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Alex Bogusky: Artist, Activist

DENVER, CO -- thaloTV visits his Fearless Cottage to examine how art can stir social passions.

Alex Bogusky’s commitment to following his artistic passions is illustrated by the fact that he abandoned a leisurely life of windsurfing in Hawaii to combine his talent for art direction and graphic design with his interest in social issues. First, he took a trip through the corporate advertising agency world, and then eventually joined his friend Chuck Porter in his inventive firm, Crispin Porter (now Crispin Porter + Bogusky or CPB). That development launched Bogusky into more innovative social marketing work aligned with his artistic and social impulses. While there, he and his colleagues pioneered campaigns to promote awareness about important issues and products. They had spectacular success with the “Truth” anti-tobacco advertising campaign, and later, the “SUV backlash” campaign on behalf of BMW’s Mini-Cooper.

Those breakthroughs were fulfilling for Bogusky, because they allowed him to use his art to actually make a difference on things he passionately believed in.

“ ‘Truth’ is, to this day, still the most successful social marketing campaign of all time,” he recently told thaloTV during a visit to his new creative enclave—the Fearless Cottage in Boulder, Colorado. “The thing about pop culture is that, although it seems massive and difficult for a group of people to change it, that is actually pop culture’s job—to change things. Pop culture is always looking for the next thing.”

And art, he suggests, is a crucial tool in pushing the culture toward newer, better things.

“A lot of art goes into creative campaigns [so they can be socially influential],” he suggests. “You have illustrations and photography—there is a massive amount of that particular art in advertising. And then there is cinematography, editing, which I think is an art, and sound, music, sound design. As a creative director, you are trying to bring all those things together.”

And bringing things together using art—“the tool of creativity,” in Bogusky’s opinion—is what he is all about. That is why, in 2010, he left the mainstream advertising world to launch Fearless Cottage, a boutique studio geared toward exploring, using, and changing relationships between people, brands, and modern culture through advertising and branding. The effort has made him an activist for healthier foods, consumer rights, global warming awareness, and much more. He believes art can and should be a primary instrument in explaining these issues to consumers in ways that grab their attention and stirs their passions.

You can learn more about Bogusky’s story from part 1 of his thaloTV interview below.

To learn even more about his work at Fearless Cottage from part 2 of the thaloTV interview, click here.

video credit: thaloTV