Cliff Lewis started his early career in advertising at Lowe Howard - Spink in London. Subsequently, he spent many years at BBH lucky to be working alongside and learning from some of the most talented and smartest people in the business. In 2005 he moved to BBH in New York, helping to grow the agency and establish a real creative presence in the US.
In 2009 Cliff moved a few blocks north to a young and ambitious Droga5 where today he is Director of Art Production, leading a team of Producers working across all media for some of the world's most exciting brands and projects.
1. What was your very first job?
My first real job was as the Assistant Recording Engineer at Island Records, Basing Street Studios in London.
2. Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.
My role as Director of Art Production is simple really. I want to elevate ideas. My team and I are excited by the world at large, the possibilities, the artists, the pioneers, taking a chance.
3. How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today?
From very early on, I was always interested in the visual arts and music. Growing up in London during a time of profound creativity and renewal just fueled that longing to follow an artistic path. I kind of stumbled into advertising and was lucky enough to learn from the giants of the industry. Truly blessed by fate.
4. In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
Curiosity. On all channels, I'm open to new sounds, new directions, new talent and I think I'm able to filter what is valuable and what is not. And having a young teenage son who's into music and film can be surprisingly nourishing.
5. If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be?
Difficult to pick one example, so here are two.
Early on in my career, as a Junior Producer working in London, we wanted to do something surprising and we approached who we considered to be the five most famous photographers in the world at the time. At that point, advertising was kind of insular and reaching into the fine art, documentary and high fashion world was rare. To my surprise and delight, they agreed and we shot a breathtaking body of work. Very different and incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. This early experience taught me that it's important to be ambitious creatively. in fact, it's critical.
The second example is the marriage of tech and analogue. In 2010, we launched a book by literally exploding every page into the real physical world in beautifully creative and innovative ways. In parallel, we had to create and develop an online game, releasing clues and asking people to find the pages in order put the book back together again. The project was a feat of creative genius, invention and production insanity. It was a choreographed dance between analogue and digital. Exquisite.