman. They can either make or ruin the outfit.

Bob Richard at the craft table. Like I said, he loves his craft.

Philippe Starck personally designs Peter’s glasses.

My kids

My kids have always been an inspiration to me for different reasons along the way. When they were younger they were like sponges and seeing their thirst for creativity fueled my own. Now they are into their own things like creating music or social justice. We work on projects together and collaborate on stuff. They haven’t been beaten down by creative directors or clients yet or become overly self aware so they are totally fresh and their insights are so honest.

Nick and Steph probably looking at one of my ads.

Nick spinning some tracks.

Steph in Peru helping build a community center.

My Bike Rides

Finally, I’d have to say my bike rides are something I look forward to. I usually ride up to Milton and North of Hamilton along the Escarpment. Haven’t done enough of them lately but they completely clean out my brain and I come back with a clean slate. It’s four hours of me playing mental games with myself to keep up the pace and not give into the physical exhaustion. Because I’m not trying to consciously solve a problem, it’s then that I often come up with a lot of my ideas.

At the top of Appleby Line north of Derry.

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