Earlier this year, Curious Productions became a proud sponsor of the Creative Circle Foundation (CCF). Along with other key industry organisations, we collectively assist students in disadvantaged circumstances to study advertising.
Savannah Finestone was helped by the CCF and tutored by the infamous Tony Cullingham of Watford College. She’s now completed her course, met her hero Trevor Robinson, secured a place at Mother London and is determined to make her Mum proud with her self-proclaimed weird and wacky ideas interspersed with some much missed humour.
We had 5 Curious minutes with Savannah…
How did you come across the CCF?
When I was applying to Watford. The Foundation had the same creative test you have to complete to get an interview for Watford. So, I completed my creative test and submitted my answers to both Tony Cullingham and the Foundation. I then had further correspondence with Jeremy Green directly to find out how the Foundation could help.
How has the CCF helped you?
They funded my Watford tuition, and without them I wouldn’t have been able to attend. They’ve put on invaluable workshops with industry greats and enabled me to meet some of my advertising heroes like Trevor Robinson and Peter Souter. To be mentored by great creatives like these, is a rare opportunity.
They have also provided myself and other students with resources like Awards annuals, Lurzer’s Archive magazines, photography books, stationary and heaps of other goodies that I would never be able to afford. All are great sources of inspiration and tools to help my creativity.
During your training, who has been your influence?
Tony Cullingham. He is a titan in this industry and has shaped me into the Creative I am today. Tough love is the name of the game but it works and you soon learn he’s got the biggest heart, really cares about the creatives he sends out into the industry and the work they make.
Mother and Wieden & Kennedy are the agencies which produce work which is matched to my personality and creative style so they are a big influence on my work and remind me to embrace my wacky ideas and style.
Also, Trevor Robinson who I’ve worked closely with, and have been mentored by, has been such a great influence. He gave me my first job and a spring board to jump into this industry headfirst. We are continuing to collaborate on future projects and he’s a great supporter of my ‘out-there’ ideas! Working with Trev is not work, it’s joyous! What’s not to love about chatting about wacky ideas, and delving into the truth of a big idea that has a true human connection to it?
What do you love about Advertising?
I get to come up with crazy ideas for a living which then becomes reality. I’ve found the perfect balance of my bananas personality, love of art, design and writing combined with problem solving. There’s no limit to creativity, and I am using my ideas to find creative solutions and make people laugh.
I also love that advertising has the power to change behaviour and influence culture. “You’ve been tangoed!” Is a perfect example! Creatives have their ideas seen by the world, and have the chance to make a change, and with advertising I have this opportunity.
Is there anything in the industry you would like to change, or anything you’d like to see more of?
I’d definitely love to see agencies being braver and going for more humour in their approaches. I think in these difficult times people have forgotten to have fun which is what this industry is about!
I love humour and weirdness. It’s what I aim for in all my work. John Heggarty said “fight for the stuff that doesn’t make sense”. And although I do believe logic makes creativity, when I see an advert that’s bizarre and a total assault on the senses, it’s so refreshing and a welcome break from the wallpaper! From Paul Arden’s series of abstract Silk Cut posters to all the Tango ads AND Flat Eric for Levi’s! A little yellow puppet as the guy’s best friend? Completely random but absolutely brilliant! The madness in the method!
What campaign/s made you want to work in advertising?
Water in Majorca Heineken advert. Had me in stitches, proper vintage gem of advertising. Saw it and knew this is what I need to do! Just pure simple genius!
How important do you think awards are to creatives?
This is tricky because I’m very competitive and the thought of winning awards spurs me on to do well. I like acknowledgement of my work, maybe that’s wrong of me to seek approval for my ideas but I think that’s human nature. I was always told to seek criticism, not praise as that’s how you improve but I’m my own worst critic and super hard on myself anyway, so when someone else appreciates what I do it’s a welcome boost. However, I remind myself not to get hung up on awards and the politics behind them. It’s easy to seek peer approval, but for me it’s more important what the general public think, and about how my work affects everyday lives, changes behaviour and culture. I want people to feel moved by something that I’m passionate about and have put my heart into making. I want to make work that my Mum is proud of too, that’s a huge factor!
Tell us about your art
I make sculptures of prawns and screen prints of tentacley creatures – as you do!
I love graphic design and especially 80s graphics. The use of clashing colours and shapes is right up my flamboyant street. Vintage Japanese graphic design is crazy brilliant! The artists have incredible imagination.
However, I do have eclectic taste and also love anatomical drawings, vintage school posters and am a sucker for embroidered artwork.
I wouldn’t say I have a defined style as my taste is constantly changing. I go through different phases of types of graphic design I’m drawn to, learn as much as I can and how to achieve my own interpretation, and then move on to my next project.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to run my own agency one day and make work that cuts through the norm, changes culture and has a touch of madness in every piece we create. Risk taking will be high priority!
I’ve also been working on illustrations for a children’s book and an adult comic book about mental health issues so watch this space.
But for now, I’m focusing on securing a job and making Mumma proud!