Serge Seidlitz and Sir Patrick Stewart Get Festive with DEAR SATAN
Typos are awful. We know, we write plenty of them. Sometimes they’re easy to miss, but sometimes they’re egregious. When one little girl named Hope addressed her Christmas wish list to “SATAN” instead of Santa, a whole series of events unfolded that not only changed everything in Hell, it changed everything for one little girl. At least that’s the story in Anomaly’s “Dear Satan,” a short video released for the holiday, illustrated by Serge Seidlitz. The nearly six-minute animation, narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart, tells a hilarious and immersive story fully realized by Serge. “When I read the script, I thought it was really funny and realised there was lots of fun to be had with the drawings,” Serge says. “I loved coming up with the character of Satan. As he’s the main focus of the film it was really important to nail him, so we spent quite a bit of time at the beginning working on his character so he was just right.”
Six minutes is a long time for any animation (even 60 seconds is rather long), so this work was going to take a lot of time to do: time that Serge didn’t have. “It was going to be a lot of work in a short amount of time and that scared me a little, but I worked fast and the pressure to get it out for Christmas helped me push on through,” says Serge. “The collaborative experience was great because the team at the agency gave me great feedback and were enthusiastic about the drawings as I was sending them through on a daily basis. A little bit of positivity goes a long way when you’re deep in the zone.” Who said a little Holiday Cheer couldn’t get us anywhere? Serge put his nose to the grindstone, with the backing of Anomaly, and was able to create an incredible array of imagery to tell a complete and beautiful story. Don’t believe us? Check out all the interesting things floating in Satan’s vomit and bile!
No, really! Look. It’s super cool.
Serge’s characters and sets work perfectly, and the video offers plenty to be proud of. But the fact that Stewart does all the voices in the video brings the whole thing to the next level. That certainly wasn’t lost on Serge. “He’s a legend and his voice is wonderful. When I heard his narration it really put the icing on the cake for me,” says Serge. “My favourite bit is when he does the little girl, Hope’s, voice - Just hilarious.”
So tuck in, grab a mug of hot cocoa (or tea), curl up in a nice itchy blanket and get ready for your new favorite holiday story: DEAR SATAN.
Tom Corbett Gets Festive with Somerset Collection
It’s that time of year again. It’s time to get glitzed up, button up your best formal wear, and get ready to celebrate the season. It’s the holidays and we’re ready, are you? Somerset Collection is ready with their bevy of brands and retailers that have the best offerings in the world. They invited Tom Corbett back again for his seventh year, and this year it’s better than ever. “I’ve done several seasons with them. We work together very closely,” explains Tom. “We try to push it every year to a new height, to a new place. And obviously, it gets harder and harder as you go on. It was really about trying to make it even better than the last one.” They did three different stories in five different locations, but the blockbuster was the story they stuck on the cover, inspired by the Met Gala.
Imagining this night out as “Fashion’s Starring Moment,” Tom and his team found amazing locations all over New York City to act as the backdrop for a truly luxurious and elegant evening. “We shot in three locations on three different days: the Gramercy Park Hotel, the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn which was amazing,” says Tom. “And also the streets of New York around TriBeCa which was pretty cool as well.” It’s New York City, so each location had its limitations but Tom figured out how to work within each of those confines to create a series of imagery that feels effortless.
Three different locations and a host of different brands means that there’s a ton of diversity throughout the breadth of the whole story. Tom had to include everything. So to make it all work he looked back to another era of fashion photography. “We took inspiration from the old stories from the 90s where they took pictures that you normally would think weren’t necessary together, but in terms of lighting, in terms of situation, they work together because they were the same kind of mood,” says Tom. “So I took that idea and brought it forward.” By keeping a keen on tone and mood, Tom was able to thread a connecting line through all the images and tell a complete story.
ilovedust Supercharges Red Bull with Street Fighter
You don’t have to be a Street Fighter aficionado to be familiar with hadouken, the incredibly powerful move that was introduced in the first Street Fighter game 30 years ago and still carries cultural weight to this day. It’s an impressive show of strength and force, and the prospect of performing it as a lowly human is unlikely. Unless, of course, you’re super charged. Like maybe you just had a Red Bull? Red Bull teamed up with Street Fighter on a series of limited edition cans, and they asked ilovedust to help them bring them to life. Seven cans act as canvases for the cast of Street Fighter but they’re a little different from what you see in the game. “We wanted capture a sense of energy and dynamism is each charter,” explains Jay Hamdaoui, Senior Project Manager at ilovedust. “Luckily Street Fighter has been around for 30 years which meant there was a ton of great material for us to pull from and use. Going through the Capcom archives took some time, but it was worth it."
