After more than 10 years as an art director in New York at Fallon, Merkley Newman Harty, Berlin Cameron and ultimately TBWA/Chiat/Day, 33-year-old Phil Toledano left the business six months ago to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming . . . not the usual commercials director but a fine-art photographer. "I knew I had to do it sooner rather than later," he says. "I'd be at shoots, watching photographers and thinking, 'For God's sake! I wish I could do this myself.' The fact is you're never ready, there's never a 'good time.' " So far, he's met with measured success. His first show, held last month at a trendy furniture store in Manhattan, was buzzing with praise for the new artist - although no one actually bought any of his enormous $2,000 prints. "The price tags were a bit hefty for the age group," he reasons. On the commercials front, while he'd heard that "your first job will never come from your friends," he's being considered for an A&E campaign, from Chiat. Nevertheless, for someone used to calling shots, peddling his wares hasn't been easy. "It's been an interesting lesson in humility," says Toledano. "As an art director, I was used to photographers calling me all the time. Now I'm the one going straight to voicemail." Toledano's wide range of subjects, two of which are seen here, include architecture, office spaces, Parisian air shows and portraits of agonized videogamers, which he calls "normal people possessed by Satan." View more of his work at ptoledano.com. (GH)
It's the 15th anniversary of Los Angeles digital animation/effects pioneers Rhythm & Hues Studios, and part of the celebration includes the launch of a print/graphics/new-media division called Rhythm & Hues Design. Yes, there's a future in dazzling digital illustration, as the new division has demonstrated in the recent "Accelerating the Future" Infiniti campaign, from TBWA/Chiat/Day/L.A. The print assignment required a series of futuristic cars based on 1950s auto models. Rather than chasing down existing concept cars or building mockups to shoot, the agency went to R&H, where some wild wheels, like the beauty seen here, were whipped up in a matter of days. Besides the time and cost savings, "It allows us to represent cars that don't exist, or angles that are hard to get through photographs," says Stacy Burstin, executive producer of the design division. All of this couldn't have come at a better time, she adds. "The trend is toward heightened or artistic versions of products; fantasy is big right now." (GH)
Nice Tune, Eh?
Ulterior Emotions, a hilarious six-song companion CD to a Canadian Bud Light spot that parodies tacky song-compilation commercials, is No. 1 with a bullet on the advertising hit parade. Spun off from a spot created at Toronto's DDB Palmer Jarvis, songs like "Our Relationship Is Getting Stronger With Every Golf Game That I Play" and "You Didn't Have to Get Me (That Beer)," have sold more than 60,000 copies of the CD in two months - a certified Gold record by Canadian music biz standards. "We originally set out to print 5,000 copies, hoping that they'd be spoken for," says producer Tom Eameson of Pirate Radio in Toronto, which also produced the music for the original "Ulterior Emotions" spot. "Imagine our surprise when it went Gold!" Less surprised is the CD's first-time songwriter David Chiavegato, formerly of DDB Palmer Jarvis and now at Grip Limited. "There must be a kernel of truth to the lyrics," he says. "It must be the startling revelation that men like beer, golf and avoiding responsibility." Chiavegato and his partner, Rich Pryce-Jones, had less than a week to write the lyrics, but nevertheless managed to produce gems like: "It takes a special kind of woman to make sandwiches for the guys/And this time I'd like the regular mustard and not the one with the tiny seeds, which I so despise." See budlightinstitute.ca for further fun. (GH)
The Book Nook
New to the States, from German publisher Die Gestalten Verlag, is a $70 book/DVD combo called 72-dpi Anime- a frequently stunning, anal-retentively indexed compendium of ad and art works, featuring assorted interactive projects, motion graphics, music videos and just plain eye candy. Some familiar faves like Belief, Eyeball and Yu + Co. are represented here, along with a host of more Eurocentric companies that bear watching. See die-gestalten.de for details. (The color image below is an After Effects project called "Fashion Forward," from Santa Monica's Blind.)
And after spinning the disc, you'll need to come down with something basic and beautiful. We recommend Black & White, by Steven Guarnaccia and Susan Hochbaum, from Chronicle Books (chroniclebooks.com). A sassy little doggedly duotone tome that, at $16.95, is sure to be read all over.