This week sees a new exhibition pop up in our wonderful
little L-Gallery. It is by London-based artist Trystan Williams.
His collection 'Thread 1' takes quotes from the
internet and laser-engraves them on to pieces of slate. Here is what he has to
say about his work:
post things on the internet that they would never admit to their closest friend
in real life. The things people post can be tragic, hilarious, disgusting,
thought-provoking, hateful, revelatory, confessional, deeply personal,
full of joy, or full of pain and loneliness. They are as varied in tone and
texture as the spectrum of human emotion and thought. It’s this that I’m trying
to get at with this work: an attempt to excavate and preserve what is truly
human and all too easily lost in the dense, humming jungle of high technology
and instant online communication."
Someone asked about where the title for this blog originated. It came from an idea in the Honda pitch that ended up in the first Honda Book of Dreams. (You can see the entire book and the thinking behind it here.)
The idea was about a town called Optimism. And the sign by the highway as you drove into town was the 'Welcome to Optimism' sign that now hangs in our big meeting room. I can't remember anything else about the campaign idea now. Other than this phrase:
Is your petrol tank half full or half
empty? Being optimistic is a wonderful thing.
We liked the thought and the sign, so when Honda didn't use it, we appropriated it and put it on the wall and on a T-shirt.
There's a coincidental connection to our Creative Directors Tony and Kim's dislike of problem / solution advertising, where you pull back to reveal the brand at the end and the world becomes a better place. Kim always used to say, Why can't we start with the positive and build from there?
And it seemed like a better title for this blog than just calling it Wieden + Kennedy London Blog.
Just too late for London Fashion Week, the book above has inspired Welcome to Optimism to consider London East End fashion. Buttoned-Up is a slim volume in a series of books called Penguin Lines, published by Penguin to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Tube, London's underground railway. The books are another fine piece of design from Penguin - desirable and collectable physical objects that are handily pocket-sized and so, aptly enough, ideal for reading on public trasnsport. Buttoned-Up was edited by the founders of supremely stylish fashion mag Fantastic Man. Its role in the series of books is in relation to W+K's local line, the East London Line, and it explores a curious local phenomenon: the habit of buttoning one's top shirt button without wearing a tie.
"When departing the East London Line on Shoreditch High Street, one might choose to visit one of the many menswear retailers that thrive in the Borough of Hackney. It is likely that one will notice a distinct similarity in the way these shops' employees and customers have dressed themselves: they'll be wearing their shirts with the buttons done up all the way to the top, the collars closed tight around their necks. This approach to dressing is not the most comfortable one by any means, but in this area of London and many other corners of society it is miraculously popular."
The essays in the book trace the roots of the style from a number of antecedents, including the supressed sexuality and anger of the '60s mods and the anti-'rockist' thrift shop chic of post-punk Glasgow band Orange Juice.
Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice in the early '80s, perfectly attired for Hoxton in 2013.
(Orange Juice had a sudden and dramatic impact on impressionable Scottish teenagers at the time, of whom I was one. We immediately rushed out to Millett's to buy tartan shirts, which we wore buttoned up to the neck, along with '60s-style suede jackets foraged from jumble sales or the Oxfam shop. Happy days.)
Simon Reynolds argues, "Buttoned up is smarter and more formal than having the shirt loose at the top but the absence of a tie is a glaring and pointed gesture. It suggests that you're not headed for a conventional workplace, but that neither are you dressing sloppy (as with the classic image of the office worker, arriving at home or in the pub, finally free to loosen his tie)."
Paul Flynn summarises the East End look as follows: "Healthy beard, groomed moustache, trousers half an inch too short, lustrous hair side-parted, shirt buttoned up."
With this in mind, Welcome to Optimism decided to investigate the influence of East London street style on the Fantastic Men of Wieden + Kennedy.
Planner Tom is buttoned up in a fitted tweedy shirt, rocking a sort of military / gamekeeper vibe.
Group Account Director Alex strikes a pose, buttoned up in blue chambray.
Creative Director Kim is buttoned up in plaid.
Double denim, double buttoned-up for Luke.
Creative Ollie has buttoned up a classic white button-down.
This month sees the work of Illustrator Joseph Haigh in our stairwell. Joseph actually works for us here at Wieden's but his passion lies with all things drawn and design-related. With a background in Fine Art he is always drawing or painting, but over recent months his work has taken on a more definite direction, focusing on illustration and design.
His personal work often features people in unusual settings such as mountain scenes, deserts, bars, or whatever feels right for the subject. Subtle blends of colour dominate backgrounds, offsetting his use of bold mark-making in the subject matter. Cycling is also a passion; he has done a Bradley Wiggins portrait and some recent cycling-related designs for the V&A. His latest work incorporates a more hand-drawn approach, mixed with digital colouring that he applies in the studio. Joseph is clearly working towards a distinctive technique that he hopes will enable him to tackle a wide range of projects.
Recent projects include Climpsons coffee, the V&A, Wieden and Kennedy (naturally), Keepcup coffee and others.
Joseph will be working on a number of things over the coming weeks so keep an eye on his website:
This month in our tiny little
L-Gallery we have Nic Joly exhibiting his beautiful miniature model
started out crafting playful little scenes around his home for his children to
stumble upon, making these little scenes soon turned into a passion and a way for him to comment on
how he sees the world.
Nic says, “As we go through the journey that
is our lives we come across situations and make observations about what we see
and feel. With my 'Underfoot' collection I strive to highlight my own
observations and thoughts about my journey, and things I have seen. Each
miniature sculpture work is framed in a museum quality, glass-fronted box
frame. These frames turn the works into small, well-hung pieces of theatre.”
We are loving Nic's work here at
W+K, and even more so since we found out he earned himself a Blue Peter
badge. (Not that we are jealous, of course.)