ILLUSTRATOR DAVID FOLDVARI

Monday, 30 July 2012

His darkly political illustrations have accompanied columns for David Mitchell and Charlie Brooker in the Observer and the Guardian, and his client list includes Nike, the New York Times, Greenpeace and Penguin Books. I asked David Foldvari how he got started… 

After graduating from Brighton I spent a while trying to get a job doing anything because I was broke and hated being on the dole.

This was around ’96. Back then you needed about £3-4,000 to have your own little Mac with a scanner and printer. I didn’t have that kind of money and my parents didn’t either. I was DJing at the time and had friends who were involved in the whole club music thing. Eventually I got a bank loan, bought a knackered old Mac Performa and started designing flyers and record covers for them.

I was doing what I considered to be fairly shit work. The money was good so I could have stuck with it but the illustration student in me said, “Hang on you’ve got to do something about this because the work you’re doing is diabolical”. I applied to do a master’s at the Royal College of Art, in the process pulled together a portfolio I was happier with, and went round London showing it to everyone.




David Foldvari was talking to Rachel Segal Hamilton.

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GETTING INTO ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHY

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sophie Chapman-Andrews is Head of Art Buying at advertising agency McCann Erickson. She books photographers to work on advertising campaigns for high-profile clients such as L’Oréal, Toshiba and Nestlé, among others. Here she shares her advice for anyone hoping to make it in advertising photography…  

When you invite a new photographer in to have a meeting with you, what can they do to make the best possible impression? 
I’ll send them the layout so they’ve got something to look at, to have some thoughts ready for when they come to the meeting. The meeting will be me and the creative team with the photographer talking through the idea. We’ll tell them about what the brief is, what the product is, a little bit of background so they can understand where we’re coming from and the things we need to consider. It’s their opportunity then to say, “Well, this is how I’d do it and here are examples of how I’d light it, using this sort of colour, and maybe this composition…” On that basis they’ll go away and do an estimate.

Those meetings are so important because they will affirm who we want to use. Come into the meeting with some clear ideas about how you want to do it. We need that reassurance because the pressure’s on. We’re sometimes asking people to do things with a short time frame. It could be a couple of weeks from start to finish for all the production, shooting, editing, which – depending on what else they’ve got going on in their life – could be quite demanding, so it’s also about how they’re going to cope with that.

In your talk at the Magnum Professional Practice seminar in London you said that advertising is all about relationships – what did you mean by that? 
The creative team is working on lots of other stuff so there is no room for making a mistake, which is why we’ve got to be so communicative. A name might come up and the creative director might say, “What about so and so – do you know him?” and I’ll say, “Yeah met him, worked with him, great guy, fantastic”. It’s [important] having that assurance that we can rely on this person. Or you might have a job that comes up and the money’s not great and the timing’s not great but the idea’s fantastic and the person might say, “I’ll do it for you”. That can only come from trusting someone and having a good relationship with them.



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JULIA BACHA ON USING DOCUMENTARY FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

Friday, 6 July 2012

Award-winning Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha is the Media Director at Just Vision, an organisation that raises awareness of nonviolent activism in the Israel-Palestine conflict through films and outreach campaigns. Julia tells us why she got into film and shares her advice for would-be social issue documentary makers…

When did you decide you wanted to be a filmmaker? 
I never expected to have a career in film. At first I was going to be a lawyer but ended up studying Middle Eastern history at Columbia University in New York and then thought I would go down an academic path. I got accepted to do a master’s at Tehran University in Iran, but when I graduated in 2003 the US had just invaded Iraq so I couldn’t get my visa. I got invited by a filmmaker to come to Egypt to intern on a project. My hope was that from Egypt I would be able to get my visa to Iran.

When I arrived and started looking through footage she had captured from the Iraq war, that was a turning point for me. I had been engaged politically against the war and saw a chance to channel my frustration. I taught myself Final Cut Pro and became the editor and writer of the film. Control Room premiered at Sundance. It was one of the highest grossing political documentaries of all times in the States and the first film with a more critical view of how American journalists had covered Iraq, so it really had an impact. I realised that documentary offered an opportunity to do a lot of the same work I wanted to do in academia, but to have a wider public.



