Thursday, 30 December 2010

Winter Blues

I love how blue seems to creep in as a major colour of Winter. My Winter blues has kicked in now the snow has all dissapeared and sadly melted away. Without forgetting the true meaning of this this time of year, I adore how brands + retail go all out, to cash in on the religious event.
I was able to brave the worst of the snow and drove up to Birmingham for my annual pilgrimage to UK's largest outdoor German Market, where every stall looked like Santas Grotto!

I did however, manage to take many digital photos in the white stuff as well as getting to grips with my recently acquired Canon AE-1 film camera. This oldschool relic has a multitude of shutter speeds + exposure settings that have been perfect at this time of year to capture Christmas lights.
Seasons Greetings.

Friday, 3 December 2010

the bigger the better

This image has been a wallpaper on one of the mac's in the design studio since September and has always caught my eye. So I finally decided to look into the work of American photographer Greg Crewdson. His style and techniques are well known for being large scale and rather elaborate with most focusing on American small town suburbs and rural neighbourhoods. He brings the use of light into the equation due to his fascination of the 'poetic condition of twilight', which give a distinct signiture to his photography. Each image is a staged scene with actors on a large set, a crew and the use of lighting and other special effects like fake rain, smoke and dry ice, all affecting how you see the image.
His collection “Beneath the Roses” came together with work from over six years and was completed in 2008. The image below is of Massachusetts in Winter (obviously) and is hanging in the V&A photography gallery. It is needed to be seen, as this small image does not do it justice. With so much going on, details and aspects of the image can be easily missed. So well brought together, his techniques would prove to be powerful images for an advertising campaign.
You can clearly see from this small selection of his photography, that a lot of time and work goes into setting up the scenes. On a much less grand a scale is a small creeative project I brought together last month using a few Swansea Met Art and Design Students. Below you can see the effort that has gone into staging this image, that was a part of a small series that were meant to play a trick on the viewer. Let me know what you think!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Another London Visit

Just back from another magical yet hectic exhibition filled trip to London...
  • On the top of my list was the Design Museum. Quite happily flashed my student card to gain discount to the two exhibitions - top floor was the Plain Space exhibition - the work of 'The father of modern architectural minimalism' John Pawson and the middle floor was fashion illustration from over the centuries with Drawing Fasion. There were interviews and film clips but nothing took the attention away from the original illustrations. The collection displays some of the most 'remarkable fashion illustrations from the 20th and 21st centuries', so I spent a good while with my sketch book open sketching and scribbling down work by Karl Lagerfeld, Antonio Lopez and more recently Mats Gustafson (illustrated for Alexander McQueen in Vogue China, 2010).
  • My second port of call was the V&A. After standing outside in the cold for what seemed like forever - was dissapointed to find the fashion collection, that always deserves a walk through was closed. Also the photography room was only showing about 8 new images! It was still inspiring as it displays examples of different photographic techniques and saw work by British photographer Nick Veasy, who uses a camera less x-ray as an alternative form of fashion photography.
  • Last on my list was the The Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. It was showing the first exhibition in the UK of Philippe Parreno. Guiding you through the gallery space, it was a small collection of shorts films. One film titled June 8, 1968, (2009) recalled the transportation of assassinated senator Robert Kennedy's corpse from NYC to Washington D.C. It was so interesting I had to see it twice!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A walk in the woods

Just thought I'd upload some recent photos from a walk in the Brecon Beacons. Nothing magnificent, just still trying to stay creative!

Monday, 25 October 2010

urban interaction

This was an attempt to study the urban environment. The cities of the world have proved to be a rich and varied location for numerous artists, photographers and film makers, each with their own motivation, impulse and method. I have produced a series of images that responds to the idea of 'urban interaction'. After assigning myself a location in Swansea city centre, I took over 200 photos and narrowed it down but here is a small selection.

