All posts tagged jeffstaple

Introducing interTrend’s new Executive Creative Director, Jeffrey Ng (a.k.a. jeffstaple)

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

Last week at the Psychic Temple, Jeffrey Ng was formally introduced to the staff of interTrend as the creative agency’s new Executive Creative Director. I asked Jeff (a.k.a. jeffstaple of Staple Pigeon, Staple Design, and Reed Space) and the Long Beach-based group’s CEO and co-founder Julia Huang to talk about the hire, how it happened, and why they are excited about it.

iT: Julia, Jeff is a bold choice for Executive Creative Director of an Asian advertising agency. Can you describe what he brings to the team?
JH: My friend John Jay at GX (Wieden+Kennedy) once said to me that a great Creative Director makes those around him or her better and lifts the collective bar of excellence through inspiration. It’s never about the ego or creating a great individual portfolio. Jeff fits that bill rather nicely.

iT: Did you have to convince Jeff that he was right for the job or was it vice versa? None of the above?
JH: The funny thing is, I’ve known Jeff for several years and we have worked on different projects together but never for interTrend. A couple of months ago, we had a discussion creativity in advertising is so different now. Something clicked and the conversation organically flowed to how he could take on the role of Executive Creative Director for interTrend.

iT: What does his accepting the position say about what interTrend has evolved into and where it’s going?
JH: Multicultural marketing has evolved into something very different from when I started the company. Asian American advertising and marketing, even more so. Reaching the target market for our clients is still very important from a return-on-investment standpoint. But we are focusing more and more on cultural influence of Asian Americans. As Jeff quoted our mutual friend Dave Choe in his kick-off presentation: “This is the absolute best f*cking time to be Asian!”

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

iT: Jeff, I love how you cited the ascendance of Asians around the world as your prime reason for taking the gig. What’s your take on interTrend’s relationship with Asian culture in America?
JN: I really think they’ve been paving the road—perhaps unknowingly. I’ve never spoken with Julia about this, but I would imagine she saw a necessity in the marketplace and she realized she could fulfill it. The original necessity was that there was a need for U.S.-based companies to communicate effectively with Asians. As time has progressed, that messaging has needed to be more and more sophisticated. In my opinion, Asians are very often at the pinnacle forefront of almost every facet of culture. We are in a very enviable position. As a company or brand, it’s no longer “You should communicate to Asians.” Now it’s “You must communicate with Asians—and it better be damn good.”

iT: Is there anything about your career trajectory that makes the timing right on your side as well?
JN: I have founded three incredible companies and have a team of 35 people, mostly in New York City. We have a menswear collection (Staple Pigeon), a boutique creative agency (Staple Design), and a lifestyle retail concept (Reed Space). In some way, I feel that I’ve reached a very comfortable position in all these industries. There’s still more to do, but I think with my guidance the team will get us there. Now I’m really interested in doing things that move the needle. So I want to apply my learnings from the past 20 years to making things shake, rattle, and roll in the mainstream.

iT: Julia, I’m sure you’ve considered that more conservative clients may not “get” Jeff’s body of work. What is your response to that notion?
JN: The kind of pedigree clients or advertising agencies are looking for in an Executive Creative Director, while still important, is not the priority anymore. Consumers are looking for authenticity in brand messages and Jeff gets it.  And I’m confident that clients will understand that he gets it, too. Through his many successful businesses, Jeff has always understood the pulse of what’s happening in the world of culture.

iT: Jeff, as a guy whose business and client work have always seemed very personal, how do you feel about taking on a mass-market audience?
JN: It may seem like my work has been tied to me personally, but I’ve always had the ability to separate emotions from the reality of doing business. I think the thing I have been deliberate about is being “authentic.” That’s either authentic to the project, to the client, to the consumer, or, ideally, all of the above.

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

iT: What are some of interTrend’s recent campaigns that you are a fan of? Why, and what would you like to do more of?
JN: Interestingly enough, the most impressive campaigns have been the in-house ones. The summer internship and the Psychic Temple poster campaign were standouts. This tells me a lot. Our clients need to allow us to spread our wings and show them more of what our capabilities are. This isn’t their problem, though—this is our problem. It’s an inability on our part to showcase our skills or instill a level of confidence. I don’t expect this to happen overnight, but I do think a major goal of mine is to push that boundary as far as possible.

iT: I’m pretty sure I’ve heard you say that New York City is the greatest place on Earth. Is there anything about Long Beach that you look forward to being around more often?
JN: Clean air, sunny skies, and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.

iT: Julia, when the office moves into the Psychic Temple, what do you think about employee uniforms/work wear by Staple?
JH: To be honest, with so many birds residing in and around the Psychic Temple we just need to be careful that our everyday outfits don’t get stained by the famous Staple pigeons above!

