Meet Jonathan Kneebone...
Introduce your creative group.
The Glue Society is a creative collective with artists, writers and directors working out of our studios in Sydney and New York. The group includes film directors Gary Freedman and Matt Devine, artist/directors James Dive, Paul Bruty and Peter Baker along with writer/directors Luke Crethar and myself. We work on a project basis on agency or brand commissions. Our creative work includes commercial direction, experiential brand projects, broadcast and brand-funded entertainment, in addition to self-funded sculpture and art exhibitions.
What are you currently working on?
We recently directed one of the films for the Bombay Sapphire Imagination series via Gravity Road, and are collaborating on an art film project with Wieden and Kennedy New York for Gap. The six part sketch horror series we wrote and directed, “Watch With Mother”, is about to premiere on Australian TV channel, SBS, following its initial release as an App. We have just curated an exhibition of our GayTM artwroks for ANZ Bank via their agency Whybin/TBWA Melbourne, following its win of the Outdoor Grand Prix at Cannes this year. And we are the featured artist exhibiting at Sydney’s premier art festival, Art & About, this coming month.
What work are you most proud of?
Over the past 16 years, different projects actually have different rewards. However, the projects which have steered us into new territories tend to be the ones we are most proud of. The book ”Knowledge Keeps Like Fish” was the inspiration for establishing The Glue Society. Canal+ “March of Emperors” via BETC Euro RSCG, was the first international project we directed. Creating the “Don’t Call Jason Donovan” campaign for Virgin Mobile via Host revealed what integrated advertising could achieve. Directing Gamekillers for Axe Dry via BBH New York is still to this day one of the better examples of brand funded entertainment that has been done. And from an artistic perspective, the God’s Eye View series (where biblical events are brought to life with satellite imagery) is one that resonates. Its global presence showed the impact that the internet can have as an exhibition space for art.
What work from our Archive makes you think ‘I wish I’d done that’?
I think the examples of work which make you truly impressed are the ones where someone’s personal creativity reveals itself in an almost absolute form. There are times when someone just seems to put everything of themselves into their work. Personally, I’d also say when the work challenges the status quo and moves the world forward it also makes the creative work electrifying and memorable. Dunlop ‘Tested for the Unexpected’ had an extraordinary impact for both of these reasons. It was Tom (Carty), Walter (Campbell) and Tony (Kaye) on fire shaking up what advertising could be. For similar reasons I’d include the Benetton outdoor campaign. Its brilliance lay in the way it redefined how brands used their advertising budgets, not just in its creativity.
What’s the best advice you’ve received during your career?
I’ve been lucky enough to have many brilliant mentors. I was at The School of Communication Arts under John Gillard. And as part of that experience, I had John Salmon as a tutor. Paul Arden also came to the college on a weekly basis. And in my career I’ve had Tony Brignull, Steve Henry and Axel Chaldecott as Creative Directors. Each has had an undoubted influence and impact. John Gillard taught me how to think – literally how to use my brain to solve a problem – and explained that if you were going to communicate you had to put the audience first. John Salmon said if you want to be a writer, start by telling people that’s what you do for a living. If you don’t believe it yourself, no-one else will. Paul Arden made me realise that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of your idea, it’s what you think that matters. You need to work out what you want to say. And find a way to express that. Tony Brignull proved to me that saying less was always more effective. And Steve and Axel said don’t try to write an original strapline, invent something totally new that doesn’t even have a strapline. Other than that, the lesson I’ve most valuably learned over our time with Glue Soicety is that it is far better to be, not say.