Actor Dustin Nguyen kicked off the first ever Saigon Creative Mornings yesterday with an earnest talk on how he manages his creativity in the midst of the constraints imposed by sponsors in the film making industry. Over coffee, he took us briefly through his Hollywood experience to discuss his more recent Vietnamese productions, with some amusing anecdotes. The sold-out session took place in the airy offices of the TBWA headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City, and brought together a small crowd of interesting people. I smiled at the humourous but creative use of neckties as drawstrings for the rolled-up metal walls that divide the industrial space. This one had a black label that said simply ‘Boss’:
Those of you in London some weeks ago may have noticed these adverts in the Southbank space were graffiti and skateboarding interrupt the train of high culture spaces like the National Theatre, Tate Modern, Hayward gallery, et al. Yes, it is contemporary auction house Phillips de Pury (in alliance with Saatchi gallery, of course) putting up posters on pseudo-derelict youth hang out places.
I’m sure it gives kudos more effectively than advertising the village fair’s home-made flapjacks in Tatler… However, seeing as Saatchi was also behind the advertising campaign, I didn’t think hi-art branding would continue to invade our plebeian realms. But I was stunned this week to see a red bus go past me, well in the outskirts of London, with a large side-panel paid for by Gagosian gallery, to get crowds (is that what they want?) flocking to their current Picasso exhibition. I was so confounded by the sight, that I couldn’t even pull out my camera and take a photo of it. If you missed the bus, you’ll just have to take my word for it. If you do see it, snap a photo and let me know!
I didn’t think ads on red buses were anything other than for breakfast cereals, second rate Hollywood films and yet another mobile phone. In our hyper-saturated world of force-fed culture consumerism, I will, however, praise this ad:
I have recently come across this excellent article on art and business in Arts Professional which explains why artists need to look at new models of making money so that it’s not all raked into the coffers of a few.
For the last 6 months, I’ve been reading, little by little, John Howkins The Creative Economy (Penguin 2007), which I’m enjoying at a leisurely pace – it’s not a read-in-one-go blockbuster (that’s my excuse), although it is a well structured, interesting yet easy book.
I was very amused by the interview with Bob Geldof, as expounder of a creative person who gets down to business. Howkins says that ‘turning an idea into a business, an operation, requires both the original idea (‘something from nothing’) and the hard work to make it happen.’ What’s funny about this is Geldof’s response, that everything boils down to two questions: ‘Why?’ and ‘Why not?’
Sounds like the story of my life, though I warn you that this is good advice in many spheres, but it can also make you fat (so keep the balance and always ask both questions).
After many industry efforts to ban it from the internet,
I finally got to see it: Logorama, the film.
Oil as the end of capitalism… It is brilliant!