On a warm summers evening at Bethnal Green’s Oval Space, with drinks and good conversation flowing, anyone looking at us would have guessed we’d arrived at the end of the working week. But on the last Tuesday of every month, Oval Space opens its doors for the It’s Nice That’s monthly event - Nicer Tuesdays. The huge open space provides creatives of all stripes from across London an opportunity to get together and hear inspiring talks from their peers. This month Frances Corner OBE, Yukai Du, Akinola Davies and Simon Landerine gave us an insight into their creative passions and processes.
FRANCES CORNER, OBE
Head of London College of Fashion, Frances Corner, spoke first on the topic of whether fashion could or should be political. Frances contested the stereotype that fashion was “frivolous or ephemeral”, identifying some of the ways that it has been “adopted as a way of making a statement”.
Frances highlighted the “pink pussy hats”, often seen at anti-Trump protests, as well as celebrities wearing blue ACLU ribbons at the Oscars on the red carpet as examples of the ways that fashion is being used to “challenge the status quo”.
Frances also described the ways that Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney used their platforms as designers to explore and convey their environmental and political views. Through scrutinising the typical fashion supply chain and then modifying it for themselves, both designers strive to provide a sustainable alternative for the market.
Frances stressed the injustices of the average garment supply chain, acknowledging that “we know acutely that modern slavery is a real issue”. On the topic of the exploitation of workers, Frances stated that the appalling working conditions of many people in the garment industry were “something that we all, in some way as consumers, have to take account of” and urged the audience to think twice about the fashion purchases that they make, and ask “who made my clothes?”.
Frances’s talk allowed us as creators, in a London video agency, to think about the ways we could still be activists as well as video producers. Her passion for making a difference and changing the status quo was very inspiring, and her strength in her beliefs inspired us as creatives to be bolder in the videos and strategy that we produce.
Yukai Du animator and illustrator then transported us into her cosmic creative process for her short for Ted-Ex, How small we are in the scale of the universe. Starting small, Yukai took the audience through her initial ideas and sketches for the project after she first received the script for the animation.
Yukai walked us through her first storyboards, describing that she feels each individual image on the storyboard represented just a small insight into a wider picture, “I always try to think one stage further, to see the bigger picture. I treat an animation like one big illustration”.
Yukai spent some time working on her animatic elements and colour pallet before focussing on the detailed elements of her design, saying that she often finds it helpful to balance her colour pallet from within a storyboard first, rather than creating a pallet as she designed different animatic elements.
Yukai’s talk was fascinating to watch. Through her explanation of her creative process, we as a London video agency felt that we understood the bigger creative picture she was talking about. Working with animators in the Hub office, it is clear that the most awe-inspiring animatic video productions are often those which hint at the idea of a larger picture – and the universe was a perfect project for Yukai to demonstrate this.
Akinola’s energy captivated the whole room immediately. His relatable journey as a creative rang true with many others in the room as he described spending a lot of time having his ideas rejected and taking jobs he didn’t like in order to earn ends meet. His stubborn desire to create on his own terms was empowering to see and watching his final film for Kenzo Gidi Gidi Bu Ugwu Eze, Unity is Strength really gave the audience an insight into his gaze as an artist. No matter what job Akinola was working on, as a freelance filmmaker, he had made many great friends and contacts in the industry who he wanted to work with. Akinola told the audience to “trust yourself and the people around you”, and this served him well on his project with Kenzo, which started out as a short video which would accompany the main campaign and grew, after production, into part of their main campaign strategy.
Akinola’s talk really inspired us to be stronger in our creative convictions in strategic video production. Seeing him excel in his own style in the videos he created for Kenzo lead us into deep discussions about the videos we could create without boundaries.
Simon’s dry humour had the audience giggling instantly. He talked the audience through his creative process for his work on the children’s TV show The Amazing World of Gumball, opening his discussion with “because it’s for kids… car was too dangerous, so we made it a hot dog”. Simon’s tongue in cheek artwork often gets him noticed on Instagram by people with “exotic names” and the audience were in stitches as he showed us an array of punny Insta-handles. His hypnotic animatics for The Amazing World of Gumball were packed full with energy and humour and it was clear this was a project Simon had been really passionate about. Discussing his design, Simon said, “The lines have to be thinner unless you want your characters to look like potatoes in the background”. Combining humour with his passion for design, Simon’s final film for The Amazing World of Gumball oozed with his own creative flare.
Working on corporate projects as a London agency can sometimes mean that humour is pushed to the back of our creative minds, but Simon’s talk really inspired us not to be scared of more humorous video production. His humour shines through his animations in such a way that engages an audience and immerses them fully in his creative vision. As an agency, we aspire to produce films which captivates audiences in the same way.