my creative life
Surrealist literature, reciting MAYA and rockstars: Lucas Peon on his creative loves
The Gate's chief creative officer reflects on the references that inspire him endlessly
24 November 2022
It’s hard to tell what shapes your creative style. Because every minute in your life shapes it. But, yes, it’s true, some things do shape it more than others.
In general, I’m excited by so much around me. I’ve always been excited with brands communicating. I still remember logos, ads, signs, posters from when I was little. And how attracted I was to them. I’ve always been attracted by visuals with minimum copy, by how with so few elements, they make you feel so much. The power of connecting just a few elements to provoke new feelings has never stopped fascinating me.
French Surrealist Literature of the 1920’s
That’s why I fell early on for the French Surrealist Literature of the 1920’s. I still fall for it just about every day. I can’t get enough of what Louis Aragon, André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, or Char, or Desnos wrote back then. They connected words and concepts in illogical ways, to make you feel stories that would be impossible to experience without freeing yourself from rational judgement. They were masters at connecting disparate elements to create something new. Masters at getting you to feel. Every day in advertising I use what they stood for, what they believed in, and what they achieved, as inspiration.
1/1Magritte's Pipe is the epitome of surrealism
Philosophy: Raymond Loewy’s MAYA approach
I think you learn just as much from excitement as you do from disappointment. And communicating things that people don’t get is the most disappointing feeling. We communicate to evoke something. When it doesn’t land, you feel horrible, it hurts. Luckily, I discovered this feeling very early on as well, going through film school, trying to create messages that were way more complicated than they needed to be. That’s why when I ran into Raymond Loewy’s work and his MAYA approach, it was direct impact. A big bang that reverberated in my head for decades. And it still guides me now. MAYA. Most Advanced Yet Acceptable. The intersection of new with familiar. It’s the bullseye we should aim for on every campaign.
1/1Raymond Loewy and the MAYA Principle
Rockstar: Jim Morrison
We are in the business of getting our clients noticed. If we create anything, it must stand out. Advertising campaigns need to be like frontmen from rock bands. Shooting stars. Make the news. Leave their mark. Jim Morrison from The Doors, to me, is the ultimate rock and roll frontman. He happens to sing most of my favourite songs, like Break On Through To The Other Side or Wild Child. He always wrapped surprising points inside moving stories that he told in unforgettable ways. He described what being a frontman was much better than I ever could. He said: “I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps ‘Oh look at that!’ Then- whoosh, and I'm gone...and they'll never see anything like it ever again... and they won't be able to forget me- ever.” That’s how I’d like our campaigns to feel.
1/1Jim Morrison of The Doors, 1969. CBS/GETTY IMAGES
Lucas Peon is chief creative officer at The Gate.