The Kung Fu of Art Direction

MANILA, APRIL 19, 2013 – The Mind Museum in Fort Bonifacio was the site of adobo magazine’s latest Maincourse event, its first for the year. Up front and center was DDB Singapore’s deputy executive creative director, Thomas Yang. Multi-award winning, bespectacled, open and obviously excited to be in Manila, Yang delivered a talk on the Kung Fu of Art Direction.

Complemented by a tongue-in-cheek slideshow laden with martial arts imagery, Yang walked his enraptured crowd of over 120 industry creative professionals through the steps he used to become a Cannes award–winner, illustrating the qualities he felt led to effective work, and those that, in his opinion, caused others to miss their mark.
Among the most significant of these was the importance of creatives finding a suit that they could trust and collaborate with, as that person would provide a combination of conscience, sounding board and reason in the creation of campaigns and executions.
Yang also highlighted the need to make one’s work smart – while avoiding the mistake of trying to be too smart for one’s own good – while avoiding making it stupid, and the value of asking questions when in doubt. One of the best tests of whether a work was effective in delivering its message, shared Yang, was to try running it by someone higher up or older (who may not necessarily understand all the technical work involved) and someone lower or younger (who may not be familiar with the product or advocacy). If the work was understood by both with little effort, then it should have no problem reaching its intended audience.
After a break, Yang presented the behind-the-scenes stories of three of his most famous works via meticulous behind-the-scenes documentation and candid commentary that had audience members laughing out loud at various points.
First up was Yang’s print campaign for Rough Guides, that combined massive amounts of research, patience, creative thinking (and eBay!) to recreate the wonders of the world through the use of the images found on the backs of actual minted currency. 

< src="/global//UserFiles/TY_pic. " width="534" height="373" alt="" />

Next was a campaign for Breast Cancer awareness, featuring a topless model clad only in body paint that drew attention for taking a surprisingly direct approach towards the prevention of a serious illness.
Finally, Yang produced his work for Life Cycle (a small local bicycle shop) that won big at last year’s Cannes. Here, Yang showed the advantages of accomplishing astonishing effects and executions in-camera, as opposed to relying on computer-generated imagery or retouching. The final work, representing cityscapes and road maps, were comprised, literally, of hundreds of parts from fully-functioning bicycles they had dismantled and shot, piece by piece.
At the end of the presentation, the sustained applause Yang received from his appreciative audience was acclaim well-earned, with everyone in attendance having been enraptured, entertained and, most importantly, inspired.
The Maincourse with Thomas Yang was presented by adobo magazine, in cooperation with PowerMac Center, DDB Manila, Executive Decisions and the Mind Museum.

Partner with adobo Magazine

Related Articles

Back to top button