Relentless Creative Reinvention
Ash K Halliburton is an Art Director, Creative Producer & Director based in London, working primarily in brand communication, social content and campaigns. Her work ranges from creative direction and art direction, to set build and full production.
With a career spanning across the creative spectrum, Ash has been both the person in front of the lens and the one behind the scenes. Kicking off her career as a model, she combined her passion for art and fashion to further delve into production, art direction, scouting to name a few. Her work is infused with a creative spark which she keeps reigniting with every brief that lands on her hands. Her clients include Nowness, Vogue Japan and Czechoslovakia, L’Officiel among others.
We asked her a couple of questions and she offered her thoughts.
Fabrik: Your career spans the fashion and visual industry from various positions. Can you talk about your professional transitions and how they happened?
Ash K Halliburton: "WELL, this could take a while. My roles are still ever changing and blending. At the moment I am involved in a start up e-commerce, A start up disruptive spacial project, a possible agency... and then everything else.
I started as a model when I was 19, and whilst growing up in Newcastle, there was never a point when someone said, 'oh you should work in fashion, do creative direction, work with artists… etc etc'. I was told I could be a secretary. I am dyslexic and a terrible writer. So, on set I was watching everyone wondering what they were doing… when I quit modeling I started as a production assistant, dipping my toes into everything until I eventually settled on art direction. I studied Technical effects for performance at UAL, it was heavily focused on prop making but I was designing the entire concept of the script.
I wish I had studied film, but maybe a bit too far gone now! It has taken to being in my 30's that I realise I can make a career from being involved in different areas, more like a 'studio', it never gets boring, I just have to choose my projects, and teams, wisely, and possibly find another pair of hands/person to team up with!"
Fabrik: Your work transcends styles and attitudes going from playfully surreal to refreshingly accessible and honest - may I say bare. Would you like to tell us more about your source of inspiration?
Ash K Halliburton: "To be honest a lot of my work, I get briefed and have to fulfil the brief. When I am involved in the creative of the project it generally goes down the surreal, tongue-in-cheek route. Since being in the creative industry for so long it has to be fun for me to do. Fashion, especially, can be so serious, people spend their time trying to fulfil others expectations. If you find your toaster inspiring then so be it. If it's not fun don’t do it.
I would say my inspiration comes from nostalgia, bus journeys, folklore, old wives tales, expressions, discrimination, art, people, travel... the list goes on.
Growing up in a mining town, Northerners, there is a very 'no shits given' attitude, which has inspired the more surreal stuff.m. My dad would think some of my work is ridiculous, which makes me want to do it more."
"Fashion, especially, can be so serious, people spend their time trying to fulfil others expectations. If you find your toaster inspiring then so be it. If it's not fun don’t do it."
Fabrik: You have worked with some of the most influential editions, actively shaping the way we perceive fashion, gender and style. Have you ever had any difficulties pushing your creative and artistic approach to clients?
Ash K Halliburton: "I think clients always think they know best, when actually they have no idea what they want. I can pitch something along the lines of EXACTLY what they asked for and they say.. 'we want to do this as an extension on last years campaign... but completely different' which cracks me up.
If you are working for a client you have to compromise, fulfil their vision, but if their vision really doesn’t align with mine, I have in the past suggested other people to make their dreams come true! For example, I will not shoot fur. This has caused some friction in editorials, but I will stand by it."
Fabrik: Would you like to offer a little bit more insight on the creative process?
Ash K Halliburton: "FURIOUS RESEARCH, and scrolling through an endless screenshot/photo library. Trying to locate that ONE picture from when I was 17. Normally speak to client, speak to producer, laugh with producer about what they want for their budget... I’m kidding.
I try to work with producer and client on the brief, and be open and honest about what's achievable in the time and with the budget that's been given. A lot of image exchange and late night chats... basically."
"If you are working for a client you have to compromise, fulfil their vision, but if their vision really doesn’t align with mine, I have in the past suggested other people to make their dreams come true!"
Fabrik: Any interesting or fun anecdotes from your time working on projects, or from the reception of your work?
Ash K Halliburton: "I was asked to design a giant furry vagina that you could climb inside. I asked if it was more of a cubby hole, a sofa space, or a shed. I meant it, these things are important if people are going to be 'in' them."
Fabrik: Is there any piece of work, be it a film, a song, a painting, that has left you with a lasting impression or any mentors you have encountered throughout the span of your career? Or any work you admire, but it’s not yours?
Ash K Halliburton: "My tutor at university who stuck up for me - Jess Bugg. I was designing experiential concepts whilst at uni before experiential became a thing. One tutor said 'I don’t get it', 'you will never make any money'... and Jess chimed in and said, 'I get it, please keep going'. Jess was studying a PHD in The Body in performance. I loved her lectures, she made me feel normal, inspired and excited. It's just a shame the other tutor was so closed-minded.
I remember one lecture about a piece by Jess, she put various people of various backgrounds in a feathered 'piece' and filmed the way they reacted to wearing the piece. Everyone reacted very differently; dancing, swaying, shuffling... all based on their backgrounds and history. A reminder that we all see things differently."
Fabrik: What are your plans for the future? Do you have any project that you’re currently working?
Ash K Halliburton: "I am currently working on a few, but have two treatments for films that I hope to make in early 2019. I am also working with two inspiring young women, on a fashion film based around science, which is pretty exciting to be honest!"
Fabrik: Any advice you’d like to impart on your craft to art directors, creative producers?
Ash K Halliburton: "Understand that you are just as important as everyone else on set, it's hard work, it's very physical, but it is worth it when you get the 'thank you' from the client."
Fabrik: Final question: What do you like most about Fabrik? What's your favourite feature?
Ash K Halliburton: "I can upload a multitude of projects. It's all very self-explanatory, takes me a few moments to update my website!"
Ash is using Canvas, a feed-style theme featuring a sidebar and layout options aimed at providing more control over the placement of text and images. A great choice for portfolios that require images to be displayed uncropped or in portrait format.