SweetTalkNYC Review

This past Saturday, the folks from CANDY, staged the first ever US event for their SweetTalk conference series. The premise of the conference’s are to bring together some of the…


This past Saturday, the folks from CANDY, staged the first ever US event for their SweetTalk conference series. The premise of the conference’s are to bring together some of the world’s foremost creatives to present their work and talk about their inspiration and process. This time they brought together BrenB (illustrator), Elisabeth Arkhipoff (artist,designer), Michael Gillette(artist, illustrator), Michael C. Place of Build(Graphic designer), Timothy Saccenti(photographer), Dalek(artist), and Glen E. Friedman(photographer).

While some of the presenters admitted it’s difficult to verbalize their work and creative process, the presentations were all inspiring. It was nice to see the diverse range of expression from BrenB’s comic art based on his own experiences to Timothy Saccenti who showed his process for creating and staging complex commercial photo shoots. I also took note of some parallels of the use of hand craft with PSFK conference presenters Laurie Rosenwald and Scott Cambell. Glen Friedman spoke extensively on what he sees as a diminishing of quality of craft when it comes to photography. He cited the explosion of the number of magazines and how a lot of space in them is just filled with poor photography. For those that missed out, I offer some highlights from each speaker.

BrenB: Influenced by British comics, Woody Allen, Laurel and Hardy, and Monte Python. He bases a lot of his work around his own experiences or experiences he imagines himself having. A long running theme in his work is the quest for happiness that usually ends in unfilled relationships. He has also done a series on imaginary people that live in his home town of Dublin, Ireland for the local newspaper.

Elisabeth Arkhipoff
: French artist and designer who has produced video’s for M83, Japanther, print-work for Anna Sui, and album covers for Tahiti 80. She uses a lot of traditional collage techniques in the creation of her dreamy imagery.

Michael Gillette: inspiring example of someone who got good, realized he was getting ‘classified’ and continually changed his work to avoid being pigeonholed. He lived with the Aphex Twin for a time, worked extensively for Saint Etienne and produced the artwork for the Beastie Boys 5 Boroughs album. Michael also produced a lot of work for Levi’s including t-shirt designs and store graphics. The thread of pop art and pop culture can be seen throughout his many different styles of painting.

Michael C. Place/Build
: I predict he’ll be an icon of graphic design. Michael spent 10 years as one of the core members of The Designers Republic before breaking out on his own. Michael’s style varies between hyper organized layouts and fluid organic illustrations. All very modern. He recently completed a full identity program for soon to open TypeShop HK, which will be similar to Magma in the UK. He’s also contributed print work to the new documentary Helvetica. He began his presentation with a slide show of his studio. Turns out 50% of the employees are hairless cats.

Timothy Saccenti
: Began creating abstract photographs using electricity. He transitioned to more portrait work, photographing a lot of musicians(most electronic producers). He’s done a lot of work for Warp records including developing the concept for the new video and creating the album art for the Battles. He strives to create ‘photoshoped’ looking images in the camera with out using the software.

Dalek: Born into a military family and went to high school in Japan. Originally studied Sociology and Anthropology but discovered Art History. Got interested in skateboarding and graffiti. Admitted he was never a good letter graffiti artist so he focused on characters instead. Began painting to exchange canvasses with other graffiti artists. Cites Walt Disney(the man) as a personal hero. His most recognizable character is the robot space monkey.

Glen E. Friedman: Started taking pictures of the Dog Town skaters. Had his first photo published at the age of 14 in Skateboarder magazine with a camera he borrowed. Said he had to take good photos to be able to hang out with the older skaters otherwise he’d get beaten up. He shot a lot of the early hip hop artists like Public Enemy, Ice-t, and the Beastie Boys. Also shot a lot of punk bands. His next book will be a extensive collection of all his photos of the band Fugazi. He said that people no longer take the time to hone their craft. He sees a lot of filler photography in magazines these days and lamented on a time when publications were fewer and the quality was more important.

We’ve got a flickr gallery up with more photo’s from the front row. See it here.

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