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Posts Tagged ‘Piers Fawkes’

Anti-fashion Photography, Shepard Fairey & Car-Free LA: A Half-Day at PSFK

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We were only able to spend the morning at the PSFK Los Angeles conference due to our slammed afternoon schedule of ab-gawking. Cordial host Piers Fawkes was even more witty and dapper in person than we imagined him to be (like an extra in a Hugh Grant movie), but we couldn’t figure out why he kept changing the schedule on us. Luckily, the reordered roster was actually much better.

Director of Photography at Getty Images Andrew Delaney was the perfect opening to the conference with a stunning collection of images that beautifully illustrated the changing digital photo market. This was especially fitting since the next “why LA matters” panel talked almost exclusively about the work of the Cobra Snake. You’d think he was head of the cultural affairs commission the way panelists Adriana Parcero, Tony Pierce, Emmanuelle Richard, Jeff Miller and Shana Nys Dambrot were able to tie him into so many aspects of LA’s importance. (Wow, is this really what you think of us? Are we just the Cory Kennedys of the world?) But it was an interesting point in terms of LA’s image, which leads us to ask again: Why is it that New Yorkers put together the most provocative panels on LA culture?

The next LA-focused panel on living without a car was intriguing (especially since we’d taken the bus there ourselves), but failed to deliver. GreenLAGirl Siel and MetroRiderLA Frederick Dennstedt gave inspirational mojo to the car-free lifestyle, but transit advocate Kymberleigh Richards infused the discussion with such militant, anti-government rhetoric it might have scared people away. The point of a weird film by Refreshment at the end might have been that even a good-looking, well-dressed person can take the subway, walk or ride their bikes in LA. It was insulting to those of us who do.

If the future of content is as boring as the next panel on it was, we’re all in big trouble. A question in the Q&A summed it up nicely: “From what I’ve heard everyone say it feels like it’s all about making money. Where does making good content fit into your model?” Ouch. We learned a lot about bad content–as in massive stereotyping in the Hispanic market–from Juan Guillermo Tornoe, Jennifer Woodward and David Morse during their entertaining discussion on how American marketers and advertisers get Latino culture dead wrong.

And finally, recent conference darling Shepard Fairey gave his typical crowd-pleasing presentation, which pleasantly did touch upon quite a lot of his commercial work (although he casually mentioned more than he actually showed). We had to split after that, but on our way out we noted that Fawkes nailed one important LA detail: Lunch was catered by Joan’s on Third, a good sign of things to come.

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Design Week & ICFF Wrap Ups

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While it may have seemed it was all about lines and more lines (not that kind, you filthy little animal), ICFF & Design Week are slowly petering out and the city is returning to a place where Tobias Wong doesn’t offer cigarettes on the sidewalk and we don’t stalk Yves Behar (nearly as much).

BusinessWeek talks to some of the folks we chatted with pre-game to get their post-game thoughts, while Piers Fawkes gives his two trendy cents. No surprises really: It’s big, it’s American, it’s spilling over into the ‘hoods, and more people are focusing on sustainability, although not nearly enough. We’ll tell you, though, there was one thing that surprised even us this year–the voracious, near-rabid attendance, media frenzy and blog coverage surrounding what’s basically…a trade show? Some PR company doesn’t have to work very much the rest of the year, do they?

Another interesting thought crossed our mailbox early this week, from Sir Steven Heller:

What I’d like to see out of Design Week is a NEW presence for graphic design. The field is in a slump, in large part because its overshadowed by all these other media that, in my humble opinion, have usurped elements of graphic design.

Could it be true? Is graphic (and web, and product, and design thinking, and whatever else have you) missing out on a tremendous opportunity to bank on the Design-ness of the week? Might all the forgotten fields have a chance to redeem themselves during–gasp–National Design Week?

We think it’s too late, really. The pretty chairs have stolen the show.