My Creative Life
Hogarth, Gehry and Brazilian pop: Ogilvy UK's André Laurentino on his creative inspirations
Ogilvy's CCO shares the three creative references he constantly returns to
22 September 2022
Artist: Paul Hogarth
Paul is a masterful artist, who was equally and beautifully at home with pencil, ink or watercolour. In his wonderful visual reportages through the US, we can see his commentary coming from a very British sensitivity. He also did many covers for Penguin from the 60s to the 90s. Most notably the full Shakespeare collection and all Graham Greene novels (he did a book with drawings of locations across the world where Greene’s novels are set). I love the elegance of his compositions, his wonderful blend of landscape and caricature and his unique line, which perfectly balances drama, wit and comedy.
By listing Paul Hogarth, I’m really cheating as I’ve included three items into one. Along with Paul, there’s Graham Greene and Penguin, of course. Greene’s dry voice can be heard from the very first sentence of any of his stories. We immediately travel to Greene land, a special place he carved for us, where cynicism lives hand in hand with faith and despair.
And then there’s Penguin, an unlikely blend of three of my passions: brands, design and literature. The size, weight and smell of a Penguin paperback say it all.
Song: Zumbi by Jorge Bem
Take this song as proxy for Brazilian pop music. The role pop music plays in Brazil is quite unique in that much of it works as a way to dissect the country. And, what’s more astonishing, to actually create it. Or create versions of it that are so tangible you mistake them for the real thing. Our music deals with it all: the obscene social divide, creativity and joy but also violence and racism, the contrasting dimensions of paradise and hell. And none of it has any trace of preachy lessons. It’s pop music, enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people! It’s a feat for any creative endeavour.
Jorge Bem, the singer songwriter who wrote Zumbi, was one of the first to put Brazil’s black African heritage centre stage. The impact was immediate. In Zumbi’s catchy melody and riff, he doesn’t spare us from the horrible stories of slavery, but also sings with pride about African nations, heroes and gods.
As Caetano Veloso, another big creative hero, sings in Língua: “Write a song whenever you have a great idea / It’s proven that German is the only lingo philosophy holds dear” (in my butchering and loose translation)
Architect: Frank Gehry
It’s always marvelled me how architects seem to enjoy such phenomenal creative freedom. Their budgets are gigantic, the work stays there forever whether it’s a failure or a hit and they change the face of cities.
Frank Gehry is an auteur more than an architect. His ideas are so close to art that some of his buildings are indeed sculptures (he once instructed a young member of his team about a model she’d just built for his 8 Spruce Street building: “You’ve done the folds with Michelangelo curves. I think they should be Bernini curves”).
The famous flowing nature of his Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum comes from his drawings of fish. His mindless fishy doodles made their way into multi-million-dollar buildings. It’s the ultimate creative leap, made possible by a complete mastery of technology, engineering — and trust. Respect.
Ogilvy's chief creative officer André Laurentino.
1/1Gehry's Walt Disney concert hall