• 8.21.14   Tiffany Patton Gets Wild in the Jewish Museum

    When Tiffany Patton arrived at the Jewish Museum in New York City to shoot an editorial for The Wild Magazine, she knew it was going to be something special. She was working with a brand new Parisian style magazine, a photographer she loves and trust, Drew Malo Johnson, and they were using a bold makeup execution. The whole idea behind their story was inspired by the museum's exhibit Other Primary Structures (no longer in exhibition). Bringing together an international roster of artists, the exhibit consists of bold 1960s minimalist sculptures that challenge space, form, and color. Drew wanted to reflect the sculptures in the apparel, but also create a direct correlation to the makeup, which is a bolder step than normal. “We were so thrilled to be at the Jewish Museum with the sculptures,” Tiffany says about the experience. “It definitely did reflect what we were trying to do.” Taking cues from the bold colors and structural elements, Tiffany painted strong, broad lines in bright colors around the model’s eye for a Mod look. Shooting in a museum presented a challenge. They didn’t want to risk damaging any of the art, so all makeup had to be applied away from the artwork. They used a small bathroom, whose lighting was beautiful for a bathroom but not quite ideal for makeup application. That meant that Tiffany employed her expertise in color matching and painting to get the precise lines that they needed to reflect the work. Other than the colored lines around the eyes, Tiffany avoided using too much makeup on the rest of the model’s face. She wanted to make sure the model’s freckles were visible. “This model loved her spots. I loved her spots. And it felt like summer,” says Tiffany. “In the summer time we wear less. We don’t want to cover up the skin as much.” 
  • 8.22.14   Will You Be Able to Take Progressive's Flo Home?

    We all know Flo, Progressive Insurance’s spunky saleswoman who just really wants to help out. Her excited sincerity is infectious and charming, inspiring legions of fans and a lot of attention for Progressive. The insurance company was looking for a new way to present their beloved mascot to those fans, so they contracted Bigshot Toyworks to create a series of Flo action figures. “What we were trying to do is play up some of her key features which are her signature hairdo, big smile, and highly expressive eyes,” explains Klim Kozinevich of Bigshot Toyworks. They wanted to, “Use the essence of her character.” Fitting her into an expanding roster of careers, the folks at Bigshot and Progressive ventured to show off her range of potential abilities, from Trucker, to Plumber, to Baker. She comes outfitted in her signature Progressive apron, and a ton of accessories for each job. The series is ongoing, so who knows how many jobs Flo has left to do? Either way, she’s getting down and dirty. “We were just having fun generating these concepts, and visualizing them,” says Klim about the collaborative relationship with Arnold Worldwide, who manages Progressive’s advertising. “It’s just been a joy working on this project with them.” A lot of times when creative companies work with large brands like Progressive, the amount of clearances and rules can hinder the creative process. Not so with this project. Bigshot and Arnold stayed in constant communication to flow as creatively as possible. The results show what happens when you stay dynamic and flexible in a creative relationship. If you can believe it, what you see aren’t actual toys. They’re CGI composites. “The original intent of this wasn’t to make a toy, it was just to make a series of print ads,” says Klim. “But because of how our process works, action figures are possible.” Does that mean this is going to turn into an action figure? Plenty of people are asking for them, but we can’t know for sure. For now, we have to satisfy ourselves admiring the detail and variation that Bigshot Toyworks and Progressive brought to the range.  
  • 8.21.14   Tristan Eaton's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Dream Comes True with FLüD

    The folks at FLüD Watches have always wanted to work with Tristan Eaton, but they weren’t really sure how they wanted to do it. They didn’t want to go to him with a half-baked idea, instead they wanted to use their network to bring him the perfect project. “We’ve always wanted to work on something with Tristan just because we’re big fans of his work,” says Mel Peralta of FLüD. “We just didn’t know exactly what that was.” Around the same time they were trying to conceive of the perfect project, they were working out the details for a collaboration with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the eve of the film release. It turns out this was exactly the kind of thing that Tristan would want to work on. “From the comics illustrated by Mark Bode to the Saturday Morning Cartoons, TMNT have always had a prominent place in the Pop Culture of my youth,” Tristan says about the animated turtles. “I grew up on Saturday morning cartoons, so I felt a natural kinship for the project.” But it wasn’t just the pizza obsessed, bickering amphibians that Tristan liked about the TMNT universe. He was really drawn to the arch nemesis of the turtles: Shredder. Shredder’s origin story is deeply steeped in samurai and ninja tradition, and his conflict with the turtles is based on the avenging of a blood debt – something that most childhood viewers of TMNT might have missed. But Tristan was aware of this Japanese inheritance and used it as the primary inspiration for the aesthetic of the piece. “I immediately gravitated towards Shredder,” he says. “I played up his Samurai aesthetic and created a piece inspired by ancient Japanese water color paintings.” It wasn't at all what FLüD would have expected. "We never thought of doing that Japanese style," says Mel. "Even though it sounds like such a layup." When Tristan created the original design for FLüD about a year ago, they put the image together into a mural for SXSW in Austin. The design was very similar to the watch, but in blue (check out the video on the right). Shredder stands in front of hand painted clouds, waist deep in patterned waves, reminiscent of some of the most iconic Japanese art in history. FLüD has been working with a group of artists for this project, but it just so happened that it was Tristan's watch that lined up exactly with the release of the movie. And good thing too, his passion for TMNT is one of the strongest. He says, “This project is one of those rare opportunities to interact with and contribute to Pop Culture in a way I dreamed of as a kid.” If you want to grab a watch for yourself, they're available now via FLüD.
  • 8.18.14   Tom Corbett Crowns the Princess of War for Cosmo for Latinas

