Spotlight: Marco Palena

Marco Palena has instantly become one of my top 5 favourite illustrators with his stunningly detailed and unique illustrations. The winners of this year’s Association of Illustrators’ World Illustration Awards have been announced, and Marco has won ‘The Overall New Talent Award’ for his work for the ‘Bookshops in Blossom’ book (below), which details Italian literature and culture:

His work has featured on the cover of plenty of magazine covers including ‘My Family and Other Animals’ for Illustrated Magazine (2015):

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Marco’s uniquely crafted illustrations are so incredible that it took me a while to realise that they aren’t digital illustrations, but in fact hand drawn!

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He often illustrates in monochrome, but his colour illustrations are just as incredible, and have been featured in children’s books:

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It’s hard to actually find information about Marco and interviews with him despite his successes, but I think his work speaks for itself. Stunning!

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Spotlight: Patrick Sluiter

Motion and 3D Designer Patrick Sluiter has a unique style to say the least. Patrick has designed fantastic work like ‘Strangers’, personal projects and my favourite ‘Stills’ in which he has created an ongoing series based on daily passing thoughts:

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His characters are smooth and almost melancholy which are all carefully created in Cinema 4D, a programme which he has shockingly only been using for 2 years. Patrick cites inspiration in the work of other artists such as Geoff McFetridge, Alexy Préfontaine, Mike Lee, Charlie Harper, Guy Billout, Thomas Hedger, Xavier Cardona and Liron Ashkenazi Eldar.
It’s not just the form of the characters that make his unique style – Patrick’s colour scheme consists of dull, flat colour combinations that go perfectly with the overall aesthetic. Love, love, love his work.

All the animations grew from an idea of a lucid dream that seemed tangible, but would have a sense of abstraction. Some were more ‘out there’ than others but my favourite was a couple that have an outlet and plug prong for faces. There’s a clearly sexual undertone, but the goal was to show compatibility and the subtle motions you use to communicate to your significant other.

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You are streaming consciousness: Three

Creative company Gravity Road were commissioned by Three to create an ad for their campaign “Go Binge”, which explored findings from an extensive consumer research survey around the bingeing behaviours of the UK (The Binge Files). 44% of people aged 16-24 years old watch more than an hour of streamed content on their phones daily and 46% binge because they can’t wait for the next episode. With these facts, Gravity Road created a (hilarious) short film parodying people’s streaming addictions, and despite the research insights this binging culture is constantly being discussed on social media and in memes.

Three’s deal allows binge-obsessed customers to stream films, TV shows and music on popular streaming services (e.g. Netflix, TV Player, Deezer and SoundCloud) without the fear of exceeding their data limit. Directed by the multi-award winning director Tom Geens, the short film is set in an eccentric electronics store, where the store owner hosts secret ‘Binge classes’ after hours. The owner encourages people to become more in-tune with streaming and love their devices, to help them achieve a higher stream of consciousness through activities like chanting “Stream in, and stream out, I love my device, the device is me…”. Hilarious. This is definitely one of the best UK ads I’ve seen this year.

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Global Breastfeeding Week: This Sucks

Directed by Jon Lawton, this campaign for Global Breastfeeding Week focuses on the tagline “breastfeeding is nicer than you feeding”. Featuring the empowering and vert apt song “F*** The Pain Away” by Peaches, Lawton powerfully conveys a juxtaposition of a peacefully breastfeeding mother and baby, and people scoffing messy food. It’s illegal to prevent a woman from breastfeeding, yet mothers still feel a stigma attached to feeding their babies in public, often feeling embarrassed and judged.

Jon Lawton, creative director at Stink Studios said:

A month ago I read a news story about a woman being asked to leave a restaurant because she was breastfeeding, which is total bullshit. Have you seen people eating? It’s disgusting. All lips, sauce and gob. It’s like we go backwards in our ability to do the most simple human task. Babies feeding, by comparison, is the most elegant form of the act. The Peaches post-punk track was just perfect. Loud, proud, with a fuck-you attitude. If one mother feels more confident breastfeeding in public because of the film – that’s all I want.

I love the direction Jon has gone in with this short film – it is incredibly empowering and goes to show that breastfeeding (the most natural thing any mammal can do) is in no way comparable to grotesque, slow-mo clips of mouths devouring greasy, processed fast-food.
Check out the GBW website linked above – it’s a shame they haven’t looked into a re-brand to match the bold film.

