Artist and entrepreneur Justin Gignac speaks about the idea envy, the themes in his work, and his rewarding spin on QR codes.
Justin Gignac will be one of the speakers at our upcoming PSFK CONFERENCE NY 2011. Justin is a New York City based artist and entrepreneur. A recovering advertising art director, he’s cultivated his own brand of nonsense with projects like NYC Garbage, Wants for Sale, Nudes of Chatroulette and QRapping Paper. In anticipation of the conference, we bring you a few thoughts from Justin:
There are consistent themes of humor, oddity and interaction in your work. What other themes do you feel are essential to, or consistent in your projects?
In order for me to pursue something it needs to be smart and simple. Like most people, I have dozens of ideas written down that I’d love to do, but the ones that nag at me the most to pursue are simple at their core. NYC Garbage, Wants for Sale, Blindfolded Gift Wrapping and a gold-plated security tag are simple, pure ideas. It should be able to be explained in a sentence.
With most of my work there’s a focus on contradictions, where I play with the balance of high brow and low brow. Whether it’s selling garbage for $100 or taking a cheap security tag and elevating to a piece of high-end jewelry, I leverage that contrast to play with peoples’ perceptions of value.
What other projects are currently influencing your work?
I’m most influenced by the raging idea envy I get from seeing great ideas. It’s a very powerful motivator to get me off my ass and try to make something great. Christoph Niemann’s Abstract City illustrations for The Times Magazine, Nick van Woert’s playful, stalactite-esque sculptural work, and almost everything I see from Ji Lee and the gang at Google Creative Lab makes me insanely jealous. They’re all people who’s work frequently has me thinking, “F*******CK!!!! I wishI thought of that!”
Where do you find inspiration outside of your industry?
Being in New York City it’s impossible not to be inspired. I can count on being truly surprised at least once a day. I wish I could give back to this city as much as it gives me.
What emerging trend, idea, or technology are you excited to incorporate into your work in the future?
I love the element of surprise that comes with QR codes, but too often the user isn’t rewarded with something that validates the effort. That’s why I was excited to do QRapping Paper last holiday season with codes that led to over 50 unique videos. We’re starting to see 2D barcodes everywhere but most just lead to a crappy website. There’s a lot more that can be done to keep people excited about the technology and willing to interact with it.