Sunday, April 25, 2010

Memories of Art Directing and how I got there.

Long ago when a I was a twenty-something I lived in poverty in NYC. It was a nice poverty tho. Why? Because I lived in a pre-war sixteen story elevator building on the Upper West Side right off of Central Park West. (Fanny Brice lived in my building...cooowilll). Right off of Central Park. It was my side yard.

I was quite lucky to find this apartment, and came very close to living in the YMCA (which I can tell you is a good incentive to keep looking for an apartment). I found this apartment through an advert at FIT. FIT was where I was to begin post-grad work in fashion design (it should have been fashion illustration as that was where I excelled). I snatched it up on the spot. Location, location, location. I loved and still love that area to pieces.

But I needed a job to live there and did not want to be a poor student.

Fast forward....

I was not cut out for fashion design. And illustration was at best a limited endeavor.

So I changed gears and moved from the fashion world to the advertising world. I liked it... especially the art and copy part.
I went to night school while I worked as an assistant for a big ad firm. I studied and created art campaigns and learned copy writing.

And I could walk to work!!

Eventually, I made my way up to art directing. But what I didn't realize is that art directing is not simply coming up with images and matching them with the art. NO, THE REAL JOB is stated below.

What much of it is is quality control which brings the final art to production for print/film.

This involves checking and fixing and finalizing proofs for :

Text Placement
Type with Image Choice
Copy Proofing

Now, imagine doing this on several different projects at once. And imagine the client saying they want changes and more changes and more changes and it is due tomorrow at the 9:00 AM meeting. Because the client is in town and is leaving the next day at 10:00. The big client.

And the typesetter (this is before computers) is all flustered with the little window he has to get the job done. And the printer can't possibly squeeze your most important job in this week.

No one appreciates the art director.

But without them you get no results. Or poor ones at best.

And who wants poor results?

Not I.

I miss those days. Central Park at my feet, walking to work, working as an art director. Making things happen.

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