Research included photographer: Walker Evans who documented subway passangers in the 1920s and 30s; artist and photographer Ed Ruscha who captured the essence of American Gas Stations and the Sunset Strip. Having travelled to New York City four times, I took great interest in the work of Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander and Joel Meyerowitz. Their study of New York streets show the true character of such a busy and hard working city. I've taken many photos of the big apple which could prove worthy of a future blog so will dig out the snaps.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Balkens

3 weeks ago I decided to book a next day flight to Croatia and ended up sailing around the Balkens for 2 weeks, hence my 'lack of blog'. I'm always snap happy where ever I go and took over 1000 images. Here are the top 3 photos from my travels.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Stop Motion

This is such an easy technique of making short films. With a bit of time, effort and thought it can be such a clever and unique way to advertise. An idiots guide to the process is: taking loads of photos of objects that you move slightly in every picture, then add all the frames together in a film. I'm sure every British person has seen episodes of Pingu as a child!? Here are a few stop motion videos that are worth seeing:

Something that is a bit less dreamy and more trippy is this music video. The Swedish band Rymdreglage produced this '8-bit trip' that consists of a gazillion hours of footage and countless lego bricks. (I was actually 1500 not a gazillion) Be warned - it is reeeally trippy!
This music video Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie was created on a larger than usual scale moving objects on a bed as someone sleeps. There is also an equally amusing and far less graceful 'fat guy' parody.

This Western Spaghetti video took a bit of doing involving household objects as ingredients to cook up a pretty tastey looking dish! This won several awards including being voted #2 in TIME Magazine Viral Video of the Year.
I have made a few including one 40 second drink aware advert including sausage rolls, dancing wotsits, beer and a tin of vegetable soup - it was a bit messy!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Crack on the Street

This is a continuation on from the recent blog about Doris Salcedo's 'Shibboleth' at Tate Turbine Hall in 2007. This is a brief photographic exploratory study of 'crack on the street' and where inspiration for the installation could have come from.


...the title of Doris Salcedo's installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern 2007.

This Hebrew word ‘shibboleth’ is part of a plant containing grains. The correct/incorrect prounounciation of the word was used in biblical times to distinguish between one group and another. This was also used in WW2, where American Soliders used knowledge of baseball to determine who were fellow Americans and who were German infiltrators in American uniform. Today however it is a word to describe a popular group or in-crowd.
Doris Salcedo is an artist and sculptor whose work is influenced by her experiences of life in Colombia. This piece was the 'first work to intervene directly in the fabric' of the museum and a brief explanation of it can only be described as a long 167 metre crack along the length of the concrete Turbine Hall floor.

It raised so many questions: What lies beneath? What made it? How small did it start off as and how big will it get? It also holds a lot of meaning such as what it is supposed to represent - a division, a problem? She said her work "represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred. It is the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe".

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

more photos

Not much to talk about so again, just communicating through the power of image. These are kind of bokeh-esque. I have mentioned this before but just to re-educate you, 'bokeh' is the Japanese word for blurred/out of focused. These recent digital snaps show the use of macro in taking photographs which result in the out of focus background.

Everyone has a digital camera of some kind and should have a setting on it for close up. Any good digital camera should have a focus that lets you snap sharp pictures of things closer than 20cm. Why not be creative and have a play around and see what you can come up with. It's actually a fun way of seeing things up close and in a new viewpoint. Have a look at this online gallery of similar inspirational photographs.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

You're going places!

Today was GCSE results day and this morning I was explaining where my sister could get to with the right attitude and determination. Even though I am still trying to get where I want to be in the art & design world, I offered her suggestions and inspiration as to where she could end up! Two examples of successful female arty names, that came up were:

1. Vivienne Westwood: A Designer who started off in the world of Fashion by selling her own jewellery on Portobello Road who later became British Fashion Designer of the Year in 1990, 1991 and again in 2006. Since then, she has been recognised by the Queen for her services to fashion and is now Dame Westwood.
She first studied silversmithing and I was told by someone who worked with Viv, that she is always very hands on. Well known for her own personal dress & flamboyant style, her outrageous and outlandish designs came from a wide variety of inspiration including Hobo and Buffalo, Pirates and Punk. I am proud to say that I am lucky enough to own a Viv tie, which I have included a photo of!