The source material is deep, but it was up to ilovedust to create these images in a way that matched up with Red Bull’s brand identity and their creative interests. Luckily, Red Bull was a great creative collaborator for ilovedust. “Red Bull’s a great brand. When you work closely with them on a day to day basis and see what it is they’re trying to achieve and how they engage with their consumer, it’s clear from the very start of a project they’re not looking for an easy, quick solution,” Jay says. “They’re always after a unique spin on things that will make people stop and lose their shit. We love playing a part in that process.” Each of the illustrations of the Street Fighter characters are unique, they’re not exactly the style from the games, but that’s kind of the point. They’re immediately identifiable and reveal their particular personalities. It’s a special interpretation: fresh but familiar.
Of course, with the games being around for three decades there were bound to be Street Fighter fans on the ilovedust team. “We’ve got some seriously passionate gamers here at ilovedust, so a project like this was always going to raise some heads,” says Jay. It’s not enough just to drink Red Bull, you’ve got to play the game too and there’s nothing like opening those cans with their art on them, something Jay calls the most fun part of the whole project.
Serial Cut Gets Juicy with Starburst
The first bite into a Starburst is chewy, but as you work your way into the candy it gets jucier and jucier. In fact, Starburst calls them “Unexplainably Juicy.” That unexplainable nature may explain the inspiration that Serial Cut used for a trio of imagery for Starburst that plays on unbelievable cultural tropes that are as surprising as they are hilarious. Each candy is so juicy that Serial Cut visualizes them as bodies of liquid, providing a pool for each of the funny situations.
The pink Starburst acts as shark-infested waters for an enterprising diver (clad in an inflatable flamingo lifesaver) to jump into. A red Starburst replaces the Red Sea that Moses parted, showing the mist and waves that would come from such a divine action. The orange Starburst is the perfect canvas for a waterskiing trio for their routine, all while tethered to Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster). Each candy sits on the iconic waxed Starburst wrapper.
Serial Cut created each of these images through CGI, miniaturizing incredible stories and ideas into bite-sized treats, and they’re just as sweet as Starburst.
Snask and Pangpang Brewery Take the Shame Out of the Shower Beer
Professionals know about the Shower Beer.
The Shower Beer is the beer you bring into the bathroom while you shower, shave, and get ready to go out. It’s a way of efficiently pre-gaming, killing a few birds with fewer stones. All while getting stoned. It’s a staple for college students, but isn’t considered the classiest move. But why not? And how can we change that perception? Those are the questions SnaskSnask set out to answer with Swedish Pangpang Brewery. The result is a Starköl with a whopping 10% abv, in an 18 cl bottle (6ounces).
It’s not enough to make a beer designed to down in three sips standing under the showerhead, it’s got to look good too. So Snask created the entire identity for the beer as well. They started with the classic amber colored glass – just in the smaller 18 cl size. Instead of a paper label that would pulp right off under the hot water, the printed the label directly onto the glass. A bespoke typeface makes for easy reading, even covered in suds and steam, while a light pink cap offers great variation while also reflecting classic bath colors.
Thanks to Snask you don’t have to embarrassed about the #ShowerBeer anymore. Drink freely, and then get to your party!
