The artist who’s an inventor.
“I’ve been passionate about drawing and graphics ever since I was old enough to pick up a pen,” says John Zielinski, the owner of Lakehouse Studios. “I started when I was about 4 years old, drawing whatever popped into my head. I’ve been lucky to be able to turn my childhood hobby into a career.”
Zielinski serves as the Lakehouse’s digital media artist and oversees a team that tackles a variety of projects in the worlds of graphic design, video production and web design. The company has been operating out of an expansive space in Brighton since 2010 and recently set up a second location in downtown Franklin to better service their clients in the Metro Detroit and Oakland County areas.
“We actually have two facilities in Brighton,” Zielinski says. “There are two barns that serve as our office space and studios for photo shoots. We can use the whole area for our film and photo work and take advantage of things like a lakefront, apple orchard and forest trails. The whole setup offers an up-north feel but still within civilization. That’s what I like about living and working in this area – you can go from an urban to a rural setting quickly. This allows us to offer our clients a wide range of visual options for their photography projects.”
Zielinski’s passion for the arts also extends beyond his profession. Presently, he serves as a board member for Canvas Pontiac, a group dedicated to bring art and culture back to downtown Pontiac. “What we do is invite local artists from around the state to submit their art so it can be displayed publicly in the area,” he explains. “We’re trying to inspire the local community to be involved, with the hopes to one day become an international program. Last year our call for artists was seen by more than 1,000 people in the regional talent contest, pulling artists from further and further away as well as those right here in our own neighborhoods. This enables everyone who wants to be involved to become connected to Pontiac.”
The comeback of Detroit and surrounding areas is also something Zielinski takes personal pride in. “There has been a real revitalization in the city and beyond, and it’s exciting to be a part of that in any way I can,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of changes in the area, but this is my home and I want to thrive here along with the community. It’s constantly growing and evolving. I lived in Downtown Detroit for four years and to see the changes taking place since I’ve left is amazing.”
Ultimately, it all comes back to work for Zielinski. “The best thing about my job is the experience of seeing things through from inception to finish,” he says. “I like to collaborate and bounce things around with my team and our clients. Everyone has ideas, but it’s our job to bring them to life. I almost see myself as an inventor as opposed to a designer because I’m constantly creating new and unusual solutions for each project.”
When speaking with Zielinski, it’s obvious he’s passionate about his work as well as the communities that surround him. “I like nature and exploring,” he says. “This area certainly has a lot to offer in that regard. I like to check out what’s new and what’s changed with each visit. There are a lot of hidden gems in this area in terms of properties, so seeing them in person is very inspirational. They give me ideas for future projects in terms of brand building.”
“I’m also into beekeeping and am an arborist,” he adds. “There are McIntosh apple trees and Concord grapes on our Brighton property as well as bee hives. I know how to gather the honey and even though it’s a messy process, it’s still rewarding because it’s connected to nature, the environment and the ecology. My cousins were into it and I got involved when I was about 6. But I still like to tie this all into the community and helping others. We donate our apples and grapes to local charities and food banks. Helping others is definitely what it’s all about.” NS
6320 Richards Drive,
Brighton, MI 48116
32751 Franklin Road,
Franklin, MI 48025