When you start a job with the title ‘Creative’ you feel compelled to be very creative.
It’s easy to confuse being described as ‘creative with with being ‘nuts’, ‘bonkers’ or ‘out there’.
Consequently, you tend to emulate or simply copy people who appear very weird.
In 1987 I attempted to Jean Paul Goude.
I can’t recall whether it was of lack of money, poor script or the fact that it was for one of the least cool brands in the world, (Hotpoint), but Jean Paul Goude declined to help us make our ‘Jean Paul Goude’ ad. (A shame, as it would’ve made the task much easier.) Instead, we got the director Nick Lewin.
Red hot at the time, having just directed two very cool Levi’s ads for BBH; ‘Marlin’ and ‘Rivets’.
Try as we might, the ads didn’t end up very Goude.
I realise now that very creative people’s minds work differently to the the average bod. They are stuffed with a whole bunch of weird reference points, as unique to them as their finger prints.
Often these reference points are ignored or thought of as uncool by the majority.
But very creative people connect these disparate reference points in idiosyncratic ways, eg. “I want a kind of ‘H R Puff ‘N’ Stuff ’ vibe, but with bit of ‘Lou Grant’ attitude and a kind of Fiorucciesque stye? Oh, and a Gilbert O’Sullivan type soundscape…upbeat Gilbert O’Sullivan, not the maudlin shit.”
Their idiosyncratic reference points and take on culture gives them their aesthetic.
It’s almost impossible to mimic someone else’s aesthetic.
So, although we tried very hard, I, and Nick Lewin, weren’t Jean Paul Goude.
He was just too damn idiosyncratic.
He was a brilliant illustrator, photographer, Art Director, Director, Choreographer, Wallpaper Designer, etc.
His images, whether moving or still leap out of magazines, spring from screens.
They’re striking and incredibly seductive.
This is him, (acting the giddy goat):
He started out as an illustrator, a very good one.
Then he turns up at Esquire as an Art Director, executing stuff like this for George Lois.
(Yes, that George Lois.)
Occasionally art directing his own covers.But mostly illustrating for them.
Images start to get more realistic with the advent of the airbrush.
He then mixing photography and airbrushing.
He gets a new girlfriend and takes control of her image:
As there’s no Photoshop, Goude cuts up negatives and airbrushes the print.
He starts choreographing and directing her gigs:
He starts directing commercials. Unlike anyone else at the time:
He produced the amazing French Bicentennial parade back in Paris 1989.
He’s been producing posters for The Galleries Lafayette for years.
He’s recently branched out into wallpapers.
And he continues to do magazine work.
This work is just the tip of the Goude iceberg.
There are tonnes and tonnes more images and films to be found out there in Net-land.
But be warned, you won’t find his recipe.
P.S. If anyone has a contact for JPG I’d love to do a podcast with him?