Alexa Chung and Ben Rayner Disturb the Peace for Refinery29
Libraries are traditionally filled with stressed out grad students, curious kids, and newspaper flipping retirees. But just recently the Brooklyn Historical Society Library also welcomed British actress, host, author, model, and general wunderkind Alexa Chung. She was there with Ben Rayner shooting a feature to go along her Refinery29 interview with Chelsea Handler. The result is an all-star affair. Alexa is known for her grace and propensity for fashion, but that’s something that she doesn’t treat too preciously as she reveals in the interview. Ben wanted to plumb that for the shoot. “It was centered around the theme of behaving badly in the library,” says Ben. “It was a little bit cheeky, a little bit fun. And because she’s such a great personality she lent well to this and I think that really helped a lot. It just made everything easy.”
Disruption is impossible to plan for, and a wild day doesn’t follow a schedule. So when Ben met Chung at the library, instead of following a rigid program of events, they kept it loose and allowed it to develop as the day went on. “We started with a theme that was a good starting point and then it was built upon a little bit more on the day,” explains Ben. “The location definitely shifts the mood, makes it feel sort of vintagey which I think fits with her.” Ben didn’t just shoot still images, but also created a short video called “Quiet, Please” that follows Chung’s loud and brash exploits in the library from carving portraits on the desk, to experimenting with a practical orchestra of instruments, to partaking in a Happy Birthday phone call. It’s a lot, and it’s loud, and it’s a lot of fun.
Pulling off a story as expressive this can be a challenge, It takes real vulnerability to explore creatively, and the rapport between photographer and subject is crucial for success. Luckily, Chung and Ben go way back. “We’ve worked together a lot over the years, she’s also a good friend of mine,” explains Ben. “She’s great to work with. She’s really great at stuff like this. She’s really naturally funny which brings a lot to the table. Her humor and personality are like perfectly suited to something like this.”
The images are great fun, but don’t forget to check out the video at the end!
We Are The Rhoads and TOMS' Celebration is Personal
Holiday Campaigns are fraught with glitzy sets, big bows, and sparkly trees. But when TOMS came to We Are The Rhoads to shoot their holiday campaign the photographer duo wanted to go in a totally different direction entirely. They wanted it to feel real. “We recognize holiday so quickly,” says Chris Rhoads. “You don’t have to have someone dressed up in a Santa suit to know that. And we didn’t want it to be on the nose but we still wanted you to get that feeling of what that is.” Instead of ratcheting the holiday feelings up to 11, they went with something natural. They made their sets look like how your friend’s house might look during the holidays – a swag of pine draped over a fireplace, a small mirror ball for New Year’s, well-placed velvet and strings of lights. After all, that's all we need.
It wasn’t just about the accessibility of the imagery, but also a special kind of specificity. TOMS is based in Los Angeles and so the Rhoads wanted to include that in the campaign. The holiday experience in LA is unlike any other place because it's informed by the surroundings. They wanted show that off. In fact, while shooting around a swimming pool – definitely a holiday feature unique to Los Angeles – the Rhoads decided to use it in a way we never see in Holiday campaigns. The creative director and the model were happy to explore the idea along with the Rhoads. They had the model take a swim. “She was totally down and jumped in the pool with her clothes and her sweater on and I literally had one chance to get that shot of her,” explains Sarah. “California Holiday was the ethos we kept in mind. Conceptually I think it ended up pretty cool.”
The whole story was about inviting us into the party that The Rhoads were throwing. “You want it to feel effortless,” Sarah explains. “And I feel like that’s the spirit of a lot of our imagery. Those unguarded moments that feel effortless. When it comes to set dressing and the props, that same spirit. We try to extend those things so it doesn’t feel like you’re trying to force anything in that just doesn’t feel right.” We may not all get to have our holidays at the pool this year, and our parties may have a little more or a little less decoration than what the Rhoads included on their sets, but even if this isn’t exactly what our personal holidays look like, we still recognize it in every image.
Jeremy Corbyn Rolls Up His Sleeves with Marco Grob and British GQ
After Jeremy Corbyn sat for the cover of British GQ with Marco Grob rumors of the event exploded all over the media, with a bevy of stories about the story. Controversies and retractions followed, but what matters at the end of the day is one thing and one thing only: Marco took some fantastic pictures.
