It’s that time of year again when Analogue/Digital stretched out it’s arms to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, bringing students everywhere fresh inspiration.
Only in it’s second year, Analogue/Digital proved it was a force to be reckoned with by transporting the talents of Magda Sayeg (USA) and Ill-Studio (France) to our sunny shores. The yarn bomber and Parisian princes were teamed with our own impressive locals, including Troy Archer, Damien Aistrope, We Buy Your Kids and Sneaker Freaker.
Apart from being the first time that Analogue/Digital had featured international speakers, it also commenced with the first of its masterclasses. With WBYK and SNKR FRKR on board to help lend a designing hand, students clambered to make sure that they didn’t miss out.
Troy Archer, sans beard, kicked off the conference with a refreshingly honest and humorous style. Originally a graphic design student and avid skater, Archer started working at Billabong before eventually climbing through the ranks and becoming the brand manager for Element. It was a vintage skateboard that also inspired Archer and his wife to establish a beautiful and eclectic online vintage Facebook store, aptly named Archer & Archer. Inspired by colour and artists like Dali, Picasso, Beastman and Basquiat; Archer has discovered his own artistic style using his childhood medium of blue biro and says that, “finding your own style is like losing your virginity.” Archer’s optimism and enthusiasm for life is contagious and his words, “you can’t do anything, unless you’re doing something” resonated with everyone.
The next speaker, Damien Aistrope has developed websites for the best of the best and he does it all from the comfort of his own home. After working for Channel V straight out of university, Aistrope has gone on to evolve his own style of beautiful and simplistic designs that are among some of my favourite of all time. Not only does he create amazing work for his clients, but also works tirelessly on his own impressive passion projects including Australian INfront, Expo and 2×4. Aistrope’s unique humour was well demonstrated throughout his speech with riotous drawings of himself and he sums up his career with the advice: “don’t be a dickhead.”
After enjoying a V.I.P. catered lunch with all the speakers, I was excited to listen to Sonny and Biddy from We Buy Your Kids. This dream team designs some of the best band posters and screen prints I have ever seen, which seems impossible from their tiny, cluttered apartment located above a sushi train restaurant. WBYK designs are instantly recognisable for their detailed illustrative work and hand drawn fonts. This dynamic duo has created original and unusually beautiful art for just about everyone and it was incredibly motivating to hear the explanation behind their methods of design.
Simon Wood, founder of Sneaker Freaker, has worked in just about every facet of design before finally settling on turning his passion of sneakers into an internationally coveted magazine. Issue one was produced in less than a week and only 3000 copies were printed. Flash forward to today where there are now SNKR FRKR offices in Moscow, Cologne and Barcelona and a client list including Nike, Adidas, Puma and New Balance. Originally starting the magazine because he wanted free shoes, Wood now gets to collaborate with the likes of Lacoste, Puma, New Balance and Asics. After giving the audience his ten top tips of career advice, which are pure gold, Wood summed up by telling us to “keep our laces loose.”
Magda Sayeg has knitted her way around the world, wrapping everything she sees in yarn. The phenomenon of Knitta has inspired people young and old to whip out their needles and colour the world with wool. After starting out by wrapping a humble door handle, Sayeg has encased fences, trees, cars and buses and has her sights on even bigger objects. Her idea of turning everyday items in beautiful pieces of artwork without impairing their functionality is truly remarkable.
Closing the event were Leonard Vernhet and Thomas Subreville from Ill-Studio. These quiet and well dressed Frenchmen literally had me at “bonjour.” After working for some time producing magazines, Vernhet and Subreville decided to launch Ill-Studio because they revel in the challenge of reinventing themselves with every new project. Ill-Studio produce explosive work unlike that of any other design studio and everyone from Louis Vuitton to Colette want to work with them. Vernhet and Subreville explained in detail how they approach each project from start to finish and how they aren’t afraid to use all kinds of references to enhance their designs and art direction. Being given pearls of Parisian wisdom was the perfect end to another successful Analogue/Digital creative conference.
The end of the conference marked the beginning of an entertaining after party as all the speakers and students converged to Sol Bar. Having drinks and rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best designers was a definite highlight and an opportunity not to be missed. Analogue/Digital continues to impress students with every new conference and I look forward to being inspired again at their next event at the Gold Coast sometime in October this year – that’s if last year is any indication to go by.
All images copyright Janneke Storm.