Brock Kenzler’s hilarious side projects will remind you how much you love the internet

Date
27 October 2017
Reading Time
3 minute read

Brisbane-based Brock Kenzler has had a long career working in the field of digital design. Currently design director of Josephmark, a digital product studio where he’s spent the last five-and-a-half years, he has previously worked on the redesign of Myspace and as a digital art director at an advertising agency. Despite all of this, it was his ridiculously hilarious side projects that caught our eye.

Brock’s route into the world of code and web development wasn’t a particularly straightforward one. As a young teen he was an aspiring cartoonist, a dream that quickly ended when grunge music and playing guitar came along. He pursued engineering in his studies but quickly “got burnt out with maths and science by the end of high school”. He finally settled on multimedia studies, a course his mum suggested due to his obsession with the internet. “You paid by the hour back then, and I remember I bought 150 hours for 150 dollars or something bizarre like that,” Brock says. He went on to explain how “the only things I remember doing on it were chatting with weirdos and looking up info about bands – Google wasn’t a thing yet.”

His degree still didn’t really prepare him for his eventual career – he spent his time making interactive CD-ROMs while the “real world” was experimenting with Flash websites. Upon graduation, Brock took the first front-end web development job he was offered and quickly figured out he was more of a designer than a developer. “The whole time I felt like a fraud, because while I was great at HTML and CSS, I sucked at JavaScript and ActionScript (Flash’s programming language). I always had to ask my senior to basically write it all for me. I never picked it up,” he says. He quickly transitioned to a full-time designer but kept up coding in his spare time and we’re glad he did because it’s what enabled him to make all these side projects.

Brock’s website is an amalgamation of personal projects, all made in his spare time after work or on the weekend. “It all started with Sexy Wing Dings I think. Eventually I had enough projects to justify making a portfolio,” Brock told us. The projects included involve elements of surprising humour, that “Easter egg” (as it’s often called) that subverts the subtle digital interactions most of us take for granted. For example “people don’t think twice about scrollbars. They don’t even look at them or interact with them anymore with scroll wheels and touch devices. I, on the other hand, looked at one once and thought, that could be a penis,” so Brock made it into a browser extension. “Took a bit of back and forth to get that one on the Google Chrome Store, let me tell you,” he jokes.

Other examples of Brock’s work include Pokemon Jigsaw Puzzle that turns organising apps on your iPhone into a sliding tile puzzle; Emojis and Earth Porn, a modern day Where’s Wally which challenges you to find the one static emoji in a sea of moving ones; and One Million Lols which is literally a webpage with the word “LOL” written one million times.

Whatever the project, Brock has the ability to see humour in the everyday ways we interact with our devices. His work manages to grab your attention in a world that bombards with information, and makes you laugh, smile or even just shake your head and say “ah, I love the internet.”

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Brock’s website

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Build Shruggie

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Cool Side Projects

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Jiggysaw

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One Million LOLs

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Rageaholic

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Sexy Wing Dings

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POMO Google Maps Clock

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Penis Scrollbar

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About the Author

Ruby Boddington

Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.

rbd@itsnicethat.com

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