Justin Gignac at PSFK Talks NYC Garbage and Ideas
Posted by Eric Floresca on May 12th, 2011
Justin Gignac (@justingignac) is a recovering Advertising Art Director and a current NYC-based artist/entrepreneur who recently spoke about his art at the PSFK Conference in New York City. Justin, like most agency folk, is an idea guy who said that he wanted to make his ideas happen and that in advertising he spent more time “talking about them, focus grouping them, over analyzing them and then killing them.” So he decided to quit his job and take a shot at turning his ideas into reality and art.
Justin is an idea hoarder, and his criteria for figuring out if an idea was going to get past the idea stage are pretty self-explanatory. They have to be smart (obviously), simple (instead of a 30 second pitch think of it in a single sentence), surprising and, most importantly, WILL ANYONE GIVE A SHIT?
One particular instance was when he picked up garbage in New York City, wanting to show that packaging was important to the public. He went on to make the garbage flashy, pretty and new and, boy, did “NYC garbage” sell. They sold so well he raised the price to curb the demand from $10 to $25, and then to $50. With each price increase, he changed the perception of value that people had of garbage.
They went from the $10 gag gift, to a souvenir and then at $50 a piece of art. The more exclusive the trash, the higher the price. He even managed to charge and $100 for New Year’s Eve trash, and so on. He has been doing it for 10 years and has sold over 1300 cubes of garbage to over 30 countries.
Another project he and his wife did was for “wants for sale” where they created paintings of things they wanted and charged the cost of what the item actually was so they could go out and buy it. He combines highbrow and lowbrow for the tension in-between, playing with people’s perceptions of value. They sent it to friends and soon blogs got hold of it, and within a few days they had a ton of hits on the website and sold out of the paintings, except for the one at the absurd range of the scale.
For Justin creating the art was only half the equation, the other half completed when it sold. With the internet there are no excuses for anyone. Just remember not to be an ass hole and you learn pretty fast that you can’t do it all alone. It is all about tapping into people you know and great ideas.
Man, what crazy ideas Justin has had and done. I for one am officially a fan of the weirdness. How awesome is that he took an idea and went for it, something that is very inspirational to me. His ideas are totally random and WTF that I can’t help but like it.
Always know that you are working toward putting work out there, that is a great perspective and I am going to borrow it. The talk made me smile, the ideas made me grin and the entire deal made me want to start creating. If that was the mission then for me it is accomplished.
That is a summary of his talk but seeing is believing so go, go, go:
Credit: PSFK Conference NYC 2011