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Creative Director Tony Finegan on his work for "Visuell", the Deutsche Bank Art Magazine

Visuell Cover, Issue #2

Beginning on April 30 2005, the 25th anniversary of the Deutsche Bank Collection will be celebrated with a very special exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim. 25 prominent "godfathers" will be presenting their favorite works from the collection at the anniversary, while Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, director of Deutsche Bank Art, will be introducing pioneering works and artists in the section "Curator’s Choice". For the first time, the exhibition space at the Deutsche Guggenheim will be expanded for the event and additional areas of the Deutsche Bank building at Unter den Linden integrated into the exhibition architecture. The bank succeeded in winning over the London-based star architect Zaha Hadid to design the show; she will be transforming the building into an art pathway. Accompanying the exhibition will be the third issue of Deutsche Bank’s art magazine "Visuell" featuring numerous articles and essays. At the same time, the magazine functions as a catalogue introducing the exhibition and the "godfathers" together with the works they have selected. The project also presents a challenge for the London-based design and media agency SPIN , which has been designing the English and German language magazine since Visuell’s very first issue. In an interview, Tony Finegan, SPIN’s Creative Director, talks about the magazine’s concept and history and explains why contemporary art inspires him more in his work than current trends in graphic design.

Visuell, Issue #2, doubel page design

How would you describe SPIN’s main creative concept?

Well, I think we’re about ideas. We’re really proud about coming up with appropriate and surprising ideas for the briefing session. We don’t know the answer before the client has asked the question. Graphically, we are quite systematic. We enjoy exploring language systems. We always try to find some idea or meaning in what we’re doing. Our work is often conceptual. We look more to art and artists than to our contemporaries in the design world. The original ways contemporary media are used and subverted by artists are exciting to us.

It isn’t only the way they visually represent their works, it’s more the conceptual side of things that stimulates us.

Visuell, Issue #2, exampel for typography design

You mentioned that contemporary art uses and subverts media. But isn’t it the other way around? Isn’t contemporary art subverted by design, fashion, and the advertising industry?

What I really mean with subvert is "stretch", the way contemporary art takes things and puts them in another context.

Modell Epic, Model design for Nike

Do you see your work as artistic in the same way?

No, I don’t. That’s actually a difficult question. I’ve thought a lot about that and I haven’t got an answer for it. When we have a commission to achieve a certain end, we’d like to think that it has a certain amount of artistry in it. Primarily, we try to come up with an innovative and interesting solution for a client. But when we come across a new and interesting medium, we experiment in an artistic way. Four years ago, for instance, we started working with television. At first we created something that was a pure personal expression. We did a bit of filming, made some motion graphics – not for the client, but just for us. This is part of our concept. I don’t know what to call it. I don’t know if it’s art, because I don’t see myself as an artist. While the artist is looking to express himself, we have a client. Our view is far more pragmatic.

CI and Poster for Whitechapel Gallery

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