Talk us through your career as a director so far
I’ve only been directing a few years… although I’ve been creating and aiming for this since I started out as a graphic designer. Originally working in print and branding, then evolving to motion designer, design director and eventually directing live action with VFX… along my journey I’ve always been making art for myself too – digital, sculpture and installation… so now I get to do everything in between all those disciplines. I do this as artist/director FILFURY. I have to pinch myself sometimes, I’m from Birmingham UK and never dreamt I’d be doing what I am today. I’ve enjoyed securing dream art collabs with Nike Basketball, adidas originals, Footlocker, size?, Philipp Plein, album art for JHUS, MJ COLE, Sean Paul. Directing work with The Mill has brought me incredible opportunities with Rolls Royce, the US ARMY, Ford Mustang, The NFL, Ralph Lauren, UEFA and of course some fun music videos too.
Tell us about three defining projects in your career, and why you’ve chosen them
Air Max 90 Beretta FILFURY art piece | This was a self initiated project that launched my whole art career. It suddenly gave me freedom to work as FILFURY, within my own style I had created. I quit the day job as an art director in Sydney Australia and followed my dreams. It eventually led me back into directing but with a new angle, a new lane of my own to create within. This project gave me an identity.
J HUS album cover | It had always been a dream to make album art, and especially within the genre of music I love. This was a wicked body of music and an honor to have given it its hero visual. The artwork led to more covers and was the ticket I needed to convince record labels to let me direct music videos too.
Rolls Royce ‘I AM GHOST‘ | This was a return to making motion design from a couple of years focussing only on my art. It was an awesome experience with a killer Mill team, I’m extremely proud of this one. It feels very me… I love flexing some seamless transitions… It was one of those special projects where the agency/client let me do my thing.
You’re often creating art outside of directing, can you share any recent projects with us?
A recent piece I’m proud of is the LV Skull concepts, a random idea that was brought to life quickly with help from Matt Fuller (VFX Sup Mill LA). I have an ideas list I’m trying to work through… but I’ve been fortunate that I’m still really busy during lockdown with directional pieces. I have an awesome film I’ve created for EPIC coming out soon… so once that’s wrapped up I’ll be back on the art mission. I’m currently toying with new sculpture ideas, trying to 3D print the LV Skulls, finishing a Kobe tribute piece, and a series of documentary short films…
You recently did an interview with Size to celebrate their 20 year anniversary, how did you build your relationship with them?
Back in 2013, Size? purchased a large order of art prints from me to exhibit in their stores around the UK. That began the relationship, eventually leading to art commissions. I launched the ‘TEAL’ pack (Nike Air Max 93 and Air Huarache) creating digital art for the campaign and had the honor of launching their flagship Amsterdam store. The Amsterdam store was my first large scale sculpture, initially starting as a facade to the shop whilst under construction (I made a huge sneaker box that wrapped around the shop) which then led to designing and constructing a 40ft hanging question-mark sculpture in the entrance. It’s still there today and I love checking it out whenever I’m in Amsterdam. I’m obviously a massive trainer head so working with those guys is wicked.
Tell us about designing t-shirts for the Stephen Lawrence Campaign.
Many moons ago I was an in-house graphic designer at Nokia… my CD at the time, Mat Bickley (a very inspiring creative) happened to be Stephen’s cousin… I never knew this at the time. I’ve always kept in touch and was honored to be asked by him, along with many talented artists, to create art and help bring awareness for SL day and the London marathon he is running in Stephen’s honor. Whenever I can I like to help out and give my creative time to good causes, it’s a nice break from advertising.
If you could work with any brand in the world which would it be?
Hard to pick just one brand… I love bouncing around different mediums if you hadn’t guessed! If it was an album cover, Kanye. TVC, I really want a Nike LeBron commercial… Music vid has to be Mike Skinner (The Streets). Car commercial would be Lamborghini. Fashion brand either Maharishi or LV… But if I’m honest it’s not all about the brand for me… it’s more about the freedom to push my ideas. Take the MJ COLE Remix music video I directed, that was so much fun, getting creative on a small budget… and featured my 7 year old son Bow – more jobs like this would be the dream.
What have you learned about the way you work during lockdown?
What’s mad is I’m always the biggest promoter of working remotely… having moved to LA I still find myself working with London a lot, Chicago, NY… and I usually do this from my home studio due to time zones (I’m always up at 5am ready to roll). However this lockdown has really tested me and made me value some things I took for granted… I really miss interacting with people, I guess I never realized just how important those in-person conversations are and how much you get creatively from talking so closely, using eye contact, self-made sound effects and hand gestures… I miss the structure and routine of the office… For me right now it’s about finding balance, trying to structure my day with the day job of directing and making personal art, with being a husband, dad of 2 kids under 9 and a crazy energetic staffy… in an apartment…