How did you begin working at ad agency KesselsKramer? When I was eighteen and completing my first year at university, I found out about KesselsKramer and immediately fell in love with its work. I applied for internships, but always without luck, until I graduated and was offered an internship at KesselsKramer’s Los Angeles office. I went on to work in the Amsterdam office, which is located in a church, for a few years, and since 2017, I’ve been based at the London office. I’m happy to say that I’m the only one who has gotten to work at all three offices, which are very different from each other but still share the same positive energy.
Your sound installation Toto Forever is set in the Namib desert. What inspiration do you draw from Namibia? I grew up in Namibia, a country in southern Africa, and my entire family still lives there. Every time I’m back home, I try to do a project that’s inspired by the surroundings. Living in Namibia is the exact opposite of living in London. For example, it’s the second least densely populated country in the world and home to the oldest desert. However, through the internet and social media, all African countries are just as connected to current pop culture as any other country, and I’m always intrigued by making projects that are inspired by pop culture, like playing Toto’s song “Africa” in Africa on a never-ending loop.
How does pop culture feed your work? I’m very interested in seeing what influences big masses of people. I love the absurdity that often comes with how, in less than a day, the entire world starts throwing buckets of ice over themselves or starts kicking caps off bottles.
You recently directed a hilarious music video for Sigrid’s single “Mine Right Now.” Did you need to learn any new skills? After a month of preparing, we spent a week in the mountains of Bulgaria, building our sets. The night before the shoot, we were told that Sigrid wouldn’t be able to make it due to cancelled flights. At this point, we could’ve called it a day and gone home, but I put way too much time and energy into the shoot to just give up. So, we decided that I would replace Sigrid in her video.
During the shoot, a whole lot more went wrong. It seemed as if the whole shoot was cursed, but it forced me to learn a lot of new skills, like singing for starters. The thing I’m most self-conscious about is singing; I never go to karaoke nights. But, I ended up performing in front of a crew of 40 people for two days straight. I also learned a few dance moves, but most importantly, I learned to always stay flexible.
You never know what will happen during a project. There’s always something that will go wrong or something that will be different from what you had in mind. But, instead of giving up, learn to adapt to the circumstances and make the best of what you have to work with. The end result may be better than what you planned to do in the first place.
You also cofounded the fine art photography magazine Ordinary. What excites you about indie magazines today? What I love about indie publishing is that it’s become ridiculously easy and affordable to design, publish and distribute your own publication, which means that people take much bigger risks with the content and stories. Indie magazines seem more creative as they’re less reliant on big advertisers, and most of these publications are more of passion projects, which is what you see when you flick through the pages.
Your work encompasses advertising, photography, publishing, filmmaking and design. How do you keep all of your skills sharp? It helps to jump from one discipline to the next. It constantly keeps you on your toes, and you can always view the different disciplines with fresh eyes and from an outsider’s point of view, something that’s harder to do if you only work in film or design all the time.
How do you balance humor and intelligence in your work? With a horse on a unicycle.