David James is like an invisible force. He moves along quietly and discreetly but leaves an indelible mark behind. He is like an earthquake miles below the sea, and his work is the tsunami that hits the shores. He likes it this way. His ideas have defined a generation and even his early work has a timeless quality that feels relevant and evocative at the same time. David James is Prada’s Creative Director, he has been heading up their ad campaigns for nearly a decade, each of them slick and artistic with the power to catch the attention of the beholder and draw the eye in, even though these are ads, in todays day and age, where consumers easily flick over the pages, unengaged and bored by the familiar, fast forwarding the programms, or simply blocking pop-ups, David James is creating ads to linger over, to ponder, to observe.
His career over the last 22 years has seen him work with fashion industry giants as well as dance acts, artists and fashion magazines. His layouts, often stark and bold, often give a surreal quality to his work. My personal favourites are the Another Magazine shoots, where the imagery is distinctly more provocative and expressive than that of his work for Prada or Miu Miu, however this is not say that his work for those brands is less important. David James has set the standards for fashion advertising today. He blurred the lines between fashion photography and art. His images don’t just speak to every woman who has aspirational fantasies whilst clutching a glossy lifestyle magazine, his images speak freely to anyone perusing the pages.
He uses image as language, and text as image, and in doing so creates truly beautiful art, accessible by all and designed for advertising…..a skill that has demonstrated the power of advertising, not as a catalyst for consumerism, but as an art form in it’s own right; Now that is a skill all ad agencies should learn to master.
To check out David James’s online exhibition visit www.davidjames-outofprint.co.uk accesible online until mid May.