Ad Age is marking Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2023 with our Honoring Creative Excellence package. (Read the introduction here.) Today, our guest editor JJ Augustavo turns the spotlight to Ehsan, the DJ and film director known for his work for brands including Nike, Samsung, Captain Morgan and the NFL. Here, Ehsan writes about finding common ground between art and commerce.
Let’s take it back to circa 2018, pre-salt-’n’-pepper chinny-chin-chin and finding my voice as a commercial filmmaker. Let’s take it back to that long, hard, existential look in the mirror, post inspiring conversation with my brother Jon Jon Augustavo (fellow Asian and stupidly talented director), that went a lil’ something like this:
So I’m shooting car commercials and fashion films, but the scripts I’m writing for myself are so much more than cars ’n’ clothes, they’re a window into my world, my culture, my people, my values…
I want to spread joy and make people smile like some kinda hood Aladdin, but BOY! I’ve got a lot to say about the world we live in. How can I be part of the system, whilst wanting to take a match to it?