culture

One Club + 3% Next Creative Leaders: Anyaa Dev and Aier Xu

December 8th 2020

Anyaa Dev, W+K Amsterdam, and Aier Xu, W+K Shanghai, were each selected as One Club + 3% Next Creative Leader honorees for 2020. We dug a little deeper into the backgrounds and experience of these two women through the Q&A's below.

Read more about the One Club + 3% Next Creative Leaders here.

Anyaa Dev, W+K Amsterdam

__Did you always want to be an Art Director? __

Yes! I always wanted to be working with visual direction in any way and in any industry.

__You talk in your One Club bio about your parents thinking your artwork as a young girl was "actually pretty cool." Do your parents still have your artwork from when you were little? __

Yes they do! My dad has an oil pastel flower pot I made when I was 6. It’s still hanging in his office. I also used to write and illustrate really dramatic apology letters that my mum has embarrassingly kept and will probably whip out on my wedding day.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Amsterdam?

I’d say the best thing about living in Amsterdam is the quality of life and the clarity of mind that the city provides. This really helps me balance work with other passion projects. That balance keeps me sane and feeds my soul.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Aside from the art world of drawing, painting, etc I love travelling and eating. I often combine these hobbies which is basically my way of saying I love going on Holiday. But I really do draw so much inspiration from seeing worlds outside of my little bubble. And tasting foods that cause almost visual sensations. I cook a lot for my friends and am actually working on starting a supper club in 2021.

Who, or what, inspires you?

I’m constantly inspired by expanding my visual pursuits to different mediums, whether it be drawing, painting, making extensive plans for interior decoration, watching short films and most importantly probably pop culture. I think platforms like tiktok are profoundly and grotesquely creative. I find it really interesting.

What’s something you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of?

I’d say the things that I’m most proud of have never seen the light of day, a sad reality in our business but I’m really proud of them. From what’s out there - my work on Nike Women for India. It was the first big project I got to take on and lead. I’m really proud of the impact it’s had but I’m also personally really proud of how much I learned during that process, about work and about the kind of Art director I want to be.

What do you see as the future of creativity?

I see the future of creativity to be diverse. I see industry leaders handing over the mic to the people who have inspired brands and fed creativity from the side lines for too long. I think the future lies in adapting, shape shifting and inclusivity. Adapting to culture, shape shifting to reform possibly bigoted structures and systems, and inclusivity by creating environments that not only welcome diverse talent but also allow them to thrive.

Aier Xu, Copywriter, W+K Shanghai

__Did you always want to be a writer? __

Actually I knew nothing about the advertising or creative industry until 6 years ago, in my senior year at university when I was looking for an internship online and accidentally saw the information that a place called Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai was hiring. I found the office picture looking super cool so I sent over my resume and luckily got to join this family and have never left ever since. Maybe it’s the God of Advertising who guided me to become a writer lol.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Shanghai?

Shanghai is a very cosmopolitan city. It’s a young, open-minded and diverse place where everyone is free to share their own voice.

You’ve said your Dad is a big fan of your work, does he have a favorite?

Apparently his favorite work is the stunt we did for Nike, the one called “Run the Globe” where we took over the most iconic spherical globe buildings in Shanghai and used projection technology to make a human athlete “running” on this globe. Because everyone knows about this building in Shanghai, it’s easy for him to brag about it with his friends.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

My biggest interest now is writing, but writing non-advertising stuff. I wish I can become a children’s book writer someday, just like my great-grandfather. It feels good to get rid of the brief and truly take some time to think and create something which expresses the point of view, the fantasy and all the weird thoughts from nobody but my own.

Who, or what, inspires you?

Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Murakami Haruki.

Alfred Hitchcock.

Dou Wei.

My partners.

My Creative Directors and ECDs.

Instagram.

Local news.

The handmade dumplings from my grandma.

The quote “Fail Harder”.

What’s something you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of?

I’m very proud of the “Beijing 99” campaign we made for Nike targeting young basketballers in Beijing because it’s the most culturally-relevant project I did. At that time, I was the only creative who spoke Chinese on the team so my role in the campaign was not only creative, but also "cultural interpreter" who helped my expat colleagues understand Beijing’s unique culture. We debated heavily, but in the end, we made something epic together. I believe when you embrace the culture, the culture embraces you back.

What do you see as the future of creativity?

I always feel like the technology nowadays is so powerful that it almost seems to be able to take over anything, any job, any human being’s duty, however, I believe the original, creative thinking is always irreplaceable because it is not based on any formula, code or rules, it’s just the beautiful miracle happening in our brain. With the great help of technology, creativity in the future will become a more and more strong weapon solving more and more problems and challenges of human beings.

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