As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia brings you “One Under 30” – a special feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world, one person at a time.
This week we feature Sayok Ray, senior art director from DDB Mudra Group, South, who told us he got his start in the ad world after a casual foray into making music posters, that quickly caught on with friends and then the media.
“Started making music posters with literally no crafting skills,” said Ray. “The purpose was to customize my phone wallpaper and be boastful about this newly found knowledge. The surprising part was that people around me started really liking my designs. After a lot of persuasion from friends and a headful of doubt, I posted a bunch of the posters online.”
Name: Sayok Ray
Agency: DDB Mudra Group, South
Position: Senior Art Director
Hometown: Kolkata, India
Current Location: Bangalore, India
Education: B.Sc. (Statistics); St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai (2012); Masters in Mass. Comm; SIMC, Pune (2014)
After completing my Masters, I was so sure of everything I didn’t want to do that I ran out of things I wanted to do. While I lurked around in the search for an ideal job, I stumbled upon a YouTube video where a man was photoshopping his boss’s head on a monkey’s body. I had never seen such craftsmanship before. Inspiration, aspiration, and exclamation.
All of it hit me like a bus and left me like roadkill. But, enlightened roadkill. Ever since then, Photoshop lessons were a must every week, from that weird acquaintance who lived down the road, in his dingy attic room.
Started making music posters with literally no crafting skills. The purpose was to customize my phone wallpaper and be boastful about this newly found knowledge. The surprising part was that people around me started really liking my designs. After a lot of persuasion from friends and a headful of doubt, I posted a bunch of the posters online.
“We take ourselves a bit too seriously in this industry. With time I have realized that if we take a few steps back and halt for a while, nothing falls apart. Things will fall into place eventually.”
Within three weeks, Buzzfeed published two separate articles on my work. In the next month, there were about 10 different interviews and many more showcases. Even before I could really grasp what was happening, I got a call from Grey Bombay to work there as a junior designer.
That is where I started. With way too many questions and literally no idea about the advertising industry. It has been 5 years since, but it still feels like yesterday.
One thing that keeps me going, through the toughest times, is the pure joy and love for creation. The act of creating something out of nothing somewhere puts the craving for a purpose at peace.
“When you are working for a brand, you become the brand. You tell your story as that brand.”
When you create, you’re giving birth to something new which did not exist previously. I find that extremely surreal.
The call of the mountains and others are cool, but have you ever heard a Fender string croon on Mayer’s finger at 3 a.m. while it is raining outside? One of the greatest artists of our time. The sheer magical power to evoke emotions just by arranging some sounds in a pattern. How can one single human being possess such power is unimaginable.
When you are working for a brand, you become the brand. You tell your story as that brand. That fact that your story is influencing millions of people and their lifestyle, is a lot to fathom. Hopefully, I am doing it right.
We take ourselves a bit too seriously in this industry. With time I have realized that if we take a few steps back and halt for a while, nothing falls apart. Things will fall into place eventually. When art becomes a scheduled form (insert *deadlines and all other industry jargon *), the aesthetic and emotions of the work take a major hit.
Even though they are not brand related, but just the joy of creating them to tell my side of the story gives me an immense sense of pride. End of the day, we are all protagonists of our own stories and luckily, I get to share that with the world in the most beautiful way.
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"O mighty John, how doth thee bendeth thy fingers so well on the fretboard. I have cometh to seeketh thy answer." @johnmayer @johnmayersolos #illustration #artwork #painting #digitalart #photoshop #sketch #johnmayer #heartbreakwarefare #artistsoninstagram #picame #digitalillustration #brush #fanart #music
Launching ‘Glance Lockfeed’ in 2019. The aim of the campaign was to launch and spread awareness about this innovative new mobile application which turns your phone’s lock screen into a content platform.
This was one of the projects that was very close to me. This phone feature has the potential to change the way we look at mobile devices completely. The challenge was to find a particular tone for the brand so that it appeals to every strata of society. India, being a vastly diverse country, every region is uniquely different from the other. Finding the communication sweet spot that grabbed the attention of every group was a delight.
Tanishq Great Diamond Sale campaign was about telling a Story through an age-old print medium in the world of digital campaigns. It was a challenge but the joy of creating something new and finding the right balance of minimalism to showcase the heavily embroidered jewelry was worth it.
Music production. As a person, I always try to create impossible universes in my head. A peaceful place where reality is suspended. I would love to take people with me there and share that experience. It’s one of a kind.
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