ABOUT THE PROJECT:
FORTY is a film and art installation retrospect of TBWA's 40-year history.
We wanted to look back at the work that has defined the company - the campaign that made ABSOLUT famous, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl spot, Nelson Mandela’s first ANC election campaign, the SHIFT_ campaign that re-launched Nissan to the world and many other iconic work throughout the globe.
Instead of making another reel, we decided to collaborate with a well known street artist named WK and asked him to interpret the work through his own unique style. We set up an 8ft X 36ft canvas in an empty warehouse and set him and his two assistants loose.
What resulted was a short film and an original art piece that is now currently living in TBWA's New York office, and digitally in TBWA offices throughout the world.
The music chosen in the film is a good friend of ours, KISHI BASHI, whose tracks are from his debut album, 151a.
The inspiration for doing this project can be summed up in the following words spoken by Lee Clow: "Make it smart. Make it beautiful. Have fun."
The poster that accommodates the film is the art piece itself. The copy on top was delicately written by TBWA's Worldwide Creative Director, John Hunt, giving the poster significance beyond mere imagery.
It's TBWA's rallying cry; it's manifesto.
Everything in life starts with a blank. A blank page, a canvas, a wall.
What you do with that surface, determines not only how you’ll be remembered, but also how that surface can reflect an even higher trajectory into the future.
Forty years ago Tragos, Bonnange, Wiesendanger and Ajroldi started an agency that evolved into TBWA.
It could’ve been a noisy gaggle of over-inflated egos strutting their individual stuff.
But somehow the miracle happened. They embraced change instead of being run over by it.
And because all the sum of the parts contributed to the culture, an even richer connective tissue was formed. No one wanted to join the navy. Everyone wanted to be a pirate. Good enough was not good enough for anyone. And life was too short to be mediocre.
No one made it a rule yet everyone agreed; the sole purpose of the status quo was to have something to disrupt.
Unafraid of the unchartered course, it became an enchanted place where ideas became symbols and symbols became icons. And the joy of these icons was that they stayed forever in your mind from choice.
A pink bunny meant boundless energy, 1984 was never going to be like 1984 and a strange see-through bottle spoke to your sense of style and culture. Impossibly great punched with the power of Muhammad Ali’s left jab. The automobile didn’t just take you from A to B, it also began to shift your perceptions of how to damage the planet less. And while making a payment still meant a minus on your bank statement, it also meant all the lights turning green to facilitate your next dream.
Everything in life starts with a blank. But if it’s a creative life it doesn’t stay that way. Old ways morph with the new, yet always in eternal service to the unique, the original, the unforgettable.
And although layer after layer is added, what is brushed across our imagination, what is left indelibly in our mind is always the same.
Make it smart. Make it beautiful. Have fun.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
WK was born in 1969 in Caen, France. He currently lives and works in New York. Starting at a young age, WK became fascinated by the human body in motion; an infatuation strongly reflected in his work, which often capture figures frozen in a flight of movement.
The artist’s technique of twisting an original drawing or photograph while it’s being photocopied results in the monochromatic palette and streamlined moment-in-time appearance of his finished work.