Creativity 50 2011: Masashi Kawamura

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Masashi Kawamura
Masashi Kawamura

Among the roles Masashi Kawamura lists in his bio are art director, film director and director. But perhaps the final descriptor on his CV proves the most accurate: "whatever." The former Wieden & Kennedy, New York, creative director started out as a programmer and is perhaps best known for his music videos for Sour, including the multi-awarded "Hibi No Niero," which enlisted fans to use their webcams in an elaborately coordinated moving mosaic. He has also reimagined the traditional flip book -- he used the sideways view of its moving pages to display the image of a rainbow, and he brought a typographic twist to T-shirts with a line based on various typefaces. "I like to think about alternative creative processes to produce an idea," he says. "If the approach is different, the output will likely become something you've never seen before." Now, the Japan-born Mr. Kawamura is bringing that different approach to working with brands.

He recently left Wieden to join up with other superstar Japanese talents, including Wieden Japan's Naoki Ito, to launch a new creative shop, Party. At the New York- and Tokyo-based agency, he aims to bring together his day job and his self-initiated art projects, while bringing the rest of the world closer to Japan. "After the 3/11 tragedy, many foreigners left the country, and it's now even more difficult for the Japanese to connect with the outside world," he said. "I would love this new company to be able to introduce the best Japanese creatives to the clients abroad and vice versa."

How do you define creativity?
The ability to find your own problem to solve.

What is the biggest creativity killer?
To give up on trying to improve the idea. Laziness.

What are your thoughts on risk-taking, as it pertains to creativity?
You should always take risks. Better to try and fail, than to not do anything.

What/who are you most inspired by?
Norman Mclaren, Bruno Munari, Spike Jonze and Masahiko Sato.

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