I always find creative conferences really interesting and inspiring. I don’t go to every one that comes around due to either the cost or not being able to get time off work to attend. Anyway, I managed to get a freebie to Semi Permanent 2008 from work because one of the “creatives” decided not to attend. It was actually a 2 day pass, but I could only go on the Saturday.
I’m not going to talk about the speaker’s work too much as you can just go to their sites and check it out. I’m more into blogging about my thoughts on their actual presentations on the day. Each talk went for an hour (and for some that was way too long).
Alex Trochut was the first presenter (and as it turned out – the best of the day). He started with some family history – his grandfather was a typographer too. It was so interesting to see the work of his grandfather and how it has influenced him. It was great to see the old school way to do type in the 1940s. “No undo!” as he said. Trochut then went on to show his own work (which was awesome) – really cool typography and illustration for some huge clients such as Nike, the Rolling Stones & British Airways. He demonstrated his methodologies & experiments and was very personable. I liked him a lot.
Next up Australian artist Anthony Lister (now living in NYC, as you do).
When Lister approached the stage he was dragging along a guy in a Spiderman suit with his hands cuffed. Lister then shot him with a cap gun and Spiderman spent the rest of the talk lying on the stage. After that he started his “presentation”. I say “presentation” because he pretty much had nothing prepared. He was so relaxed that it seemed like we had just woken him up and it was a hassle for him to complete a sentence. He played a slideshow of photos of him and his mates pulling cones, falling off their skateboards and throwing up. My first impressions were… this guy is a nob! At this stage a lot of people started walking out. People started shouting questions at him and he’d say “oh ok, let’s talk about that”. Eventually he did show some of his work and talk about it but overall it was a piss poor effort – people had paid good money to attend this conference. The only redeeming factor was that he gave away some of his prints by throwing them into the audience at the end. At least they would be worth something.
Superfad were next. Superfad is a brand-driven design and live action production company. One of the principals/creative directors from their Seattle office spoke. Sorry can’t remember his name, the Semipermanent site had a typo with the wrong speaker name from the company. First impressions were that he didn’t “look like a designer”. Don’t want to sound mean but he was dressed “uncool“. He was a good presenter and was quite self deprecating. Some work was very corporate (for banks etc), some “cool” clients such as PS3 & MTV. He spoke about their process, methodology and the company culture. Work in progress, stuff they pitched but didn’t go ahead as well as finished ads were shown. He spoke about a brief for a car cleaning product that was pretty much, make sure it has hip hop, cars and hot chicks. I’m sure the boys in the audience were impressed. I thought the final ad to be completely ridiculous and sexist but whatever… sex sells.
Amy Sol, a Korean born artist based in Vegas was next. Her work is very beautiful. She does fantastical artwork on wood. I really appreciate her vivid imagination & whimsical subject matter (dreamy girls and weird animals out of context). Some of Amy Sol’s paintings take up to 80 hours to complete and she often doesn’t leave home for weeks on end! She showed photos of her studio workspace and how she makes her own paint from pigments. One colour palette is called “faded fruit punch”. Amy was very sweet and articulate but after a while, it got a bit boring just seeing more and more examples of her work. She too gave away some of her prints and the audience went crazy trying to get one.
The last speaker I saw was from the Swedish digital agency North Kingdom. The speaker was very, very hot but by this time of the day, the presentation had to be extremely compelling to keep me alert. He showed how their projects came into fruition. I liked how they chose to make an actual 3D model of an island and shoot it rather than just do it digitally. Some really nice web work here, but the speaker was a bit nervous and didn’t really capture my attention. There was one more presentation after this, Pixar but I was so tired and I’ve seen Toy Story, so I went home.
So overall it was an inspiring day, that kind of makes me feel depressed but optimistic. You know what I mean?