In celebration of their near 20 year artistic history together, Droga5 commissioned Danny Clinch to shoot Nas for the latest Hennessy campaign. One moment captured on stage has since become a 174′ x 54′ billboard, a new staple in the Times Square ad-scape.
We interviewed Art Director, Alex Nowak to find out more about the campaign and his creative experience working with Danny.
Why did you choose Danny for the Hennessy campaign?
Danny is one of my favorite photographers, who is very experienced with shooting musicians on and off-stage. When Hennessy signed NAS for their new campaign, my first thought was Danny Clinch. In addition to that, Danny’s aesthetic fits really well with Hennessy’s campaign look and there was an even a bigger story behind this special project: Danny shot the cover of NAS’ first album “Illmatic” back in 1994. Bringing this two guys back together again after almost 20 years is just great and shows how much influence both artists have in their industry. From a first photo shoot in Queensbridge housing projects in Brooklyn to a massive billboard on Times Square. It doesn’t get any better than that.
How would you describe the process of working together?
Danny and I had a great time in London. We had a couple of work sessions thinking about arrangements and shots we wanted to cover. Because of his experience shooting musicians on big stages, Danny seemed to be very relaxed about it. The client felt very comfortable and had no doubts that we would end up with a selection of great, unique shots. What can I say: We got all the shots we were looking for and more.
What are five words that come to mind when you think of Danny Clinch?
Passion, Funny, Humble, Talent and Brazilian Rosewood (inside joke)
How was the final billboard image selected?
The Times Square billboard is a massive, extreme vertical format, so after looking through our selects, it felt right to choose one were we see NAS standing. We ended up with a shot of him while performing on stage. But instead of seeing him singing, holding his mic tight , we wanted to show him in a moment of silence, thinking of where and when he started 20 years ago to now performing in the O2 arena in London, where 20,000 people are moving to every, well-known beat of his. I think it’s a great shot, which documents NAS’ great achievement.
What is your first creative memory?
Trying to keep up in beat with Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” on my little, flashy drum set. I was 4 years old and watched MTV all day long.