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DESIGNER AND ILLUSTRATOR ANTHONY BURRILL

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

In his 20-year design career, Anthony Burrill (pictured below with Francesca Wade and Barbara Soalheiro from Mesa & Cadeira and Iki the dog) has worked for Wallpaper*, London Underground and Collette in Paris, exhibited everywhere from Tokyo to Milan and earned cult status for his upbeat slogan prints, such as “Work Hard  &  Be Nice to People”. As his new show opens at Kemistry Gallery, we ask Anthony how he started out…


When did you decide you wanted to be a graphic designer? 
I was always interested in visual culture when I was growing up. This was quite a while ago – in the late ’70s, early ’80s – and there wasn’t the amount of stuff that there is now. Music – and record covers – was the thing that got me into it first but I didn’t realise you could have a job doing that. I did a foundation and then did a degree in graphic design. I graduated form the Royal College in ’91. That was before the internet and all that stuff.

Was it tough to break into the industry at that time? 
Yes, really hard, because you didn’t have the networks that are around now. I was shy and I didn’t like ringing people up on the phone, so it was hard for me to get my work out there. I started off by making little photocopied books and postcards and sending those out, and that developed into making posters and the kind of work that I do now. My first big project was for Hans Brinker Budget Hotel. I got that through my girlfriend. She was working on a campaign with Erik Kessels [of communications agency KesselsKramer]. He said he needed somebody to do some typography and she said, “I know somebody who could do some type for you”.



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PHOTOGRAPHER ROHIT CHAWLA

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Indian photographer Rohit Chawla's fashion-inspired fine art images have appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire – but for his Wanderlust project, which goes on show next week at The Strand Gallery in London, he shot nomadic people in Gujurat. Rohit talks about his creative process and how photography has changed since he started…


Many years ago I went to a place called Kutch in Gujurat and saw this Rabari tribe.

I took a long time to go back with the right set up. I wanted to shoot them in isolation, almost like fashion portraits, not like the conventional way that had been shot over the years. So we created a makeshift studio in the desert by hanging fabric on a tripod and on stands. We used to go wherever we could find them. They were constantly on the move because they’re nomads. We would carry a Polaroid camera and whatever we shot we would give them the images. At first they were not really willing to be photographed. We gained their trust by being patient and by hanging around them. Slowly they agreed to pose and then we got the lighting and created the backdrop.



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FILM DIRECTOR REBECCA THOMAS

Monday, 2 July 2012

The 27-year-old’s directorial debut, Electrick Children, starring Billy Zane, Julia Garner and Rory Culkin, is now showing at Picturehouse Cinemas across the UK. Rebecca talks about how she funded the movie, getting the best from actors and why it’s important to keep an eye on what your peers are up to…


When did you decide you wanted to be a filmmaker? 
In high school I did a radio broadcasting class. They had integrated some video stuff into it so I started playing with the medium and learning how to use Final Cut Pro. Me and my friends would make silly music videos and news shows. I started studying English Literature but got bored by it and switched to screenwriting for my undergrad, and then I went to graduate school at Columbia and did directing. In undergrad I had written, acted in and produced a project that my friend directed. I wrote a short script of 10 pages and we made it for $200 – and it ended up going to the Sundance Film Festival.

How did you get the funding to make Electrick Children?
I was originally going to make Electrick Children as a micro–budget film. I started trying to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter and we were going to take out another $10,000 in loans. Then my producer found this amazing investor who gave us $5,000. At Columbia one of our acting professors had invited me and my producer to audition for a movie he was making. Neither of us got the role but my producer had kept in touch with his producer so [when we were working on Electrick Children] she wrote him a quick email saying, “Hi Richard do you want to donate to this?” And he did. It shows it’s worth being personable and asking people very directly for money – even if it’s $5.

I followed up, asking if he wanted to read the script. A few days later I get a phone call from an unknown number. It was someone saying, “You’re going to need lights and you’re going to need talent. I’m so excited about the script.” I was like: “Is this Richard?” He said to me, “I can give you the $20, 000 and you can make this into a micro-budget project or I can come on as a producer and we can make the whole thing”. He independently financed the whole project.





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