Corbyn is something of an anomaly, not just in UK politics but in all facets. Marco and Fashion Director Luke Day were able to get the Labour Party leader into a tie – an accessory he regularly avoids – dressing him up further than normal. For most politicians, especially at Corbyn’s level, a detail as simple as a tie in the House of Commons is unquestionable but Corbyn has made his career being accessible to the people, straight off the cuff, and always authentic. That persona is what’s made him so attractive to his fans and made for such a lovely shoot with Marco. Plus it’s also part of what’s so complex about Corbyn: he doesn’t look like any other politician. He doesn’t carry himself the same way, think the same way, or speak the same way.
GQ couldn’t have Corbyn on the cover of their Election Special and annual list of the 50 best-dressed men in a relaxed shirt, so they dressed him in Marks and Spencer, an affordable British brand – a responsible choice for the Labour leader. Corbyn is more buttoned up, and potentially more Prime Ministerial, on Marco’s cover than normal, but there’s still a glimpse of the Corbyn we know and recognize on the inside with a black and white image of Corbyn rolling up his sleeves – perhaps ready to get to work?
Sawdust Creates a New Logo and Identity for Converse
Converse is as an iconic sneaker brand as any other. The brand was at the forefront of athletic sneakers, and Michael Jordan’s favorite brand to play in before he hesitantly joined Nike. Decades later, Converse is under the Nike umbrella and continues to be at the forefront of lifestyle footwear. They’re on trend but thought they could use one update: their logo. So Conversed asked Sawdust to help them do it. “Trust is the keyword, the Converse team put their faith in us to explore ideas with them,” explains Rob Gonzalez, who created Sawdust with Jonathan Quainton. “They made us feel like part of the family rather than putting the weight of the world on our shoulders — it was very much a team effort with discussions about what works and what doesn’t.”
Converse’s logo has gone through some transformation in the century the brand has been around. They’ve had wordmarks and stars, but Sawdust brought everything together, simplified it, and created the new star and chevron look. It’s no small job to take a logo that’s been at the forefront of cultural conversation for decades and bring new life to it. That logo will be seen on shoes, advertisements, stores, tags, teeshirts, everything. It’s an undertaking the Sawdust understands. “It was a great honour to work on a project of this magnitude with Converse,” Jonathan says.
Not only is it a huge job to shuffle the identity of a brand like Converse, but it has personal implications. As kids both Rob and Jonathan either owned or were well aware of converse as products. Long before they were designers or working with the brand, the shoes were a part of their world. “I still remember the day when I was a kid and my sister bought some Converse Chuck Taylor high tops — blew my mind! I always copied her because she was cooler than me,” explains Rob. It reminds us that the icons walking down the street are all created by hardworking creative minds like those at Sawdust.
Future and Young Thug Get Loud with ilovedust
A mixtape collaboration between Future and Young Thug has been expected for years. Both artists are from Atlanta but for some reason had never done deep work together. They had features together, a pretty public feud, but once the hatchet was buried “Super Slimey” hit the digital airwaves without announcement. It was total surprise. There were rumors of songs, but not a whole album. The Atlanta artists needed some top-level artwork to pair with the project and asked ilovedust to help them out. The result is an incredibly aggressive image of a fanged green snake wrapped around a petrified black eagle skull.
The album hit with no notice, but the reaction was swift and strong. The sounds are assertive, the lyrics provocative, and the project hard-hitting – just like the image that ilovedust created for the project. And also just like Thugger and Future’s work, ilovedust remixed the image a few time. The beats that both artists are rapping over are taken from other work, blended with new ideas, and packaged into complete pieces of new work. Although the acid green snake and midnight black skull are what Young Thug and Future ultimately picked for the cover of their album, the team at ilovedust created a more psychedelic inspired 70s/80s version, as well as a gold and marble take that includes plenty of feathers.
Hip hop, and really every other form of art, is a conversation and that conversation is always changing. This time ilovedust’s work reflected the work they were collaborating with, and the ever changing nature of that discourse.
