Work & Co's Derek Fridman on street art, selling out—and becoming a part of the 'Star Wars' juggernaut
Derek Fridman is design partner at Work & Co, an agency based in Brooklyn that has designed digital content, apps and physical spaces for clients including Ikea, Havaianas and Planned Parenthood. It was also named to the 2019 Ad Age Agency A-List.
In this episode of the “Ad Block” podcast, Fridman talks about his background in street art, specifically wheatpasting—poster graffiti applied with a homemade glue made of flour and water.
He first gained notoriety as the creator of “Star Wars” art that put a stormtrooper helmet on Che Guevara. “It was a commentary on how played out and cliched the image had been,” Fridman says. “I love to jam and mash-up cultures and things that don’t go together to make people go, ‘What is this person thinking?’ It was like peanut butter and jelly.”
For Fridman, poster art served as a way to get a particular piece of artwork in front of bigger audiences. “For me, I wanted to create a composition and then just beat people over the head with it,” he says. “I wanted it all over the place, at various sizes and scales. So my two routes and options were to wheatpaste it and to produce stickers.”
It was more easily repeatable than using spray paint and tagging as a medium. “Street art was a way that I could very quickly, cheaply and easily get that message out.” Paint was expensive, he adds—unless you stole it.
Fridman also talks about a close shave with Lucasfilm, the failings of the InstaPot and how “The Mandalorian” succeeds as episodic, appointment television.