Labs Life: Introducing Anton Artemenkov
We like to give our readers an insight into the inner workings of Sutherland Labs. This time we catch a glimpse of the man behind the scenes. The Creative Director of the London Labs, Anton Artemenkov!
What does a creative director do?
Anton: I head up the Creative Services, our team’s time is split between working on UX design projects and content creation with an emphasis on storytelling. We make videos, animations, and visual design to help tell the story of products and services that companies are developing and promoting.
Some days I can tell my son “Papa sketched a storyboard today” or “Papa talked to someone about an app” but most of the time what I do is a bit like a chef in the kitchen… I come up with the vision and figure out the flavour and ingredients we need, then pull together the team who ultimately do the actual cooking. I’m heavily reliant on the talents of other people in the ‘kitchen’ and so collaboration is the key.
Usually people come to me because they want to create something. Often, they don’t know exactly what they want, or they have an idea that’s half baked. They may have an end outcome in mind, but struggle with articulating it. I read an article recently on the FilmSupply blog where they had a brilliant quote: “Other than the beginning, the middle and the end are the hardest parts.”
I like to think that I’m pretty good at taking people from a very ambiguous ‘beginning’, taking them through the creative process to clarifying their intention and then coming up with the ‘middle and end’ to deliver a finished piece of work.
What did you do before you came to Sutherland?
Anton: When I was growing up I really wanted to be a real estate agent… no, just kidding. I desperately wanted to be a filmmaker – I must have read every book in the library on the topic and made lots of home movies using our family camcorder. So there’s a box full embarrassing material somewhere in storage!
I studied Creative Advertising in Canada, but unlike my fellow students, I never went to work for the big agencies, instead I apprenticed in a TV studio as it seemed more fun at the time, and then moved to London where I fell into studio photography for about 12 years, winning Photographer of the Year twice before eventually transitioning to Art Directing for 6 years and now Creative Direction.
What inspires you?
Anton: One of the most satisfying side projects that I have ever taken on was starting the Photographers Dining Club, which is now a regular event, where we host photography talks over dinner. Its built up into a bit of a creative community – which is important for making new connections and exchanging of ideas.
I also obsessively collect independent photography books from smaller publishers or self-published creators, and I’m in the process of making a short video series called Analogue Tribes – all about analogue photographers trying to survive in an all-digital world. We have made 2 so far and the 3rd one is in post-production.
My biggest inspiration has always been other people’s work and projects. Sometimes I discover them by accident, like recently, I stumbled on the work of Alexa Meade by looking at someone’s Instagram feed. She creates ‘living art’ and had a pretty cool installation at Cannes.
I also follow people like Elon Musk. His ‘projects’ are on a whole different level. His ability to undertake these massive challenges, like creating a human settlement on Mars and then setting a plan to execute it, is very inspiring. He’s breaking all sorts of ground and reshaping the idea of what is possible for humanity to achieve.
Will Anton get to go and live on Mars? Will Analogue Tribes convince people that SD cards aren’t as cool as Polaroid cameras? Will we ever find the cardboard box full of his embarrassing childhood memories? We are working on that last one. Come back for another instalment of ‘Labs Life’ to find out these answers and more!