2. Jamie Nelson: Not so well known as the above, but still successful as a New York based photographer with a well established portfolio. Having mastered photography for beauty & fashion she's also lucky enough to have bridged the gap into advertising photography. Here's a collection from Online Fashion Mag' Trendland. The point I was trying to get across was, if you are talented and have the right motivation, you'll eventually get far. Congratulations to my sister for getting an A* in GCSE Art!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Roof Top Antics

I am all about making an impact to create awareness and a roof top gig is the way to get people talking!
Many well known artists and bands do some crazy shit to raise their profile. Aside from throwing a TV out of a hotel window, Bon Jovi decided to promote their 12-date show in June of this year, by holding a live gig on the rooftop of London’s O2 Arena. This was broadcast on big screens so fans could see what was going on.
Great stuff, I am sure you'll agree - but it's been done! Even the great Harry Houdini in the early 1900's performed straitjacket escapes dangling upside-down from the roof of a building, whilst flyers were handed out below for publicity. There's something about buildings that attracts attention seekers: In 2004, Fathers for Justice protesters scaled the walls of Buckingham Palace dressed as super heroes. This along with similar stunts has resulted in unprecedented press coverage for the group and their ongoing campaign. U2 also played the top of Broadcasting House in 2009, to mark their 12th studio album (article). All this is nothing compared to the original stunt that the Beetles pulled, on a cold Janurary afternoon in 1969. Over 40 years, from the rooftops of Apple Records on Savile Row, the band gave a ‘concert’ that surprised a central London office lunch crowd, with the bands first live gig since they stopped touring in 1965. The Police, who objected to the noise attempted in vain to cut off the power but eventually gained access onto the roof and put an end to the 'disturbance'.

I give credit to the Beetles for their global success, however I feel they were overated. With that said, the swingin' 60's was an era that I wish I'd been alive to experience as a London Ad' Creative - where advertising was 'sexy & simple'. This stunt was original and a great way to end the 60's.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Anyone for Pimm's?

In the last week, like a game of cricket, our glorious Summer sun has been called off due to rain. Yet this doesn't mean we can't all still enjoy a well made glass of Pimm's. This 'classy' and very British drink has seen a sharp growth in the last three years, establishing itself as the second most valuable brand during Summer. Over the last decade, the success of the brand has been supported by the humorous upper-class character Harry Fitzgibbon-Sims seen in the TV adverts, played by actor Alexander Armstrong.

In 2005, to further boost sales outside the summer months, some clever thinker came up with the idea of relaunching Pimm's No 3 as the Pimm's Winter Cup. This is a brandy based drink blended with orange zest and spices. Re-launched, it came with a branded teapot and tea cozy that brought limited success, other than being a novelty.

Pimm's TV ad's over the years have been a triumph and emphasised the link between the beverage, summer and all things British. This ad from the 1980's is an early example of the drink that's long on style showing that chic trends come and go, but Pimm's will never go out of fashion.
The new ad for Summer 2010, created by London agency Mother is an original and clever concept that will be sure to help boost the Pimms brand strength. Filmed in areas of Notting Hill and Clapham, it shows a typical English gent branded with the screen message 'Pimms No. 1'. He struts around the streets, picking up followers that are all labled as a required ingredient for a decent Pimm's. Costumes give each character a sence of importance and taste, carried out by new age Costume Designer and Stylist Mr Gammon. Whilst keeping the well established 'It's Pimm's O'Clock' message, it is a well executed campaign. With all the awful '' that has been all too common this summer, Pimm's 'The Call Up', is an ad that shall be remembered with an excellent creative answer to campaign brief and enjoyed by all. "Now ... Anyone for Pimm's!?"

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


The Victoria and Albert Museum is not only the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, but is always on my to do list when I head to London.
Not that I have counted, but it boasts 145 galleries and with 12.5 acres of museum space attracting tourists who flock to see the massive collections of post-classical sculptures and South Asian art. The good thing about that is they never make it to the harder to find collection of photography. It is always changing and a great source of inspiration.
The fashion and textile gallery is always worth a look. Spent a while sketching a dress designed but the late Alexander McQueen, that took inspiration from a butterfly. They also have a collection on designer menswear, including now vintage suits from Paul Smith, Yves Saint Laurent and an original and eye catching Tommy Nutter! (Now he is one designer I would have liked to meet). Due to the variety of collection, the newly designed garden space, the grand eating space along with the V&A being a great source of inspiration, if you have yet to visit ... GO!!!

