Coca-Cola Pop Art Gallery: Micha Klein, Pioneer of the Digital Image Culture

Micha Klein graduated from the Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, in 1989 as the first artist to receive a BA in computer graphics. The same year, Klein started exhibiting his gigantic photographic panels in prestigious galleries around the world.

Klein was already known as a successful VJ and experienced a breakthrough on the international club scene before he made it as an artist. Pioneer of the VJ-scene, Micha Klein introduced his rhythmic editing of computer graphics and video images at the first Acid house parties in 1988. In the nineties, he introduced the VJ concept in Ibiza, where he held a residency in legendary club Pacha. The rest of the world would follow fast. Over the years, Klein has seen how things have technically evolved and how the VJ-scene has boomed: “The new equipment and software create new possibilities. We live in a multimedia age, so we can’t live on music alone anymore. Visuals will become an integral part of electronic culture, and in the future DJ’s will become Media Jockey’s” (note: with this 90’s quote, Micha proved to be a real visionary – anno 2008, the age of the Media Jockey has begun with tools as the Pioneer SVM 1000).

In 1998, the Groninger Museum honored him with a retrospective dedicated to 10 years of his graphic production and videos. In 2003, Klein was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the international VJ scene during the AVIT UK summit.

Klein’s artworks are a significant crossover between art, multimedia, video art, VJing, marketing and advertising. They attract attention for their digital approach, surrealistic shapes & objects and bright colors and tell stories of a world that revisits pop art and culture. Klein doesn’t portray reality; he likes to create his own reality.
With his computer manipulated images and psychedelic computer palette, Klein explores the media based culture of our time. He mixes music, club culture, fashion, beauty and mass media to create a wondrous universe somewhere between dream and reality.

The people and landscapes in his artworks are just too beautiful & perfect. They appear unreal, even unearthly. In his series ‘Artificial Beauty’ (1998), Klein generated a new fictitious generation of beautiful young people, taking over the top the all too perfect beings and settings we encounter in advertisements.
By doing so, Klein also shows that today’s photography has no more to do with reality than other types of images. Even the most stunning models are given a Photoshop make-over. The end result is highly artificial, and comments on the aspects of society that Klein finds fascinating yet problematic such as artificial beauty and plastic surgery.

The aesthetics of advertising and elements of everyday and popular culture have always been an integrated element Klein’s art, and he brings everything that is usable over from this world. In true pop art tradition, Micha Klein is a big but critical fan of the techniques and concepts of advertising. Just like Damien Hirst, Klein believes that art must compete with commercial and spectacular expressions: “My work must be as seductive as advertising and entertainment. If not, it loses its visibility in a culture saturated by media, constantly bombarding us with commercial messages. Since these messages have become part of the mainstream culture, it is vital that artists especially can infiltrate this culture with their subversive ideas.”

Over the last years, Micha Klein has worked in clubs around the world and collaborated with superstar DJ Tiësto on visuals for his live-sets and created background projections for Eminem’s concert tour, based on his notorious character Pillman. Klein also did all the artworks for the Dutch dance festival Mysteryland, designed the animations for Jacky Chan’s ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ movie and did commercial work for companies and brands as Swatch, Philips, Endemol, KPN, Mustang Jeans, Heineken, Hugo Boss and Samsung.

For his first Coca-Cola commercial, Micha Klein managed to put in a girl in a ‘Make Love, Not War’ T-shirt (just before the 2nd Gulf war), a boy wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt the war and girls licking each others faces. The video with music by Monte La Rue, introducing Coca-Cola’s new visual identity by Desgrippes Gobé, was sold to 25 Coca-Cola markets, a lot in Central and South America.

Klein’s commercial jobs and his works of art have a number of parallels in form & content: “It’s fun to stretch the image of a company in directions they never would imagine, to sort of pile your own layer of meaning on top of theirs, to inject some of my own ideas”.
Klein always tries to inject some of his own ideas in his commercial work. “I try to talk to the client and tell them they should transform their strategy to become a ‘good company’, to be closer to their consumers and do community projects. Give back to the people… I think in the future companies will be judged on that”.
By doing commercial assignments, Klein can finance his own art, and is not dependent on government subsidies, which gives him more freedom.

