Thirty-five years ago, Richard Wilde launched the BFA Advertising and Graphic Design Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Today, he still is still chair running the program with enthusiasm and unparalleled leadership, recruiting the top industry talent as instructors to maintain the college's reputation as one of the best of its kind. He is nothing less than a living icon in the world of graphic design and advertising. So when Director Benita Raphan (SVA alumna) approached SUSPECT CD Hoon Chong (also SVA alumunus), to handle the open for, "The Wilde Ones", a documentary tribute for Wilde's 40-year anniversary at the school, he readily accepted. Raphan quickly expanded the offer to include all post and effects for the film.
The film is built around a series of interviews with some of Wilde's most accomplished professors and industry icons, including George Lois, Paula Scher, Carin Goldberg, James Victore, Paul Sahre, and Gail Anderson, extolling the enthusiasm, professionalism, consistency and brilliance that helped Richard build the school into one of the world's preeminent graphic design and advertising institutions.
But these testimonials don't stand alone, SUSPECT created a stunning and surreal graphical montage that is laced throughout the film, old photographs, countless samples of student work, and other artifacts that lend the narrative context, scope, and a sense of history.
"I would not want to work with anyone else in the industry for my graphics - SUSPECT is top notch, and the owners are the most generous and gracious people imaginable" stated Raphan, who has worked with Chong on three other projects, including Great Genius and Profound Stupidity, (with Merce Cunningham currently airing on The Sundance Channel), and The Critical Path (also on The Sundance Channel). "Hoon has impeccable taste and a great graphic sense. His team embraced the project with passion and dedication, and I cannot wait to work with them on my next project."
SUSPECT also handled the open and close, which featured extensive and elaborate stop-motion scenes shot on a Canon 5D MARK II and constructed of found objects, handmade props, and tin toys (part of Richard Wilde's personal collection) in honor of Wilde's playful nature, collection of antique toys and love of Outsider Art. They also crafted the name title cards. The stage, props and technology were all on hand for stop motion, research and test shoots.
"It was an incredible honor that Benita came to us and asked us to do graphic art for a film tribute to an industry legend," stated Hoon. "Benita was very open and gave us tremendous freedom, so we were able to truly tap into the awesome creativity and imagination of our staff. We played the role of students and only created with things we could borrow or find, making objects with our hands and only using computers to put the pieces together."
"Working on this film allowed us a glimpse 'behind the scenes' into the world of the very accomplished and talented faculty at the School of Visual Arts," noted SUSPECT Executive Producer Rob Appelblatt. "It is educators such as Richard Wilde and his fine department that are helping to nurture, refine and grow talent that will in turn define and shape the future of our exciting business. With a portion of our staff being alums from SVA it was nice to see this come full circle. It was an honor to be included in this tribute to great educators."
"The Wilde Ones" was shown at the School of Visual Arts as part of "The Wilde Years: 4 Decades of Shaping Visual Culture", an exhibit celebrating Wilde's 40 year career that was on display at the college's West 26th Street gallery in Manhattan, and is tentatively scheduled to be reprised the Art Directors Club in NYC in 2010. The film premiered at the AIGA, selected by Chapter President Drew Hodges, (SVA alumnus). Wilde's exhibition included the work of 125 graduates of the department and included magazine and book covers, subway ads, spots, music videos, and many other artifacts. Raphan is pushing it to film festivals, industry award shows, design museums and TV networks.