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An Original Ad Man

…is about ideas. Ideas that make people think, make people smile, make people laugh, make people change the way they behave. It’s about creativity. Creativity in advertising and design. Creativity in the field of poetry, literature and screenplays. It’s about art. Sharing it, discovering it. Trying to understand it. It’s about getting things done. Not waiting for someone else to do it, or relying on someone else to get it done for you. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I have over 25 years experience in the ad industry working for agency brands such as: DDB; TBWA; BBDO; O&M and McCann’s as a CD / AD / CW. I have won over 100 awards, including Cannes; D&AD; One Show; Campaign and Epica. For brands such as: VW; Audi; Carlsberg; Black & White Whisky, Smirnoff, Coors, Cadbury’s; Coca-Cola; Heinz; Peugeot; Nissan and Meteor to name a few.

I’m also a published writer, I was short listed for the Independent on Sunday Short Story Competition in 1997. My short story, “Woman’s Best Friend”, also appears in the IOS New Stories published by Bloomsbury.

My poetry has been widely published in Ireland, Britain and the US in anthologies and periodicals such as: The U.S. Literary Review, Envoi, Cyphers, Electric Acorn, W.P. Monthly, Lifelines 3, The Haiku Quarterly and The Amnesty International Anthology: Human Rights Have No Borders.

I am the author of six feature length screenplays, six short films, a collection of short stories, a poetry collection and my first novel which contains 85,000 words, some of which are in the correct order.

Somewhere between homicide and suicide is Merseyside.

So said the infamous Milton Jones.

However, on a recent jaunt to Liverpool to visit a client I took the opportunity to pop into the Walker Gallery and was rewarded with a life-affirming exhibition of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec’s etchings and prints.

An absolute privilege to be able to view his work up close. Not just for his energetic painting style capturing the seedier side of Parisian nightlife, but also for his art direction, layout composition and typography.

Over the years we’ve all seen posts about whether advertising can be art, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t whilst it is selling something. I think it can transcend into art after it has served its purpose and becomes era defining.

In Lautrec’s case, I’ll make an exception, as he was already well known for being an artist when he was commissioned to create posters for various clubs and salons.

Any art director or designer, whether they are interested in art or not, should be aware of the influence of art in layout design purely from a composition point of view.

In this Jane Avril example I love the way he frames the ‘ad’ using the double base. (How many ‘frames’ have we seen like this for contemporary brands?)

If you’re in the North West, and have a penchant for advertising or art, I’d advise you to take a trip to the Walker. It’s free in and there’s plenty of other work to tickle your fancy if you’re not into Lautrec. It was my first time, and I shall definitely be going again.

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