Art director Joe Joiner retells “the most humbling moments” of his career so far
The London-based art director and creative director discusses the importance of ideas in his multi-disciplinary practice.
- Jyni Ong
- 31 January 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
“I like to consider myself as enabling possibility,” Joe Joiner tells It’s Nice That on the various amalgamation of creative things he contributes to the world. Describing himself as a “sector-fluid, multi-disciplined creative thinker” (and yes, he knows it sounds ridiculous), Joe’s practice is an example of the multi-hyphenate careers out there today. His previous art and direction talents have led him to work on the likes of Bricks magazine, where he brings an assortment of ideas to the forefront of his practice.
Concept is the key to any project in Joe’s mind, and though visual beautification may be a plus, it’s the focus on ideas that has allowed the London-based art director to work on such a vast array of projects. Having worked across pretty much all fields of the creative industry so far, Joe’s versatility can be traced back to his time at school: “I always say it was the first studio I ever worked at,” he adds. Early on, he realised he could “survive by using [his] creative thinking to [his] advantage,” recalling how he could sell anything from illustrated car stickers, to tracksuits out of a holdall. He would add custom graffiti or lettering to anyone’s hat or sneakers for the right price, and became somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades, from the Maths classroom to Geography.
Looking back on that time retrospectively, Joe remembers: “I’d become addicted to the flavour of surprise and how my creations made other people feel.” This alternative form of creative expressed “saved” Joe from an unsavoury lifestyle that was also readily available to him in Newham, and in this way, Joe explains: “Design wasn’t something I chose to do one day just because it was cool, design was a necessity.” Expanding his ideation and building on a love of typography, with a self-taught arts education, Joe went onto study graphic design at Chelsea College of Art where, incidentally, he’s also been teaching on a part time basis for the past three years.
Recently, Joe and stylist Kieron Watts have started collaborating on a new initiative, Area Gen, where the pair embark on editorially-led projects together. Providing creative services “that dance around the realms of fashion and luxury products,” Joe and Kieron attempt to provide brands with an alternative output to what is expected. Their first project saw them art direct a campaign for fashion designer Robert Newman and creatively direct another for Liam Hodges and Ellesse.
Regarding the latter, Joe became obsessed with the idea of submerging products in ice to denote solidified moments in time. Putting products to the test in compromised conditions, Joe says of the project, “I wanted it to feel like they’d been discovered and archived after falling out of a dark, icy corner of space.” They also introduced a character, who tries to hack away at the ice blocks in an attempt to get ahold of the collection to save himself from subzero conditions. After the idea was given the nod, Joe and Kieron managed to get hold of three huge blocks of ice to submerge the products in. It took a week to freeze each block.
“We had no shoot space, so we begged the ice company to let us shoot in their -15 degree walk-in freezer workshops which made the shoot look amazingly raw, industrial and moody,” says Joe. Bringing on Joshua Osborne to capture the raw energy of this makeshift shoot, together, they adapted the space with suitable lighting, editing and so on, to transform this mammoth sized freezer shoot into a high end campaign. Considering all they managed to achieve on next to no budget, Joe recalls the project as “the most humbling moments of my career so far,” crediting the hard work, passion and effort of everyone who contributed to the shoot. “The network is invaluable,” ends Joe.
Joe Joiner: Bricks magazine
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.