Oyl Miller has one of the best Pinterest pages out there, with boards his 1 million and growing followers can spend hours clicking through, because he has dug up such great finds in posters, paintings, typography and Tokyo lifestyle treats. So after digging through Oyl’s Pinterest, we dug up some information and found out his real name is Andrew, he lives in Tokyo and works as a creative for Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo with clients like Nike, PlayStation, Sony, Nikon, Delta Airlines and Google. Overall, Oyl Miller intrigued us with his online presence and his creativity screamed at us, so we reached to him and it resulted in this insightful interview we featured below.
What type of creative are you? I’m the type of creative that is uncomfortable with job titles. I’m a copywriter at the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. I love writing, but I also love art direction and am fascinated by the creative potential of the current digital landscape. I feel like anything is possible. I like the basic idea of solving problems with creativity. And I like knowing there is a great variety of tools you can use to do that. I’m interested in using them all.
What advertising project have you worked on that you felt a personal connection to? I worked on a campaign for Nike called New Beginnings. It was one of the first pieces of communication to come out in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. We shot sequences with dozens of Japanese athletes, both pro and amateur, and it was inspiring to be on set and feel the optimism and spirit of everyone involved. It was not business as usual. The cast, crew and everyone involved wanted to do what they could to make something uplifting and show the simple joys of sport in a very difficult time. I will never forget that project. NIKE: NEW BEGINNINGS -
Do you have any staple trademarks a viewer could find in all your work? It hasn’t been a conscious thing, but if you look at my work you will find a lot of faces and facial expressions. I did a campaign for PlayStation called Playfaces. And one for Nike called Free Face. I’ve also illustrated the faces of some pro basketball and football players for Nike over the years. I am really inspired by Andy Warhol and what he did with his screen tests and also his printed pieces. I’m very interested in what the pop art of our era could be.
What is a tool you find essential to your creative process? I’m sure a lot of creatives would say this, but I feel uncomfortable if I’m more than an arm’s reach away from my Moleskin sketchbook and iPad. I use the iPad to update my blogs and make music. There are other times when I just need to scribble something out and put pen to paper. I use my Moleskin for brainstorming, writing stream of consciousness and sketching out visuals.
At what time of day do you come up with the best ideas? I find magic in late night diners and cafes. Early morning also works pretty well for me. I use the working hours of the day to put together the things I thought of after hours.
You have an amazing Pinterest that you take a lot of time to update, so thanks for that!! What pin has the most repins? My top five repins are all photos of Michael Jordan. I’m an Air Jordan freak from way back, so I’m always stumbling across great photos of His Airness. They all have over 300 repins. Mohammed Ali also gets a lot of love on Pinterest.
Which of your Pinterest boards do you feel is the most impressive? My Sports board has hundreds of my favorite players and moments on it. I love looking through what I’ve found and remembering classic games. I also love my Film board. It’s got a lot of behind the scenes stuff from my favorite directors like Kubrik, Speilberg and Fincher.
What is overrated culturally right now? Counting stuff. The new social currency is literally how many followers you have, how many YouTube views you can get. Those certainly sometimes matter, but if you only focus on that, you will get caught in the trap of only focusing on how to please people. Chasing views alone limits creativity and originality because you only approach things in terms of what has already worked. Go create an untested format. Do what you love. Who knows, you may end up creating the next thing that everyone else scrambles to imitate.
What is underrated? Production value. A lot of people and brands see social media as an excuse to stop trying. They think it’s some kind of automated machine that will bring you millions of connections on a conveyor belt. They think they can have bots tweet and let unpaid interns run their Facebook pages. This kind of thinking produces crap. Kids are still impressed when you try to do something special. Care about how you light things. Care about editing. Care about the craft and quality of what you’re feeding into these new platforms. It will take patience and actual effort, but quality still matters and will yield the best results.
Who is a mentor of yours? How? Why? Susan Hoffman was my creative director for a year when I was in Wieden+Kennedy 12, a school inside of the Portland headquarters. Susan opened my mind to what advertising could be at its very best. She showed me advertising could be art. It could be punk rock. It could be anything you wanted to personally express. She also forced me to focus. Event though I love lots of things, she hammered into me the idea of doing my best at one thing at a time. Susan’s work on Nike and other brands over the years has created some damn memorable advertising. Also – John Jay is the founder of the Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo office and took a chance on me. He said he appreciated my creative multi-tasking and personal projects. I’m inspired by John because he came from outside of advertising after having created a name for himself in the fashion world. He understands the value of fresh, outsider perspectives. He knows how to make a brand sing in beautifully unexpected ways. John’s work in Tokyo fused sport with street culture in a way I haven’t seen before or since.
What inspires you about living in Toyko? Tokyo is an incredibly well designed city. The artistic vibe of the place is insane. I feel like I am speed reading pop culture when I walk down its crowded sidewalks. Every alley is filled with inspiration. A lot of up and coming creators doing their thing. Pulling references out of thin air and just committing to concepts 100%. Tokyo is the most visually advanced place I’ve ever been. I try to soak as much as I can in every day and report a little of what I find on my blog.
Tell us a story behind your favorite project: A couple of years ago I wrote a poem called ‘Tweet’ which was a tribute to Allen Ginsberg’s classic poem ‘Howl.’ I tried to put a contemporary twist on it to specifically deal with our generation’s social media addiction. The poem was published in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and got a great reception. But the best part came a few months later when I was contacted directly by Allen Ginsberg’s Estate and asked if I would give them permission to run my ‘Howl’ tribute on the official Allen Ginsberg blog! I was honored and felt like things came full circle. I continue to explore the possibilities with that piece and recently collaborated with Portland filmmaker Joe Aimonetti to create a short film based on the poem.
What is the best advice you have been given that you find yourself constantly giving to others? My dad sometimes says ‘You can stay the same or you can get worse or you can get better.’ I am always inspired by the idea that improvement is a choice. If you want to get better at something, take action that increases your chances of improving. It’s a simple but powerful thought.
What is your spirit animal? I love wolves.