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Art Direction

Gyaan by an Art Director

Sanover Srivastav
Age 27,
Art Director,
GreyWorldWide, Mumbai.

What is art in advertising?
Conceptually, art in advertising is to make a beautiful painting on a given canvas, with a pre-assigned palette that encourages the viewers to empty their pockets.

What are the skills needed to be in art?
– Sense of aesthetics…conventional or warped… but have a sense of it.
– Sensitivity for your surroundings
– Observation power
– Passion
– And of course it’ll be nice if you can draw and use the computer a little bit

How do you start? Which courses do you recommend and which colleges?
Frankly, advertising can not be taught in any college and it’s true for art, writer or account management. However, what an art college can do for you is to sharpen your tools before you enter the battle. Reputed colleges like NID can certainly give you headstart.

Which are the big agencies and how to contact them?
Pick up the phone dial the Yellow Pages. Get your college to tell you or search google. Big Agencies are Lowe, O&M, Grey Worldwide etc. Make a compilation of your precious work, barge into a creative director’s office of a reputed company, watch him/her verbally tear your masterpieces apart and then hope you get him as your boss.

How long is the training period?
Six months usually, but can be sooner or later depending on your skills and performances. You can also be absorbed by the same company if you are seen as someone of value by your seniors, or sometimes if you are a good looking thing to have around, or a very good entertainer. Young and fresh talent is respected in this industry, though it might not seem so when you are bullied by everyone.

What is the money like?
Initially…none. Eventually…sky is the limit

What about the working hours?
There is no such concept. Guys leaving their homes, girls being threatened for marriage by parents, not knowing what sunlight looks like…might be some small occupational hazards.

Some websites and books you’d suggest.
Books are extremely important, especially for artists. You learn from the masters, the changing trends, growing technical possibilities all over the world. Let books be an inspiration… not the Anu Mallik way. Some such are DNAD, One shows, British design annuals, Luerzer’s Archives, Workbooks, Rolling Stones, Mad comics…

Besides an advertising agency, where can you go?
Once in advertising, always in advertising. It’s a very difficult profession to break free from, for the kind of lifestyle, freedom and satisfaction it offers. Never the less, ample freelance work is available . Also advertising bridges well to the film industry.

Also the skills you learn in advertising equip you well enough for almost any job in the corporate world. You would become a good talker, communicator, politician, ideas person, pool player, internet guru, coffee drinker, clueless but confident speaker, and many others

Why is advertising not considered a worthy career by parents?
Perception of advertising being full of alcoholics and junkies (which is not completely wrong); less money initially; my daughter will come back home at 1 in the morning…what will the neighbours say; not still as respectable as a doctor or a lawyer in India; too fast and furious a profession for my innocent child… Also I don’t think an outsider has ever understood what the hell we really do.

What about illustrators? What’s the scope for them?
Good illustrators are a rare and highly respected commodity. Those are the people who stuck to their true talent and concentrate on producing specialized pieces of art. Use of illustrations of varied forms is becoming more and more popular all over the world especially with technology advancements in films and animation particularly on the net. India too is in touch with these changes and the demand for specialized illustrators is growing rapidly.

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