“Art direction lets me take my creativity to other places, allowing me to work in many disciplines at the same time,” says David Méndez Alonso. On a day to day basis, David collaborates with a number of creative talents. From photographers, stylists, producers and so on, David gathers together several medias, then translates them through art direction. “I like being able to adapt my ideas into larger projects,” he says on the matter. “It’s very difficult to evolve if you work in the same format, context, or if you’re always using the same tools.” But with art direction, the discipline allows creatives like David to express themselves throughout every aspect of the process.
For David, who is involved in every part of the process – from selecting models, to contacting collaborators and location scouting – the multifaceted role of the art director lends itself well to his interests in fashion, space and image making. “I like being in the middle of many aspects,” he adds. “I have always thought that intruders manage to stir up aesthetics and alternative ways of working,” and with David’s background in plastic arts, he constantly strives towards any opportunity to differentiate.
While graphic design “works with containment and elimination”, art direction, for the long-term Lazy Oaf collaborator, provides that sweet spot between such restrictions and the chaos and spontaneity of art. The partnership began two years ago, when David created the artwork for an early campaign, and on finding that they shared many of the same aesthetic references and tastes, the collaboration has continued ever since. “I feel fortunate that they trust me to be able to recreate their fantasies,” he says on his dreamlike visualisations that, in my opinion, have made me obsessed with all things Lazy Oaf.
Fabricating a colourful universe for the playful brand (which is just as much a personal dream for David as much as it is work) in his latest campaign for the London-based fashion label, he unleashes the inner child inside us all. For its latest campaign, showcasing Lazy Oaf’s pleasingly nostalgic collaboration with Mr. Men, he adopted a process of “unlearning” as much as possible in an attempt to revert back to his most authentic self. In short, he goes on to say, “Lazy Oaf’s clients are adults who have never grown up, and I belong to those children.”
As a long-time Mr. Men fan (much like many of us at It’s Nice That), the welcome commission felt like it had “fallen from heaven”. After receiving a mood board filled with references of photos and spatial design, David went onto work his magic, making the most of the charming illustrations that pepper the garments.
Treating the Mr. Men characters with the respect that they so rightly deserve, he then created a space to shoot the garments in, reflecting the innocence and spontaneity of Mr. Men throughout the shoot. The real challenge however, came when building the Mr. Men world in 2D, but artfully problem solving the task to feature 2-dimensional on-set props, the project eventually came to life. And on top of all this fun, David also gets the opportunity to work manually with his hands to deliver the crafty essence of all Lazy Oaf campaign; another source of joy for the lucky art director.