Simon Wilms is a young art director based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Simon has already worked on a number of high profile advertising assignments, with an interesting range of artists and organisations. The coolest projects I’ve worked on so far would have to be; helping create an intro animation for a TEDx talk and assisting in the design of a boat that was built inside a museum.
Simon realised he wanted to be an art director and work in advertising while visiting and walking on a muddy slope along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. The thought came from nowhere and now, 3 years later, I'm sitting in an advertising agency working as an art director.
As an art director, you lead and drive teams of artists and designers to produce a collective creative outcome. Directing a team towards a unified creative result is an exciting challenge. Individual artists and designers have their own ideas and styles, but in the context of an advertising or production agency these ideas and styles need to be considered, integrated and brought together to achieve ‘bigger’ creative outcomes.
I would say the main attribute to have as an art director is to be curious about the world around you. You have to be able to understand people on a daily basis and curiosity definitely helps with that. You also need to be motivated and ready for ups and downs in terms of employment and workflow. And you obviously need to like creative work. And if you love it, it'll make your job so much more fun.
It’s great being in the advertising industry, but I also have a personal artistic practice. I love creating unique visual experiences. It's hard for me to pinpoint where my inspiration comes from. I find inspiration everywhere - visiting museums, nature, travel, being on the street and my social world. These experiences inspire in me a range of creative responses and reflections. As an art director you work for others, but when I do my own artwork (even if in collaboration with other artists) it’s a different process. I don’t need to compromise to suit a commercial goal and I can be truly free in my expression. I also make music videos and I love to animate to music. I’m currently collaborating with some musicians where I’m able to use their music in my videos. I love how you can mix sounds, shapes and motion to create a unique, one of a kind experience.
We have a big art community in Gothenburg and there are plenty of interesting places to visit. A favourite place of mine is called "Röda Sten" which translates to red rock. It's a rectangular brick building located in the harbour, under a bridge. It’s an exhibition hall, a restaurant and bar, a creative hub, and it also hosts concerts and clubs sometimes. Outdoors you can do legal graffiti. Be sure to check it out if you visit Gothenburg. Another place to visit is a gallery called Tomassen, It’s a small place with super cool exhibitions from a wide range of artists.
As a young artist... you have many opportunities, which can sometimes be overwhelming. It can also take some time to find your niche. In Sweden, I would say that it's fairly easy to start an artistic path in life, but to stay on that path and make your living, you have to have a lot of determination and passion for what you want to do.
Photo of Simon: St. Petersburg Russia, by Yulia Gadalina