The Art Director

“I have an idea…” - A common phrase and one that got the creative juices flowing for this next portrait; figuratively and literally. A friend and Art Director Mark Rowe and I were having coffee one day and I asked him, “Describe to me a typical day of how you come up with ideas and walk me through it?” The short version was this. Imagine a client needs an idea for a basic traditional print campaign. For simplicity let's say tacos and because I like them and think of them often. Imagine the goal is to create a series of three posters that will be used around a city. Mark went on to explain that the creative team needs to come up with at least 100 ideas before anything is even considered and signed off on. These ideas will start off as a mix of words and very rough sketches on post-it notes and paper, stuck to the wall until you can’t see the paint. Only a select few will make the cut as possible maybe's, let alone worthy of the final ads.

I found this interesting, but more so trying to imagine the amount of pressure and brain power to regurgitate over 100 ideas for one application. Ideas are hard enough to create, let alone good ones. Now throw in a seven day deadline (what, you don’t work weekends?), add the brief, then research, concept, to client approval, to revisions, to approval, more revisions, etc, then a final design, and if you're good at your job, you'll hopefully have a finished product that is worthy of public viewing where I dare say might have the intended effect. Think about the last time you had to come up with an idea. Ask yourself this with absolute honesty, was is it really that good or would the garbage even reject it? Now think about this, imagine doing this every day. I know the thought makes you cringe, my stomach dropped a little as well, but others thrive in this type of world, and I quote Mark himself, "Coming up with ideas is one of my favourite things in the world to do." However, this time I asked him to be my guinea pig and humour me in front of the camera. If I have learned one thing from Mark it’s this: exhaust all ideas, even if you think they’re shit.

I now give you the portrait titled The Art Director. The set was built at my studio, props sourced and rented, throw some hair and make-up in the mix, and 5275 sheets of hand crumpled paper; My assistant and I have the paper cuts to prove it. Once everything was photographed to create the scene, a little re-touching and voila, an idea.

Scroll down to see the final image and BTS (behind the scenes) video.


A huge thank-you to everyone involved as this creative would not be possible without the support from these companies and individuals. You all rock and are legends.

Props and materials: Red Events

Camera rentals: The Camera Store

Re-touching: Kathleen Loski

Hair and make-up: Karen Malcolm

Photographers assistant: Quin Hauck

Talent: Mark Rowe

The Art Director-Jeremy Fokkens-Mark Rowe-2018