Volumeone was started as a personal web project created by me, Matt Owens. Having graduated with a masters degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Graphic Design in 1995 at 24, I was restless to get into the workforce. After working in Portland Oregon and in New York for two years, I wanted to find a way to recapture some of the experimental energy I had cultivated in graduate school. Volumeone is the result of this desire and reflects the idea of a book series or journal. From the Spring of 1997 to 2009 I published 30 different “seasons” that consisted of a selection of personal creative work, projects and formal experiments. The Seasons idea gave me a framework to publish regularly and was instrumental in helping get my name and work out into the design world.

Early projects used the limited capabilities of the web and consisted of animated gifs and primitive Javascript pop-up windows. Over time I transitioned into using Flash exclusively which allowed me to ride a new wave of experimental web design in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. between 1999 and 2003 my Volumeone work gained a great deal of attention. I had the fortune of speaking all over the world and sharing my views on graphic design, DIY ethics, self publishing, and the value of pushing what the web could do. The SFMOMA also added Volumeone to its permanent collection.

By the mid 2000’s Flash began falling out of favor and I started developing video pieces along with Flash based narratives. With the rise of smart phones and social media, I put aside Volumeone in 2009 to focus on family and my studio practice.

Looking back, I’m glad I did Volumeone because it allowed me to be part of a very specific moment in time — before social media, Instagram and Youtube — when the web was still the wild west and experimental design-driven creative work was appreciated. It was a cool moment to be a part of and I feel lucky for the friendships and visibility this work afforded me. Because Flash is no longer supported, this site serves as an archive of that work in the form of stills and video.

This archive is a window into my creative output when I was a young restless designer trying to make sense of my place in the world in the late 90's and 2000’s and as the web became so fundamental to our lives. Much of the work is a product of its time but I’m proud of the effort I put into it and hope that those that stumble upon the work enjoy it for its time and place.