Writer-director and image-maker Johnny Hardstaff has worked with some of the world’s most famous brands – Audi, Gucci, Philips, Ferrari and Smirnoff – and exhibited in some of the world’s most prestigious creative institutions – Tate Modern, MOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Laforet in Tokyo, the ICA, the V&A.
Hardstaff’s body of work focuses on three distinct areas: performance, technical challenges and meticulous art direction. From writing and directing multiple films for the Cannes Gold winning Prometheus marketing campaign (including the hugely successful Michael Fassbender ‘DAVID’ film) for Ridley Scott, and ‘DarkRoom’ for the Cannes winning Philips ‘Parallel Lines’ project, to his literary and photographic testament to individuality in his Catalog Dreams series, Johnny treads the line between art and commerce.
Johnny says – “Forbid an artistic child growing up in the early 1980’s from watching commercial television and a career as an advertising film director seems like an inevitability. Parental disapproval simply heightened the appeal. Stolen late night glimpses of Jean-Paul Goude’s (Grace Jones) Citroen ad or Ridley’s ’Share the Fantasy’ Chanel spots burnt themselves into my imagination. Advertising as entertainment; that’s what I understood, transporting the viewer into transcendent moments and new dreams.
Far from seeing advertising filmmaking as a conduit I see it as an end in itself. A sublime game to keep playing. The technologies and the approaches change, the visual language always developing but each and every time the ambition remains the same: Genius filmmaking. Short visions. Craft. Quality. Class. Small masterpieces each very different to the last. Immersive worlds. Flights of the imagination and above all else, pure and simple fun.”