What is the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?

I just saw this advert directed by Maik Shuster for Rimowa through Iconoclast. It was abstract in the best way. I loved that it integrated fine art into a commercial which can be a rare sighting.

Rimowa – Rimowa - The Art of Engineering

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What website(s) do you use most regularly? 

No websites. But I spend a lot of time on YouTube because I look things up like trailers and adverts, sometimes music videos and other campaigns. Even when I listen to podcasts I listen to them mostly on YouTube, but I listen rather than watch, so it could be without video.

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought? 

Tech isn’t that interesting to me, more functional. Recently, I had to buy a new computer because my last one died on me. I got an Apple Macbook Pro. I’m not very techie and can barely use Word and Excel programs; but I do need it for editing work where I use the Adobe suite. 

What product could you not live without?

Food, air and water. I don’t really have any physical products that I am attached to. Obviously we are all addicted to our phones but I consciously try to change that.  

What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year? 

Last year has been a weird one for me on this front. Normally, I feel the need to take time when I want to watch auteur cinema, to properly focus and digest what I’m watching. It has always been like a strange hibernation phase for me, to just stay in and watch movies back-to-back. This last year I have simply not found this time because my own life has been a lot to process so, emotionally, there has been zero space for that.

I did manage to attend a film festival last year, and I saw two films which were impressive for different reasons: The Whale, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and Close by Lukas Dhont. In The Whale, Brendan Fraser’s performance from the first opening seconds is impactful and draws you right in. The story came second to that mesmerising performance and the way he built the character. Close was so nuanced, so well-acted and coherent. so well-acted and coherent, just a well executed film with an original take on its subjects.


What film do you think everyone should have seen?

No way, I can’t answer this question. I don’t have one favourite film. To me, film and music are a map to your life. There might be a film or a piece of music that, at a certain stage of your life, just fits, impacts, helps you or helps you put yourself on the map of your life. You might see that same piece at other stages of your life, and it does nothing for you, it doesn’t work in the same way. That’s the beauty of film. 

I can’t choose one film any more than I would choose a favourite family member. There are so many different genre’s moods and effects that film can have and it depends on the person who might watch something. If I were asked by someone for a recommendation, I would want to know what they need and what they want to see at that time of their life. It’s a very personal decision.

What’s your preferred social media platform? 

I have no social media preference. I’m so tired of it, it becomes exhausting, and I want to try and stay away for a while. I’ve been taking week-long breaks, but someone shares something, so you get drawn in. Social media, generally, is not my favourite. Although I use YouTube, I don't see it as a social media, it’s more an archive of everything that I can search through for what I want.

What’s your favourite TV show? 

I’m also not big into TV! I find it hard to find the time to invest in a TV show, I’d rather just watch a film as one piece of art. It’s easier for me to process. I’ve watched TV shows of course, but I can’t say that there’s one that was life changing or I really love.

What’s your favourite podcast? 

I do listen to a lot of podcasts – on YouTube! But there’s one that I listen to on Apple Podcasts and that’s the Team Deakins film podcast. It’s a conversation between the cinematographer Roger Deakins [below] and his collaborator James Deakins. I listen to a lot of mental health themed podcasts, one of them is by the American neuroscientist, Andew Huberman [The Huberman Lab]. That takes a more scientific view. The other podcasts I listen to, are just jumping around on whatever the algorithm suggests to me.

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?

There was a show in London, in summer 2022, called Penny World at the ICA. It was a show about the artist and poet Penny Goring, who has not had much high profile success for her 30 years career, and this was her first solo exhibition in a public institution. The show explored her processing of trauma, experience of violence and emotional works associated with grief, fear and powerlessness. I was fascinated by this work and her voice. 

I think that such a renowned gallery offering an opportunity like that for an artist that is relatively unknown - not one of the many big names we see all the time - is something that is unusual. And I’d like to see more of. It’s great to get access to the work of these lesser-heard voices. There are so many artists, musicians and makers out there that we will never hear about because they don’t appear in these spaces.

If you could only listen to one music artist from now on, who would it be? 

This is another impossible question! I could never choose one. I have very eclectic taste in music: jazz or classical one day or Usher’s first album the next. It’s so dependent on mood and where you are in your life and how you are feeling, music is a great reflector of that. I sometimes use music if I am truly feeling bad to lift my mood, I’ll listen to Herbie Hancock or something similar that is more joyful. But there are times, also, when I like to wallow a little bit in melancholy music too.

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be? 

I have, personally, had a lot of good experiences, although I have heard the horror stories as well. I think I would increase the collaborative aspects of the industry, to have directors and creatives work a lot more closely together. When that happens it’s just wonderful and a really enjoyable process and produces the best outcome. Also, every year, I am a bit stunned when people know they have a campaign coming up but, still, they brief too late and then apply time pressure to what we’re doing. Just prepare earlier so we have time to do something really incredible. 

Our industry is based on something you can’t force; creativity. It’s not a machine, and the best ideas don’t arrive when you want them to, to a deadline or schedule, you have no control over it. They come when you’re making a sandwich or taking a walk. Ideally, if I can have a week to live with an idea and let it form. When it does, it’s a beautiful thing. 

I’ve occasionally said no to projects where the time frame has played a role, among other things. When time is that tight, I know that I just wouldn’t be able to create the best work for clients. I do feel that creativity is like a muscle and can be trained to a point, but the best work isn’t helped with pressure.

Who or what has most influenced your career? 

I grew up in a family that is full to the brim with musicians. Everyone is a musician. This is probably what led me into being a creative, in one way or another. I remember looking at music videos every day when I came home from school. I also got interested in film really early on. I would delve deeper to the videos to investigate the actors and directors associated with movies. When I was around 11- or 12-years-old, I started to consciously search for movies, and I became more interested in auteur cinema. 

I became absolutely fascinated by David Lynch, and I remember I took out every single movie of his from the video store. I heard about his new film, Inland Empire, coming out. I became obsessed with getting my hands on it from the video rental, but it was impossible to tell when the video store might have it in, so I would go and check every day for months to see if they had received it. I was embarrassingly rigorous with that. 

When I finally got my hands on it and watched it for 3+ hours, or whatever its runtime was, I had an intense panic attack because it was just insane. But I loved it. I’m not sure I would watch it again now, though. But there was something about Lynch’s work that always stuck with me; the eerie tone and shifted realities. I guess, because it was during my formative years, it had a bit more impact on me. 

Strangely, thinking back to the TV question, I didn’t get into Lynch’s Twin Peaks series as much as I did his films. I did watch some of it. I guess it’s just the way I don’t engage with TV shows in the same way as I do with cinema. 

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know. 

I was in a band as a child. I have made a lot of music in my life and dabbled in acting as a teenager too. When you’re a creative person sometimes it doesn’t matter what the medium is, it’s just whatever works.