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levi Maestro and jeffstaple at the Art Theatre

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This afternoon, Imprint Culture Lab presented a conversation with Levi Maestro at the Art Theatre in Long Beach. Moderated by Imprint’s own jeffstaple and speaking to an intimate crowd of 100, Levi described how he came to realize the dream of making an influential online video show about the culture that he loves.

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While the Arizona transplant’s story is couched in the new media and streetwear trends of Los Angeles, its themes are quite traditional: staying focused, making sacrifices, believing in one’s self.

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Following the talk, Levi and jeffstaple stuck around to speak to provide a unique mentorship clinic for five attendees. Very cool.

levi3For more engagements and opportunities, follow Imprint at www.facebook.com/imprintculturelab.

Long Beach: Work in Progress

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interTrend’s sister company Imprint always explores the most interesting topics: next-level media, up-and-coming technology, the origins of streetwear, architecture for humans and pets. Its upcoming conference will address a topic that is very near and dear and pertinent to both of the businesses.

Anyone who follows our Psychic Temple blog, which details the history, construction, and surrounding culture of interTrend and Imprint’s future creative space, knows that the companies will be moving from a corporate high rise to Downtown Long Beach’s second oldest commercial building. We are not only investing in the neighborhood but visibly changing the landscape and driving local business and accelerating the culture as well.

Long Beach: Work in Progress is part of our efforts to not only be present in the community that we have set our roots in but celebrate and grow it. The conference will revisit the city through the lenses of architecture (authors Cara Mullio and Jennifer M. Volland on Case Study House architect Edward A. Killingsworth), food (Los Angeles Times writer Jonathan Gold), music (members of T.S.O.L., The Vandals, and Dengue Fever), and skateboarding (pro Chad Tim Tim, ex-pro Justin Reynolds, cinematographer Ricki Bedenbaugh, and shoe designer Paul Kwon) and discuss ways that individuals, businesses, and artists can nurture genuine culture, share it, and benefit everyone.

The event will take place one week from today (Friday, April 26) at the historic Edison Theatre and interest not only Long Beach residents but anyone who wants to celebrate and grow their hometowns. Check out the Imprint 2013 webpage for more information as well as a link for ticketing. We hope to see you there.

Twentieth Anniversary Tenugui (2 of 2)


Have you received your interTrend twentieth anniversary tenugui yet? To commemorate 20 years of evolution and achievement, the agency has created a special collection of 10 tengui-inspired handkerchiefs. Having previously blogged photos of five artists and their contributions, I finally rounded up images of the remaining participants with their pieces. Above: Deth P. Sun at the L.A. Art Book Fair and Susie Ghahremani in her San Diego backyard.

Above: Allister Lee in his Toronto studio and jeffstaple somewhere around the world in front of his laptop. Below: Prodip Leung in his Hong Kong home studio. The final image shows the inside of the tenugui wrapping, which includes a brief manifesto and short biographies of artists, including the five contributors previously blogged: Sophia Chang, Miran Kim, Stella Lai, Monkmus, and Qingnian Tang.

The traditional Japanese cloths serve numerous functions (bandanas, wipes, kendo) but are also used as decoration, made as souvenirs, and given as gifts–as in this case. I hope one works its way toward you.

Twentienth Anniversary Tenugui (1 of 2)

The pieces have come together for interTrend’s twentieth anniversary tenugui project. The patterns and images were provided by some of our favorite artists and designers, and I took photos when I was able to hand-deliver samples and sets to them. Above: Miran Kim, Monkmus, Sophia Chang. Below: Qingnian Tang, Stella Lai.

The final picture shows how they’re being packaged. Perhaps I’ll show the interior of the wrapping paper in a future post, after I receive photos from the other five contributors (Allister Lee, Deth P. Sun, jeffstaple, Prodip Leung, Susie Ghahremani). In the meantime, look for the pieces to leak out to friends, family, clients, and crew…

Tenugui project preview

To commemorate 20 years of evolution and achievement, interTrend has curated a special collection of 10 tenugui-inspired handkerchiefs. The traditional Japanese cloths serve numerous functions (bandanas, wipes, kendo) but are also used as decoration, made as souvenirs, and given as gifts.

About six months ago, we invited some of our favorite contributors, colleagues, and just plain cool artists to join our project, which was intended to match the vintage form with an open-ended theme involving East meets West, old meets new, and the evolution of culture.

Last week, we received samples from our printer. They look amazing (colors are a little off in the pic), and we can’t wait to share the pieces with our family and friends.

The artists, to whom we are very grateful, include (top row) Allister Lee, Qingniang Tang, jeffstaple, Stella Lai, (middle row) Miran Kim, Monkmus, Prodip Leung, Sophia Chang, (bottom row) Deth P. Sun, and Susie Ghahremani.