    At the top of Cosmo for Latinas' feature on Ana de la Reguera they call her “Princesa Guerrera,” or “Princess of War.” Owing to her Mexican heritage, she’s dressed in Aztec prints with natural embellishments and bold metallic accessories. To bring it all together, Tom Corbett shot Ana in the desert surrounded by stones, dust, and Joshua trees. The images evoke a history left behind, of the proud Aztec empire that dominated what is now the south of Mexico. Their culture was one of the most diverse and complex of the 14th-16th Centuries and as time goes on we learn more and more about how much was lost through the systematic integration of that culture. What we see in Ana’s eyes is the continuation of the tradition, still alive, invoked by her energy. Although she’s operating on a much larger scare, Ana’s professional story is the same as anyone traveling to the US. She was already a successful actress in Mexico, having starred in Telenovelas and Film to great acclaim. But, she wanted more. “I love to challenge myself,” she says. “I had to start from scratch when I came to the US.” She continues to build her career step by step. The look that Tom and Cosmo put together is reminiscent of the voyage across the gully that separates the old from the new. Ana’s dress and environment speak of her heritage, but her accessories are modern, her gaze is forward. She’s looking to the future. Tom is known for his style that is flirty and energetic, but for this shoot with Ana and Cosmo for Latinas, they employed a more refined direction. The energy is still there: the movement in Ana’s steps, the strength in her poses. But it’s a quiet fire, appropriate for a Princess of War. The golden light stretches across the landscape, a secret flashlight, pushing her on, wrapped in the tradition of her people, but forging her own path. 
  • 8.19.14   Found's Immersive Viral Experience for Foot Locker

    When it comes to advertising your brand, what you want to build is affinity. It’s not enough for customers to be interested in what you’re doing, you need them to love what you’re doing. Then they’ll love you. You don’t want to give them something to watch, you need to give them something to care about, to interest them, to activate them. You need to involve them. To highlight Foot Locker’s “Triple Black” Collection, a curated series of black sneakers from multiple brands, the retail chain wanted to bring an extra level of intrigue and excitement to their launch. They wanted to synthesize product and production into one story that could involve their customers. So they tapped Found, the experiential experts, to bring their customers into a three dimensional emotional and immersive experience. To highlight what makes these shoes special, mainly that they’re all black, Found conceived a constructed live experience that would play on darkness. They created a space for participants that could be explored in the pitch black, with nothing but tactile and auditory senses. The participants would find a pair of sneakers in the pitch black, and if they made it through in time they would get a pair to keep. Using the two pathways of auditory and tactile communication, Found designed a sort of maze with the idea of bringing the participant off balance into a challenging space. They played off the fear and anxiety inspired by darkness to lift the participant up into the courageous brave person they could be when presented with the challenge. When describing what the most exciting part of the project was, Sarah O’Connell of Found explains it’s “the opportunity to be able to do something for the fans first and foremost. In terms of their experience and interaction with the brand,” she says. “And then the opportunity to put it out into the world.” The video that’s resulted from their immersive maze has amassed nearly 700k views after finding a click-through residence on FootLocker EU’s website. Their #BacktoBlack campaign is one of those rare occasions where the client asked for a “Viral Campaign,” and the artist was able to deliver. Not only were they able to construct a piece that was predictive of mass appeal, Found ended up going from concept to execution in less than half the time they had originally asked for. “Everyone that was working on it was quite up for it and excited to do something spectacular,” Sarah explains the energy surrounding the project. “The whole crew that worked on it were really brilliant and put so much time and energy and passion into it.” It was all hands on deck to execute the impossible, and Found did it in record time.
  • 8.14.14   Script & Seal Flexes Their Muscles for NikeFuel