Stephen Wilkes Celebrates Canada's 150th Anniversary
Canada Day marks the foundation of the country as we understand as Canada today. On July 1, 1867 the separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick came together to be recognized as a single entity within the British Empire. It marks how Canada united from disparate communities into a single state. It’s a statewide celebration of oneness, unity, and identity. It’s a huge, country-wide celebration, but from his perch across from Centre Block, the main building of the Canadian parliamentary, Stephen Wilkes caught some of the most exciting bits. Using his signature technique from his “Day to Night” series, Stephen spent the entire day and night watching the festivities below, photographing thousands of images, and blending them together into a single composition. The result is a day of celebration and night of fireworks on the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The Embassy of the United States in Ottawa invited Stephen to create the image as a symbol of American-Canadian friendship in this magnanimous year, and in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada the photography will be on view at the National Gallery through the entire month of December.
“I’m thrilled to partner with the National Gallery of Canada to welcome Stephen Wilkes for the unveiling of this special work for the people of Canada,” said U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft. “It’s incredible to be in Canada during such a momentous year and an honor to present to the Canadian people a work by one of America’s most iconic and accomplished photographers.”
“We are pleased to pursue these enriching conversations to bring the perspectives of American artists to Canadian audiences,” said National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO, Marc Mayer. “The partnership between the Gallery and the Embassy of the United States has created an important forum for cross-cultural exchange.”
Nomoco Helps the Transition Travel with Alaska Airlines
It’s easy to get caught up in the common wisdom about airports: we imagine them as spaces where travelers rush from one timed event to another, trying to get through security lines fast enough to make their next flight, all on the way out. But there’s a magic to the airport, it’s where we move from one space into another. Airports are resting spots between moments on our individual journeys and the perfect place to reflect on where we’re going and where we’ve been. Recently, Nomoco was commissioned by Alaska Airlines through Hornall Anderson to help bring a new energy to a tunnel through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with an installation of a massive illustration.
The illustration stretches more than 200 feet through SEATAC Airport, acting as a transition through the space, but allowing travelers to visit Nomoco’s take on a variety of destinations. Although Nomoco’s illustration includes recognizable locations like the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba, and Los Angeles, there are sections that are more interpretive. A forest full of birds, a bubbly body of water, and stretches of clouds are all space we can let our travel dreams take hold.
“Inspired by the rich colors of nature and the vibrant air of cities, I aimed to create a rhythmical transition journey space from city to city,” explains Nomoco. “I hope it brings an uplifting atmosphere to the tunnel.”
The next time you’re walking through the airport on your way home, on a trip, or towards another flight, remember to take a breath and remember that there’s something magical about the whole thing. And if you forget to, maybe Nomoco will help remind you.
Tom Corbett Gets Moving with Harper's BAZAAR Greece
Fashion is all about reinvention, and few looks are more ripe for innovation than the toga, a stereotypical Ancient Greek garment that has inspired fashion for millennia. This season Chanel has tapped into that Greek heritage for their line that is rife with references to the ancient past but with a fresh flavor. Harper’s BAZAAR Greece asked Tom Corbett to shoot an editorial that brings extra life to the clothes, and the story just dropped. “We wanted to take these clothes and give them some energy,” explains Tom. “I like to have a lot of movement in my work, so it was a movement story, using our fabulous hairdresser to help with the movement of the hair.”
The key to making a shoot like this work, blending the old with the new, is to keep a very contemporary eye on the imagery and make sure that the references don’t overpower the contemporary artistry. So that’s exactly what Tom did. “The fact that we were shooting in a really modern way allowed us to get away with some of this. I think that helped,” says Tom. “We shot with a very Greek emphasis on it. Being a Greek magazine I wanted to do a modern take on it and I think that’s why it worked.” The influences are alive, but the focus is making sure the clothes, and the model, look amazing.
Joshua Davis Sets a New Pace for BMW in Shanghai
There are as many ways to run as there are runners, each with their own goals, methods, and training. But when they come together to a race, like the Shanghai Marathon, each of those individuals is tested against each other and the details fall away. All that matters is the order they cross the finish line. Or is it? This year, BMW and Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai teamed up with Joshua Davis to give runners more than a finishing time. Instead, they created a data-visual experience that takes all the data collected over the course of the many miles (speed, pace, time, calories burned) and turned it into beautiful visualizations for the runners to take home (digitally, of course).
