Jon Kusner started his career in lighting design at Maine East high school in Park Ridge, IL. Before he pursued the subject further at Illinois state University. At ISU he designed lighting for The Adding Machine and scenery and lighting for Bloody Poetry. Graduating from ISU in 1995, he began his MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. After the first year in the program, Jon decided that his work in the professional field with Vari-Lite, and assisting famed Broadway lighting designer Ken Billington, was a more valuable education for him than graduate school. So, upon completing the “M” in “MFA”, Jon abandoned the “F” and the “A” and started working full time in the business. Jon assisted Ken Billington on numerous broadway shows including Footloose, and the long running production of Chicago. He opened multiple productions of Chicago around the world during his time with Mr. Billington. Jon also found time during the late 90’s to moonlight on corporate shows, lighting sales meetings, large scale product launches and corporate events for companies such as WorldCom, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer among many others.
Jon decided to relocate to the west coast in 2000 after being introduced to television lighting. In Los Angeles, he took a position with Full Blood, a lighting design firm led by Bobby Dickinson, one of the fathers of television lighting. Under the mentorship of Dickinson, Jon worked as a member of the lighting team for famed TV shows such as the Academy Awards, The Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Country Music Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors and many other live broadcast special events. During these years, Jon found his niche in special event television and music specials. He traveled widely throughout the world working on such productions as the Olympic games opening ceremonies, World Expo In China and numerous Music Award shows. Once he established himself in the LA television community professionally, Jon decided to make his home in Park City, Utah.
Today, Jon continues his work as a lighting designer both on his own projects, and at the helm of various Full Flood projects. At Full Flood, he has worked on signature shows such as the Oscars, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, and the Emmys. He also co-designs shows such as the Country Music Awards, and the Billboard Music Awards with Dickinson, and is the title designer on productions such as the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, the Creative Arts Emmys, TV Land Awards, the AFI Tribute shows for the last 5 years, the Kids’ Choice Awards, the MTV VMA’s, the Radio Disney Awards, Christmas in Washington, and many other live television specials. Nominated for 11 Emmy’s, Jon has won two, both times for his lighting work on the Grammys.
Jon’s mother, Justine, would like to say that she thought Jon would be digging ditches for a living, until he discovered lighting and theatre in High School. Jon’s wife Anne (a television set designer and daughter Lucie are also very proud of his work and success as a lighting designer. When Lucie says she wants to become an actress, her parents say “No!! Show business is a great career, but stay backstage”