It’s not often you’re truly wowed creatively and can’t wipe a grin off your face, but the beautifully crafted and wholly authentic work of self-taught artist Bec Winnel
was breathtaking. In what initially appeared as a very feminine style, her monochrome oil paintings glazed with translucent colour had the guys in awe too. The definition of ‘talent’ is re-defined when you see an artist like this – it stays with you for days like an excellent movie.
Great typography is funny thing. You can see the detail in the finished product, you can feel the words if it’s fashioned right, but when you meet one of the guys – take Luca Ionescu
for example – the depth and creativity that goes into the type just blows you away. Heading up the Like Minded Studio in Sydney, Ionescu took the room through a grass roots and street art-based growth (not too dissimilar to Meggs) and charted his rise to internationally revered type genius (although I’d bet he’d never call himself that). Modest at best, true love of craft was evident in all of his work and the time-lapse shown.
As the day switched from static to motion design, Mark Blondel from Where There’s Smoke
explained the studio’s music, skate, surf and snow centred work. Rising from a love of board sports, film and music, the agency’s direction, style and client list proves that passion, love of your craft, commitment and involvement in the industry is what makes great work – and it doesn’t need to start with a uni degree.
spoke before lunch, sharing his studio’s maxim: “Inspiring ideas to life”. Frost was a well-articulated speaker, flying through the psychology of being a designer, to inform the audience of what it takes practically to be one. Frost’s guiding goals to “care, connect, collaborate, create and celebrate” were pushed, as the Pentagram trained designer took the audience through his studio’s most recent work and processes. Frost, like many others throughout the conference, impressed the importance of solid research. He ended with the simple rule that as a designer you must value and listen to your client, because without them you wouldn’t have a job.
and son took the stage after lunch with some of the best photographic footage of the conference. Showing off their new non-standard book, shot in Brazil, the pair explained their journey and the process of bringing the book to life. Like Derek before him, you could forget David is an internationally-acclaimed Magnum photographer who has shot for National Geographic for years. He jokingly told the audience not to give him a standing ovation as that would mean “it’s over”. In response to a waning print market, Alan-Harvey has a lot of big ideas that he’s making real through his burn network for a fresh digital initiative.
’ Florian Schmitt, along with Gmunk
(Bradley G Munkowitz) are right out there on the digital tip. Fresh minds that stand clear of traditional thinking, agency set-ups and workflows, they are producing some pretty amazing interactivity and motion graphics work. Sharing company views with Frost, Schmitt too heralded the importance of respect for the client, and said technology should not get in the way of ideas. It’s as though Schmitt employs the absurd and challenging thinking of Kelli Anderson, but applies it with great zeal to the motion design and physical realms - as shown in the US Doritos ‘Late Night’ interactive music video campaign.
In the last session, Gmunk wowed the crowd with breathtaking holographic visuals from the Disney movie TRON
, and in an animated tongue-in-cheek presentation, backed it up with serious, high-level tech breakdown of his and his ‘dream team’s process. This was the most informative talk of the conference, taking us into the world of Hollywood motion design. Beginning with his development of personal connections, how that led to the TRON
projects’ brief, the forming of his team and the execution, the whole presentation was insightful.
Starting out along a comparably bumpy road and finding great success today were Scott Nowell and Justin Drape of The Monkeys
. Now an agency of 30 odd creatives, Nowell and Drape began as two guys in an office finding it hard to fit in. Like with most of the stories we heard, the style that sets them apart today stems from the very differences that plagued them early on.
Overall the conference was a great success, brought to life by very well-selected speakers and a carefully drawn gamut of artistic styles. Winnell, Meggs, and Harney made it clear that true Australian talent is piercingly honest, vibrant and world standard. From agency leaders Schmitt, Frost, Scott and Nowell, we saw that self-initiated work plays a crucial role in the largest campaigns, and informs the work of all of the creatives that spoke.
Inspiration comes from the wildest of places, and the message from this Semi-Permanent was loud and clear – back yourself, do work that drives you, reject ordinary, challenge reality, and hey, enjoy the ride!
Check out the live timeline at syd.semipermanent.com
for a cool look back at the event.
Click here for our review
of Semi-Permanent Sydney day one.