The Shanghai Marathon is the perfect opportunity for brands to speak to a captive audience of 30,000 runners, but BMW wanted to do more than just create a simple video to play for them. Joshua helped them create a series of visual cues that are as variable as the runners themselves. All manner of colored ribbons swoop, move, and twist with the data collected over the run, and turn into beautiful artwork thanks to Joshua’s ability to combine real-time data collection with captivating visuals. It’s no longer just about finishing times with BMW’s “Art of Energy” – it’s about the experience, and letting those hours of ephemeral sweat and effort turn into something that will live on in the digital space.
Scalia's Salmagundi by Chris Buzelli
As a living justice, Antonin Scalia was a firebrand. A new article in Virginia Quarterly Review, paired with a new painting by Chris Buzelli, opens the story of Scalia’s life and impact with an anecdote about how his propensity for illustrative speech has ultimately injured his own intended legacy. A blustering irony written into his dissent for United States v. Windsor was subsequently picked up as an argument against Scalia’s intentions, resulting in judicial decisions that will arguably have a greater impact than any of Scalia’s other words. That anecdote is a great position from which to begin understanding Scalia, but the story is ever more opaque and complex, which was precisely the challenge presented to Chris with this portrait.
Like much of Chris’ work most of the image is a traditional enough portrait: Scalia in his robes and a tie, caught midsentence (with skin so smooth he looks like he recently took a trip to the spa). We know who this is, but Chris has popped open his skull and revealed a tumbleweed that releases itself out of Scalia’s mouth. The argument in this portrait, both by Chris and by the author of the Review’s piece, Jack Hitt, is that Scalia contained within him the ability to be complex, if messy, and often the resulting quagmire was near impossible to sort through.
Scalia’s legacy is written on paper and echoes through the opinions of judges who have written his words into their own, but to call it focused or clear is a misunderstanding. Chris’ work is to help us understand Scalia and the mess in his head revealed though his own work.
Brian Doben In Martha Stewart's Kitchen
It’s not often an invitation to Martha Stewart’s Westchester home lands in your lap. So, when Brian Doben got that invitation, to take her portrait for a profile by People Magazine, he loaded up and headed to her small farm. When you meet an icon you can never be sure what you’re going to get, but this is Martha Stewart: the queen of all things good. “She could not have been a sweeter woman. It was a wonderful,” says Brian. “I think she spent a lot of time with Snoop [Dogg] - she’s really chill. I think she’s found peace and it was a really splendid time with her and her dogs and seeing her home.” Brian was asked by the magazine to provide a single portrait, so they started in the most obvious place, her kitchen. We’ve all been in Martha Stewart’s kitchen before, whether it’s the kitchen in her home in Katonah, or one on a studio set through the magic of TV, we know what it’s like to cook with Martha. It’s practically a sacred space and the basis of all things Martha Stewart, so it’s bound to be a unique experience.
“It was a bit surreal because we’re in her kitchen photographing, and it’s Martha Stewart so she talks to you in a way that is constantly teaching and explaining,” says Brian. “It’s really quite interesting because she is true to herself. She loves what she does. She has passion that is just at its purest form.” What started as a simple photoshoot turned into a regaling of stories about famous chefs, some set decorating, and a lesson in hygiene (Stewart showed Brian how she removes the garlicky smell from her hands after chopping). Brian and Stewart got along so well that the shoot continued outside the kitchen onto Stewart’s grounds and they spent some quality time with the dogs.
Stewart is a rockstar of homegoods, and even though she’s forever inviting us into her space (at least virtually) there’s still a lot to know about her. Her career and life are both remarkable, but as much as we learn about her there’s still so much more to learn – either about how to make the perfect apple pie, or maybe something even more. After all, if we can fix the small things, we can fix the big things. “She’s such an American Icon for constantly giving tips and all that, but I want to know more about who and why she does what she does. I think she really loves to do it all,” says Brian. “She’s truly like a Warren Buffet, she’s just a walking phenomenon. Good or bad. She’s just who she is. If we can get rid of garlic hands it would be like we solved everything.”