Friday, 13 August 2010

a pictures speaks a thousand words

I have not got much to say this evening and as a big believer in how 'a picture speaks a thousand words' I will communicate through these images. No matter where I go, I'm always snapping photos and it's a great way to improve and develop photography skills. I love taking photos and a part of me in longing to study photography and attempt to become a fashion and advertising photographer. Still a part of me just enjoys the simple taking of the picture. Here is a random collection of recent photo's taken around and about on my travels.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Got some moves.

To most people, dancing is just throwing some pretty snazzy shapes on the dance floor, but it can be a powerful way of communication and influence.

In previous blogs, I've ranted on about: how amazing the 'Do the Labrini' campaign was; the pure awesome-ness of how 'Brains peform best when they're hydrated' (Drench); the equally exciting and similar 'lets observe the effect of evian on the body'. These examples of viral campaigns show that dance can be more than just the movement of the body, but is a form of performance, expression and more importanlty to ad agencies, enjoyment and interaction.

The Lynx Pulse advert from the boffins at Bartle Bogle Hegarty of 2003 will always be an earlier example. In all fairness they could have made more of the advert but it was followed up by a good tutorial website. Another successful campaign was last years T-Mobile 'Life is for Sharing' at Liverpool Street Station. This video literally dramatises the advert into 'the making of ...' and gives you an insight into what agency Saatchi & Saatchi put into creating just this short 2 1/2 minute advert. A more recent event promoting a Belgium reality show was recently staged at Antwerp Station, and used the same idea.

All these campaigns carry that feel good factor that does the brand some serious credit. By broadcasting a message by using social media and through viral advertising, was the right move for the respective companies. Talking of moves - I got some! Visit my website or get in touch if you want to find out about my creative talent

Monday, 19 July 2010

photos of reflection

Thought I'd upload photos of reflection to the blog. I have received many odd looks from people, whilst I'm taking what seems to them as empty photos, but they are do not know that through the eye of the camera, a reflection can pick up images of everyday people, activity and objects. I think these have all turned out quite well. Keep an eye out for what's happening in a puddle, a shop window or other shiny thing near you as you will be suprised what image it reflects.

Huw Talfryn Walters, a Welsh London based photographer also adopts a similar style. Take a look at this photo of NYC from the East River. He has had the opportunity to take portraits and photos of Catherine Zeta Jones, Karachi and even Kurdish Separatists.

Famous photographer, Irving Penn once said "photographing a cake can be art" so I hope that will encourage you to pick up a camera and start snapping. Take a look at the photography on which has a link to my flickr page if you want to see more.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Campaign Concepts - Levis

I have to admit: I am not a copywriter, so no good at juggling around words. As a wannabe creative, I am never short of a few good ideas. If you haven't heard, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (a company I would love to work for) has just ended their 28 year long account with Levis. (Take a look at this Guardian article for more info). Due to this, I set about seeing what I could come up with and have produced three campaign concepts ...
Concept 1. Fat Guy Friendly
Not a p**s take but a comical approach to promoting how flexible and comfy Levis branded jeans can be. It has hidden messages showing that it's not about body size, it's about feeling comfortable and in Levis jeans - anyone will.
Concept 2. You too could look this good*
A cheeky campaign stating that in a Levis pair of could look as good as this average everyday Joe/Josephine.
Concept 3. nothin' butt
Again showing how comfortable you can be when wearing a pair of Levis branded jeans. Snug and sitted yet flexible and snug!
Concept 4. take note
Instructing the viewer to pay attention to what Levis have to say about, you and their products.
I'll put more visuals and mock ups on the ol' facebook page and see if I can't submit some on the Creative Review Feed. Take a look and let me know what you think!