When you start a job with the title ‘Creative‘ you feel compelled to be very creative.
People starting out, Me included, confuse being described as creative with descriptors like being ‘nuts’, ‘bonkers’, or ‘out there’.
Consequently, you tend to emulate or simply copy people who appear very weird.
In 1987 I attempted to do a ‘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’.
(A shame, as it would’ve made the task much easier.)
Instead we got the director Nick Lewin.
He was red hot at the time, having just directed two cool Levi’s ‘Marlin’ and ‘Rivets’ for BBH.
Try as we might, the ads didn’t end up very Goude.
I realise now that very creative people’s minds work differently the the average bod.
They are stuffed with a whole bunch of weird reference points that are as unique to them as their finger prints.
Often these reference points are ignored or thought of as uncool by the majority.
Then, they connect these reference points in idiosyncratic ways, eg. “A kind of H R Puff ‘N’ Stuff vibe but with bit of Lou Grant, but with attitude, kind of Fiorucciesque? And a Gilbert O’Sullivan type soundscape…upbeat Gilbert O’Sullivan, not the maudlin shit.”
Somehow their idiosyncratic reference points and take on culture give them their aesthetic.
It’s almost impossible to mimic someone else’s aesthetic.
So, although we tried very hard, Nick Lewin and I couldn’t make very ‘Goude’ ads.
He was just too damn idiosyncratic. And brilliant.
Brilliant illustrator, photographer, Art Director, Director, Choreographer, wall paper designer, etc, etc.
His images, whether moving or still leap out of magazines, spring from screens.
They are striking and incredibly seductive.
This is him, (acting the giddy goat):
Then he turns up at Esquire as an Art Director, executing stuff like this for George Lois.
(Yes, that George Lois.)
As there’s no Photoshop, he cuts up negatives and airbrushes the print:
He starts directing commercials. Unlike anyone else at the time:
He produced the amazing French Bicentennial parade back in Paris 1989.
This bunch of work is just the tip of the Goude iceberg.
There are tonnes and tonnes more images and films to be found out there in Netland.
But be warned, you won’t find his recipe.
P.S. If anyone has a contact for JPG I’d love to get in touch to see whether he’d be up for doing a talk at Mother next time he’s in London?