Kyle Bean Finds True Love for Got Milk
What happens when a glass of milk gets to do its own thing? Set free into the world to find its own kind of love, aside from the pairings we force on it (like a slice of chocolate cake), what kind of life would it find? We’re not sure, but Kyle Bean is. In a hilarious new ad for Got Milk, Kyle brought a glass of milk on a love tour, helping it introduce itself to a bevy of suitors including a hot dog, a taco, and a sushi roll. Because at the end of the day, as the ad teaches us, food loves milk. All food.
“We wanted to get a weird British sense of humor to it and I thought that could come quite purely and simply when we’re puppeteering food – that in itself is quite a bizarre funny thing,” Kyles says about the practical way he shot the piece. “Everything was shot in camera.” If you check out the behind the scenes look, you’ll see that each moment of the video was created on unique sets and each movement was puppeteered thanks to special rigs.
Kyle is no stranger to creating work this way – almost everything he makes is practical: cut paper, constructed machines, sculpted figures. He makes impossible images in a workroom and gets them photographed into a final composition. But this was the first time he’s worked on this scale. “It was one of my first forays into proper directing a live action film project so actually it was quite a new experience for me. It was quite a learning curve along the way,” says Kyle. “I was able to work with quite a big team of people which is something different. Sometimes it’s just me working by myself, but on this, it was a good 30 or so crew members, so it was a big team.” The team was all focused on the same thing: making a video that was funny, compelling, and told the story they wanted to tell. But it’s no coincidence that Kyle’s video is live action. He made sure it happened that way.
Initially, Got Milk had the script and were exploring different ways to execute it all. When Goodby Silverstein and Partners, Got Milk's agency, came to Hornet to see how Kyle would do it, he was very clear: “I had the idea of shooting it all practically with real milk, a real glass, and these very graphic sets,” says Kyle. “In some ways, not too dissimilar from the process I’m used to with still works but just it’s on a much bigger scale.” Got Milk swooned, just like the glass of milk, and the results are true love.
Steven Laxton Brings Voice to LGBT Refugees In New Show
American politics is on fire and moving at a blistering pace, it’s hard to pay attention to anything else. But for Steven Laxton, the moment that precipitated this chaos, the 2016 election, was a wake-up call to see the horrors happening on the other side of our borders. “I was very disgruntled and confused about the election and Trumpism and all the xenophobia and sexism and racism that transpired,” says Steven. “I realized that I rather than just post disgruntled posts on Facebook and go to a few rallies, I have a craft that can tell stories.” He started creating projects around immigration and came across Immigration Equality, the leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization. Once he started hearing their stories, a whole new perception of what it means to be a refugee opened up for him and inspired his project “Free To Be Me,” on view at The LGBT Center in New York starting today.
“It occurred to me that I didn’t really think about this enough myself,” Steven explains. “When I think about refugees I think of people seeking political asylum or economic asylum or people fleeing from war zones. It’s not often you think about LGBTQ asylum but there’s over 70 countries in the world where it’s illegal to be gay basically. Some of the stories are horrendous so I realized this was something that was worthy of doing.” Steven sat down with a host of LGBTQ refugees to get their stories and act as a conduit for us to meet them, understand them, and recognize the injustice happening all over the world. Things aren’t perfect in the US, but they’re good enough that for many, the US is an escape and a step towards living a freer and fuller life.
It’s not just about facts and figures, as appalling as those are. It’s about the humanity behind those numbers and the absurd laws in other countries governing what is and what is not okay about being an LGBTQ person. “It’s important for people to know the stories and where they come from,” says Steven. “There’s one gentleman from Egypt who’s an architect. He went out on a date when he was younger with a guy, they just kissed, the cops saw him and he was locked in prison for three months only because he was a minor. If he had been older it would have been five years.” He was able to come to the US and build a new life here, a more honest life, and contribute to his new community here.
Check out Steven Laxton’s “Free to Be Me,” presented in cooperation with the LGBT Center and Immigration Equality, is on view starting November 14th and running through the end of the year.