The music & club culture is still a key component in Klein’s work; at times he prefers the unceremonious gathering at clubs to the seriousness of galleries or museums.
For the Coca-Cola commercial “Bubble Dream Girl”, Klein could combine his passion for dance floors and advertising. The clip was shot in Malaga on 35mm, with a 50 people crew and 80 extras. Graphics & special effects were added in post production and his friend Tiësto did the soundtrack.

Last year (2007), ‘Speeding on the Virtual Highway’, a documentary about Micha Klein’s life & work was shown at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Director Corinne van Egeraat follows Klein as he works on his his new art series. This unique time document shows us how fast digital developments go and how quickly the times they are a-changin’, especially in the case of Klein’s creative way of living.

Coca-Cola = A Soda Pop, a Strong Idea, Part of Global Economies & Cultures, a Trusted Friend, a Personal Brand

Dan Schawbel posted this very interesting interview with Jerry Wilson, senior vice president at The Coca-Cola Company on his Personal Branding blog.
As an executive for the N°1 brand in the world, Wilson shares his vision about brand development and personal branding.

“Coca-Cola personifies authenticity, life’s simple pleasures and optimism. We learned many years ago, during the New Coke launch, that our brand Coca-Cola is actually “owned” by our consumers all around the world, not the corporation”. Jerry Wilson

Wilson joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1988. His background includes general management, brand marketing, strategic planning, customer management and people development.
Recently, Jerry wrote a book called “Managing Brand You: 7 Steps to Creating Your Most Successful Self.”

Coca-Cola Friendship Cards

Limited edition of Coca-Cola postcards.
Great design & a wonderful message.

Perfect Harmony

Togetherness – feeling connected to your family and friends, a community and the planet is the first step to tear down the barriers between cultures.
Deep down inside, we are all social creatures who find our greatest fulfillment and happiness when we are connected in positive ways to the people that surrounds us. Perhaps this is our real goal: to feel good about our lives and share this feeling of happiness with others.

In the 21st century global community, lives all over the planet intertwine more than ever through communication technology and the travel democracy. If nowadays generation is taught that our interpersonal, cultural differences are a rich heritage, a tribute to the unique character of our species, they will enthusiastically embrace diversity.

In many ways, we could say that ‘Coca-Cola’ has always embraced this idea: make the world a little bit better by passing on happiness by building understanding of and appreciation for the differences in human beliefs and cultures. By fostering the sense that, in the most profound way, we are all one family, the human family.

No wonder that ‘Coca-Cola’’s ‘Hilltop’ spot was one of the most successful TVCs ever produced. Its huge success can not be explained simply because the images were appealing and the tune catchy, but because the message taps into a profound, human longing for community.

Here you can see the original Coca-Cola Hilltop commercial: I’d like to teach the world to sing.

 


Hilltop – Coke Art Remix by Pixecute


Hilltop – Coke Art Remix by 013a

*** HILLTOP – BEHIND THE SCENES***

* Hilltop” is the first historical ad ever to be restored in High Definition (HD). It can still be viewed by the public as it was donated to the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2000.

* The international cast included actors from more than 20 countries.

* The opening scene was shot at a horse racetrack outside of Rome forcing unusual camera angles during the opening scene as the director tried to avoid having telephone wires in the background of the shots; the rest of the commercial was shot on the hilltop.

* Within 10 days of the U.S. release of “Hilltop,” The Coca-Cola Company received 10,000 letters from consumers thanking the Company for the message in the ad. Consumers also called television stations asking when the commercial was scheduled to air.

* The song “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” was written in less than 24 hours.

* The cast did not actualy sing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” but rather lip-synced to a New Seekers recording.

* “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” has been recorded and released more than 75 times since 1971. It’s most recent appearance on the top 40 charts was in a song performed by British tribute band No Way Sis’ in 1998. Four years earlier, Oasis used the song as inspiration for their hitsingle “Shakermaker”.

Source: The Coca-Cola Press Center

  • Calendar

    • August 2017
      M T W T F S S
      « Nov    
       123456
      78910111213
      14151617181920
      21222324252627
      28293031  
  • Search