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Pop Culture Dystopia: Filip Hodas

3D illustrator Filip Hodas has created an ongoing Instagram series exploring a dystopian world of pop-culture icons. Using his incredible talent, Filip has created these eerie images with the help of Cinema 4D, Octane Render, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Substance Designer, World Machine and Adobe Photoshop:

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Carlsberg: Black and Gold

Design agency Kontrapunkt’s (Denmark) have redesigned cans for Carlsberg’s Black Gold Pilsner. The design features a two-colour scheme with  a matt black top and ring pull. I love a bit of matte:

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Note how they’ve also added a hop leaf shape cut out on the ring pull. The devil is in the detail!

From the cool cat of beers to an overlooked lager in the Carlsberg range, Black Gold needed a facelift to revive its relevance. Paying homage to the historic Black Gold bottles, we designed a darker than dark can that reflects the bold and more full-bodied pilsner experience.

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Carlsberg is one of many brands who have decided to incorporate minimalist design into their branding by stripping back on detail and ornate features.

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Meet the Meat: M&C Saatchi

The Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution (TFHT) teamed up with M&C Saatchi (Tel Aviv) to campaign for the legislation to prohibit prostitution, aiming to put an end to the prostitution industry in Israel. Mortality rates among Israeli female prostitutes are 40 times higher than the rest of the population, so M&C aimed to reduce the demand for prostitution by engaging with consumers who finance the industry.
The message for this campaign is that women are not a product for consumption, so they created a pop-up ‘food’ truck parked opposite the Israeli Parliament selling “women’s meat” sandwiches called ‘Breast Amal’ and ‘Ribs of Yael’, packaged into brown paper bags with real life stories of prostitutes:

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The experiential ‘Meet the Meat’ creative also features a truck with an illustration of a woman’s body divided into ‘cuts’, just like a cow. The vivid and disturbing creative reflects the dark facts – according to a survey by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, 12,500 women, men and teenagers are employed in prostitution in Israel.

Tzur Golan, ECD and Partner at M&C Saatchi, Tel Aviv said:

We can’t stand by and let this continue. It’s important to highlight the fact that every day vulnerable men, women and teenagers are employed in prostitution – and it’s getting worse. The best way to stop the wheels of this industry is to harm demand – if there’s no demand there won’t be supply. We wanted to create meaningful work and will continue to support TFHT as they continue to take a stand against the prostitution industry.

This is an incredible example of using advertising for social change – not just creating awareness in the most basic marketing form, but by using an in-your-face, bold and gross tactic is a sure way to get people talking. Hopefully it will get the government talking too.

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TrueView: Date Series

Creative agency Feed Me Light have teamed up with dating app TrueView for a quirky animation. FML created a series of animated shorts for the new dating service based on the sad fact that dating apps make finding love far less romantic and far more scary:

Labeled the ‘Undateable Suspects’, the series was developed based on a set of characters that had been created from real research on the dangerous individuals you encounter whilst looking for love online. FML’s 3D artist Remy Dupont brought these characters to life, including the likes of Billy Bad Chat, Six Pack Stu, Two Faced Tony and Dirty Pics Derrick:

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SodaStream: Who Are The Homoschlepiens?

SodaStream is one of those brands who never fails to deliver fantastic ads. This time, Mayim Bialik (neuroscientist and actor in ‘Big Bang Theory’) is on a quest to learn the ridiculous habits of “Homoschlepiens – a newly discovered tribe with a peculiar behavioral anomaly”. This isn’t the first SodaStream ad I’ve blogged about, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Mayim is joined by ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Kristian Nairn (first KFC, now SodaStream?!) in a flashback scene after Mayim educates children at a futuristic ‘Museum of Unnatural History’. This isn’t the first time SodaStream have hired Game of Thrones actors – Nairn follows in the footsteps of ‘The Mountain’ (Thor Bjornsson) and ‘Septa Unella’ (Hannah Waddingham).
In the short film, the ‘Homoschlepiens’ are using bottled water, in an attempt to convey that using plastic is a primitive concept, because its destroying the environment. The concept was created in-house by SodaStream, and will run online on social media and SodaStream’s microsites. The aim was to encourage UK consumers to purchase a SodaStream rather than buy from companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The message that the use of plastic bottles is something to be ashamed of has led to a dispute between SodaStream and the bottled water industry, with the International Bottled Water Association sending a cease and desist letter to the brand over the ad! SodaStream’s boss Daniel Birnbaum has no fears when it comes to shaming brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and Danone, stating that:

The odds are against you – the amount of money these guys have. Not just with their lawyers – they have tremendous marketing budgets. And they’re using those to seduce and scare consumers around the globe. This generation, plastic bottles deserve the treatment of cigarettes. These bottles deserve to have warning labels on them. Single use bottled water should be illegal, and I believe there will be a time in our lifetime when it is.

Food for thought! Or water for thought?…