Fitness for All with Ben Wachenje and Blink Fitness
At the end of March New Year’s Resolutions are long forgotten and left on the slag pile of expired intentions for most people. But even if the fire of resolutions has gone out, the impulse for self-improvement never dies, no matter who you are. Blink Fitness is currently going all in on a series of advertisements that show off the diversity and experiences that their members represent in a series of illustrations with Ben Wachenje. Diversity and experience is their focus, presenting a paradigm shift of what gym ads can be, and for Ben it’s an important change. “I am very proud to be a part of this campaign,” says Ben. “Any campaign that says fitness is for everyone is good as far as I’m concerned.”
We don’t have to tell you that every gym has a diverse customer base, but those customers are usually not shown in their advertising. Blink has members that are overweight, older in age, and even have physical handicaps, but Blink has put those folks front and center. And for a good reason. “Whenever the consumer isn’t properly or fairly represented in advertising campaigns it’s almost like saying we will take your money but we would like our relationship to remain private and not public,” Ben explains. “Most gym branding revolves around images of athletes in peak physical condition when in reality the people attending gyms look like the heroes in the Blink campaign, so for me Blink’s approach is brave, refreshing and honest.” Gyms typically sell aspiration and a potential, preferred future. But Blink’s message is one of acceptance and process. Fitness is a journey, and each journey is different. Blink invites us on that journey rather than trying to sell a piece of a goal that cannot be bought.
To create these images Ben started with photographs of real people that Blink had commissioned from B&A photographer Tom Corbett (who also shot this video for the same campaign, with grooming by Sylvester Castellano and styling by Luke Langsdale). Then Ben used his own aesthetic style to develop the photos into illustrations. Although this step removed the initial ideation of the some compositional details, Ben found the process to be incredibly beneficial. Sometimes a concept is developed enough that execution is as fulfilling as creation. “It isn’t always necessary to have creative license when the brief is good and well considered. Sometimes simply executing a good idea can be interesting,” Ben explains. “Since the client had already approved the photography it minimizes the amount of amends and changes that I might normally have to undertake to satisfy a brief.” This process streamlined Ben’s process to create final images that are clean, considered, and celebratory.
The campaign is ongoing so keep a look out for more!
CNBC's Rebels, Icons, and Leaders Drawn by Benjamin Wachenje
Benjamin Wachenje provided the portraits for CNBC's First 25, a roundup of the rebels, icons, and leaders who have had the most profound impact on business and finance since 1989, the year CNBC went live.
"The brief was quite tight and straightforward – a lifelike representation of each person was required," Wachenje noted. He spent two days researching imagery and source material, and started by tackling the more difficult portraits. "The process I use to create illustrations today was developed before I owned a computer: I used to get lots of sheets of different colored paper and cut out shapes, placing them into position on a black sheet to make representations of people." Upon purchasing his first Mac in the late nineties, "I was able to put down the scalpel and quickly figured out a way to create a similar effect using Photoshop," the artist remarked. "Every single line of every illustration that I do is drawn with the lasso tool in Photoshop. In the beginning, this was very time consuming; however, after a while I got faster and more efficient in my approach."
Wachenje called it an honor to be a part of the story and CNBC's 25-year celebrations: "I'm glad to see the late Steve Jobs top the list. While at college I was taught on Apple LC II computers, my first personal computer was a Power Mac Performa 5400, and I still have a second generation iMac that is alive and well ... and what can you say about the impact of the iPod that hasn't already been said?"
B&A Illustrators in SIGnature Magazine's First Online Issue
Sara Hayward, Am I Collective, and Ben Wachenje all contributed to the latest issue of SIGnature magazine, published by Pace Communications. Sara Hayword's collage graces the cover, with portraits by Ben Wachenje and animated features and illustrations by Am I Collective. The publication targets Bluetooth SIG members, a large and diverse international group of companies that work together to further the use of Bluetooth short-range wireless technology. For the first time ever, the magazine is publishing a digital version that can be viewed online, greatly increasing its readership and providing accessibility to people everywhere.
Says Art Director Larry Williams, "When we initiated this project, I was looking for multiple illustrations and animations that would work best across multiple platforms. With the variety of talented illustrators in Bernstein & Andriulli's arsenal, I knew I was going to find the perfect match." For the cover, Sara Hayward's work was "a clear winner" after Williams presented several options to the client.
Am I Collective was called on to work for an interactive feature that included animating their illustrations. Comments Williams,"The designers at Am I Collective are truly great collaborators and know how to take an idea and bring it to life in stunning fashion. The special report was about health and fitness and a few of the guys at Am I Collective were even drafted as models to run, jump, and perform all kinds of exercises."
Wachenje illustrated a series of portraits of technology experts. The clients liked the portraits so much, that Williams notes "this will be our new style going forward." To view the work by Hayward, Am I Collective, and Wachenje, visit the Bluetooth website. The magazine is also available via the Apple App store and Amazon.com. Take a look to learn how Bluetooth technology has become an increasingly indispensable part of home, work, and personal lives.
SIGnature Magazine, the Bluetooth Quarterly
Am I Collective
Ben Wachenje >
Bernstein & Andriulli Wishes You A Warm and Wonderful Holiday!
2009 is coming to a close and we would like to thank all of our talent, clients, agents, and friends for a wonderful year. A blog was started (which became our homepage), new artists were signed on, and lots of cool projects were carried out. We leave you with this animated video and wish you happy holidays and a happy new year!
The blog will resume January 4th, 2009. Cheers!
Animation and direction by:
12 foot 6
Am I Collective
Sound, Music, and Voice:
From Advertorial to Installation
For the September issue of Wired, Benjamin Wachenje worked on a series of illustrations for a 3-page advertorial on the Nokia N97 mobile phone and personal navigation device. Nokia was so pleased with the advertorial that they used Wachenje's illustrations for a full-scale installation in their flagship stores in New York and Chicago.
Wachenje's advertorial as seen in Wired magazine's September '09 issue:
Wachenje's illustrations currently on display in the Nokia flagship stores: