Universal & Individual Culture in NYC: Virtue's Trent Rohner

Make lots of friends. Find your own pace. Be passionate – even if it’s just being passionate about finding what your passionate about.

Trent Rohner
Group Creative Director Virtue

Tell us about yourself and your current role: Where are you from? What do you do?

My name is Trent Rohner and I am a group creative director at Virtue – the agency born from VICE.

I am originally from Oregon but have been in New York for 10 years, a good majority of that spent at VICE before heading over to VIRTUE.

As group creative director I help to set the stage for great work. I don’t drive the racecar much anymore, but it’s my responsibility to make sure it wins.


How would you describe the culture of New York City?

The culture of New York City is both a universal thing and an individual thing.

It’s individual in that you can find nearly any kind of scene/culture you want. New York doesn’t really care who you are, so you’re free to be whoever you want to be. It’s accepting in its ambivalence.

It’s a universal thing in that even within different cultures, that culture is always influenced by the city itself. New York is a character, not just a location. 


In what ways does the city or its culture inspire you and your work?

New York is always moving a thousand miles an hour, so no matter what you do you or what your goals are you have the added benefit of that baseline momentum and inevitable entropy.

New York refuses to be defined in black and white, but chooses to thrive in the gray. That divine tension between good and bad, work and life, chaos and peace. The tension that makes for beautiful, unique, memorable work.


What is the best incentive that NYC offers agencies?

New York generally attracts the best, most ambitious talent in the world. Or, if it doesn’t attract them, then it creates them through sheer force of will, a heaping spoonful of fear and anxiety, and a dash of insanity.


Could you offer any advice to young talent heading to work in NYC?

Make lots of friends. Find your own pace. Be passionate – even if it’s just being passionate about finding what your passionate about. Never rent the first apt you see. Wash your hands.   

Why should young talents and industry leaders come to NYC? What is the best part of working in NYC?

Young talent: Industry leaders come to NYC to find the best young talent.

Industry Leaders: The best young talent comes to NYC to find the best industry leaders.

Some of the best industry leaders today, started in NYC as the best young talent.

Many of the industry leaders of tomorrow, will find their stride as young talent in NYC today.

If you had to choose, what is your favorite hidden-gem in NYC?