This Wednesday marks one of the biggest events on the ADC calendar, as Portfolio Night 13 — the largest single evening advertising portfolio review in the world — unfolds in 24 cities across the globe. This will also be the third year of Portfolio Night All-Stars, where each PN13 city will select its champion to fly to New York this summer and work on a real project for a famous brand.
Each year we’ve raised the All-Stars bar, adding new elements to make being an All-Star an even more incredible experience. This year’s addition — a phenomenal 3D printed trophy in the form of a stylized translucent skull which houses an ADC Cube-shaped brain. The trophy was designed by ADC Young Guns 6 winner Morris Lee for Mighty Jaxx, a Singapore-based street culture brand founded by Jackson Aw.
Ahead of the awarding of these super-exclusive trophies, ADC chatted with Jackson and Morris about their own creative passions, the creation of the trophies and the future of Mighty Jaxx.
Every kid loves toys, and most like to draw, but what in your early life influenced you to make a career out of it all?
Jackson: I have always been collecting toys at different stages of my life, from simulating war scenes with little green soldiers when I was a kid to collecting designer toys in my teens.
One day I was looking at my collection and started wondering about how these figures were made, so I made it a point to find out and satisfy my curiosity. My trip to the factories was mind-blowing, there is still a huge portion of work which is all hand made. Through my visit, I also found out that producing dildos is a very lucrative business.
With one of you based in New York, and the other based in Singapore, how did the two of you meet?
Morris: We actually met in Shanghai in the washroom of a really shady and cheap Chinese karaoke bar. While queuing up, I actually overheard Jackson talking to his mates about his love of Jim Phillips. Being really drunk, I joined in the conversation. From there we exchanged contact info and we managed to forge a much more professional relationship than the one in the KTV.
Jackson: (laughs) And somehow we have come full circle with a collaborative exhibition for Jim Phillips in New York City!
What were the biggest challenges in starting Mighty Jaxx? Was there ever any moment where you felt things wouldn’t work?
Jackson: I think the biggest challenge was the lack of knowledge about production processes. Technology is constantly evolving and we always took it upon ourselves to experiment with techniques. There was a time when I nearly gave up because we only sold twenty pieces of our first design during the launch event, but that was justified when we sold out that design two months later. I always wanted to be excited with my work and that is why we continue what we do.
“I always wanted to be excited with my work and that is why we continue what we do.”
You created and produced the trophy for this year’s ADC Portfolio Night All-Stars, to be awarded this Wednesday to 24 amazing young creatives in 24 cities around the world. How did you come up with the concept?
Jackson: The trophy was a joint effort between Mighty Jaxx, Anomaly Shanghai and i.Materialise by UCT. We actually threw a couple of ideas around, including creative mushroom clouds (which not everyone was thrilled about) Through some discussion, we locked onto one specific idea that we felt will work across the globe. The skull and brain holds such a universal mystic appeal to people across all races and cultures. It is just cool, you can’t go wrong with it. We wanted to produce something we would want to own ourselves.
Once you had the design the way you wanted it, what was the process behind physically making it?
Jackson: This was the first time we tried using a special stereolithography 3D printing technology for our works, thanks to i.Materialise by UCT. Basically each piece is 3D printed and then hand polished for several hours to get that translucent gloss look. It’s a lot of work but it has an effect like no other. That is what we are after, the feeling of amazement.
“It’s a lot of work but it has an effect like no other. That is what we are after, the feeling of amazement.”
Now that it’s done and ready to be presented to the All-Stars, what was your favorite part of the project?
Jackson: We truly enjoyed the entire process of the All-Stars project. It was definitely an experience to work with ADC, as well as to use a unique state of the art technology for the first time. My favorite part was to see the product being manufactured, in the midst of 3D printing.
What’s next on the horizon for Mighty Jaxx?
Jackson: As we mentioned earlier, we’re doing a show in New York for a collaborative project with legendary skate/surf artist Jim Phillips on June 5. We can’t say much about what we’re working on right now but we promise you it will be something you haven’t seen before.
What advice would you give to somebody wanting to win one of these trophies at Portfolio Night?
Jackson: “Remember, the trophy choses you, do your best, don’t worry. When you worry you make it double!”
Portfolio Night 13 takes place this Wednesday, May 20. Tickets and info are available at portfolionight.com