    The wildly popular NikeFuel program allows users to track their fitness through “Fuel Points,” propriety units that measure movement for all kinds of activities. Nike tracks all Fuel Points earned through social media so that friends can connect, compare, and compete. That means a lot of data on a lot of active users. Far too much for the layman to understand. Nike needed a way to express this data to their consumers, so the trends could inspire greater participation. They launched a campaign, “Summer of NikeFuel,” to give users the mental tools to succeed by showing the success of others. How were they going to put all this info into a consumable format that’s a pleasure to see? Infographics. Ten years ago, the word was unknown, but as we’ve become more reliant on consuming information visually, infographics have become more and more prevalent. The goal is communication. Some information is dense, and spreading it out into an image makes it easier to understand. Not all information is easy to illustrate visually, and squeezing it into the wrong shape can impede understanding, rather than enhancing it. “Infographics are storytelling devices, that can be used to distill a ton of information down into a single, extremely digestible form,” say Liz and Gavin of Script & Seal, the illustrator team behind the campaign. “So we see it as a way to take a large amount of seemingly boring data and create a really interesting or exciting visual story.” By telling the story visually, the information becomes much more digestible, much more fun. For the past two months, Nike has been releasing Script & Seals infographics once a week. They’re focused on how to maximize Fuel Point earnings. That is to say, the infographics illustrate how athletes have been successful in the past, so that users can adjust and try them out to maximize their own potential. Script & Seal has been doing this for 10 years. But it’s not old hat for them, because every time is like the first time. They need to keep it fresh. “The idea of never repeating ourselves is really important,” says Liz and Gavin. “So it's a constant challenge but really helps keep us on our game. We never want to disappoint ourselves, and that pushes us forward with every project.” The trick is how to fit all of the data into elegant images. “You can't manipulate the data to fit the style you want to create, so you have to allow the data to dictate the form,” they say. “Mostly it's just the process of experimenting and handing off the image to each other. It helps to get a fresh pair of eyes on the project every few hours so that the design never gets stale.” The timeline they worked on for this project is accelerated to a pace much faster than usual. They typically get 2-3 weeks to put together infographics like these, but Nike needed them once a week. “By shortening the timeline, we're in constant data-mode,” they say. “And forcing ourselves to come up with really interesting and new ideas really quickly. We see it as a really good exercise - flexing our design muscles.” Script & Seal has been flexing their muscles since the beginning of the season, and will continue to roll out weekly infographics for the rest of the season. You'll find them on NikeFuel's Twitter upon release.
  • 8.15.14   Marc Hom Finds Something New for Tatler

    When Marc Hom approaches a new subject, he tries to discover something new. When he shot Jessica Brown Findlay, the celebrated actress from Downton Abbey, for the cover of Tatler he wanted to help her break away from the character her fans have grown to love. “You don’t want to see her the way she’s been seen for a long, long time,” he says. “I want to portray the beautiful, sexy woman that she is.” And truly, this is a departure. Even though her character on the BBC smash hit was a rule breaker (she wore pants!), Jessica lives in a different time and has the freedom to express herself more acutely. “I’ve always been a fan of sensuality and women looking beautiful but keeping the elegance,” Marc says. That’s sort of Marc’s MO. He’s interested in pulling out what’s already inside the person, rather than trying to stencil something on top of them. That offers a different challenge to every subject. Even a well-versed TV star, like Jessica Brown Findlay, must get used to sitting in front of a photographer’s camera. “It’s a different animal being in front of a moving camera and being in front of a still camera,” Marc explains. “It takes work. It’s really about getting the person in front of you to relax.” As exposing and intimate a performance like Jessica’s can be, it comes from behind a costume, with lines well written. Posing for a still camera is a straight representation of the subject, captured in the vacuum of expectation. It can be tricky. It’s not only tricky to get an intimate look at a fresh face, Marc’s got to make himself happy with what he shoots. He’s a hard man to please. “You have to excite yourself, trying to evolve with them,” he says. “The biggest challenge is doing something you’re proud of yourself, but also that the person you’re photographing really loves. If you hit both those notes at once you cannot do much better.”  Since the industry has been moving to digital over the last decade, Marc has had to leave a lot of the black and white work behind. He loves shooting black and white, and that expertise has translated itself into his work with color. That’s why his images are so intense. Maintaining a warm skin tone, Marc loves rich blues and greens, and splashes them across his images, dancing off the deep contrasts. His blacks aren’t black, but rather the most intense version of color. It’s hyperrealism, like it’s been distilled and concentrated. That look is a through line over his entire work. And always has been. As of this week, Marc Hom is now being represented by Bernstein & Andriulli. His entire portfolio can be seen here.
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