Johnny Hardstaff / Archive 19

This archival site was last updated - 25th March 2019

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Press Quotes:

Hexagone - Sept 2017
'With a four speed on the floor, she'll be waiting at the door. You know that ain't no shit, we'll be getting loads of tit. In Greased Lightnin'." So sang Danny Zuko in 1978's 'Grease'. Forty years later the automobile still holds a highly masculine place in popular culture, to this day men commonly believing their 'sweet rides' to be 'chick magnets' or 'pussy wagons'.

The unapologetically feminist short revenge film 'Motel Music Part. II' looks to debunk the myth that a car can get a man laid, taking aim squarely at the macho contemporary cinema of Winding Refn's 'Drive' amongst countless others, and in so doing offering a refreshing recalibration of the stereotypically masculine relationship between cars, violence and sexual conquest.

Far from feeling like the end of something, in exploring gender politics, in examining the social trauma of almost a century of commercial advertising (something this film's director and its producers know more than a thing or two about) and in seeking to exhume the emotional truth from industrial output, 'Motel Music Part. II' is a beginning, a first step into the misogyny of cinematic glamour.

Put most simply, 'Motel Music Part. II' is a contemporary fable of human agenda and industrial product, a tale of predators and prey.'

Quad - Oct 2013
'Three films, two completely different worlds, one aesthetic canon. Johnny Hardstaff's campaigns for Baileys Chocolat Luxe and Smirnoff Apple Bite both have the sublime images that play with movement. One may use the fluid bending of textures and effects, with stealth changes in rhythm and editing in the other, but there is always the same meticulous attention to detail given to image and art direction.
All three films perfectly illustrate the work of Johnny Hardstaff, who is a director at the intersection of design and modern art and is renowned for his innovative approach, in advertising or film.'

Etapes - May 2012
'The graphic sensibilities of the Prometheus marketing teasers directed by Johnny Hardstaff are as compelling as the upcoming film's storyline. In this new spot, Quiet Eye, Hardstaff effectively uses his trademark mixture of clean motion graphics and live action footage to present a frighteningly accurate biometric scanning system. As scary as this potential future is, we are looking forward to more.'

Cinema Blend - June 2012
'A lot of the trailers and TV spots for Prometheus have been rightfully criticised for spoiling too much about the movie, but the viral marketing has been completely perfect, and none better than the "Happy Birthday, David" video that emerged online a few months ago. Introducing us to Michael Fassbender's android character David, the video had gorgeous production values and enough sci-fi wonder to make the entire movie look fascinating.'

Sunday Times - Jan 2013
'The man who should have won an Oscar for his heartbreakingly empty sex addict in Shame (Momentum Pictures) also did great work in 2012, not on a big screen, but on the smaller one on your desk. In the "marketing videos" for the DAVID 8 android - teasers for Ridley Scott's Prometheus - he reaches genius level, poignantly playing a machine-man who has modelled himself on Peter O'Toole's Lawrence of Arabia. DAVID 8 comes with a full range of emotions, as per the manufacturers brochure, but not a whiff of irony. Peerless.'

Varoom - Summer 2009
'It is always hard to cite influences especially on a whole creative field, but by way of association, filtering, connections, inspirations, word-of-mouth, Hardstaff's work has shown that you can be highly visual and tell stories, be non-linear and deliver powerful narratives, be commercial and staunchly personal, be political and polemical, but also delight, surprise and move audiences all at the same time. He has shown it is possible to make memorable work that has substance, meaning and intelligent playfulness.'

It's Nice That - April 2012
'I thought the term 'gripping' was only used by badger-like film critics born in the 1950s. I was wrong, just you try blinking while you watch this viral, directed by Johnny Hardstaff, for Ridley Scott's much, much, much anticipated new film Prometheus. It's a fine and brilliantly gauged two and a half minutes, shot in an aesthetic from an undefined era of science fiction, with a simple script delivered with total emotive brevity by an android called David (Michael 'Should've won an Oscar for Shame' Fassbender). If this is the effect of a single viral (i.e. unutterably sinister - "I can carry out directives that my human counterparts might find distressing or unethical" shudder, shudder) then the full feature is likely to blind us all. Can't wait!'

Little Black Book - April 2012
'Johnny Hardstaff - Prometheus Viral 'David' - This is the second Prometheus viral; creating further intrigue and excitement in the build-up to Prometheus' imminent June release. The viral is directed by Johnny Hardstaff and stars Michael Fassbender as the Weyland Industries android David, as he explains, in deadpan fashion, his "emotions" and capabilities as an android. Michael Fassbender's performance is unnervingly convincing and through Johnny's brilliant futuristic vision and art direction, once again we find ourselves tangibly closer to the Prometheus world and what the future may hold - both positive and negative.'

Wonderland - Dec 2006
'Hardstaff is on a mission. He wants to subvert the mainstream media through his intricate animation. He wants to turn the corporate world on itself with his design projects. Will he succeed? Or will he just get bored and do something else?'

Creative Review - September 2005 (r.e 6MM Hate Head)
'Johnny Hardstaff is an innovator. He is pushing graphic design into areas it had not previously occupied, and in so doing makes a more exciting and diverse landscape for the rest of us to work in. But for the ingenuity of people like Hardstaff, graphic designers would not be working in animation and video.'

Varoom - Summer 2009
'A superb draftsman, Hardstaff works meticulously in developing models and plans with finely detailed and intricate drawings in his notebooks. Almost like an alchemist it is here his ideas are generated and worked through before storyboarding and shooting even begin to unfold his imaginative and fantastic visions.'

Creative Review - August 2005
'This work is just a shallow example of purely offensive bile.'

Creative Review - July 2005 (r.e 6MM Hate Head)
'Nightmarishly beautiful.'

Creative Review - March 2008
'There's something rather wonderfully old fashioned about Johnny Hardstaff's new Toshiba brand commercial for Grey. The visual style recalls the research lab - think Tomorrow's World or an Open University show, but a million times more beautiful.'

Arena - April 2006 (r.e 6MM Hate Head)
'His work imagines a nightmarish future where technology threatens as well as serves, such as his Hate Head project where the image of the Queens head used on coinage is transformed into an Orwellian tool of mass surveillance.'

Onedotzero6 festival preview - Intro
'Hardstaff, a hit at last years festival returns in triumph this year with a work of precision genius, a compelling, epic film for Radiohead.'

Animation Unlimited - Liz Faber and Helen Walters - Laurence King 2004
'Hardstaff remains an anarchic, unpredictable and uncompromising figure on the edge of the commercial creative industry.'

The Face - October 2000 (Double page spread)
'Seen Sony's animated short for Playstation 2 yet? Don't worry, you will.'

Eye Magazine - Rick Poynor (
'The images coalesce in a ripple of movement intensified by occasional cuts and it takes several viewings even to notice some of the smaller details artfully secreted within this intricate tableau...This 60-second spot, directed for the Fallon agency by Johnny Hardstaff, whose previous credits include Radiohead and PlayStation, shows postmodern illustration in full bloom.'
'Award-winning director Johnny Hardstaff is creating the graphic identity and festival trailer for RESFEST 2003. He is internationally acclaimed for his short film and video work for the BBC, FC Kahuna, Radiohead, Super Furry Animals and Sony.'

Creative Review - January 2002 (r.e Radiohead video)
'It's controversial stuff, but it's beautifully handled by Hardstaff'. - July 2003
'Johnny Harstaff's films have been exhibited extensively internationally and won many awards -- including Creative Review's "Creative Future" 2001, a D&AD silver nomination and a place in the New Director's Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival. These led him to Black Dog and Ridley Scott Associates, and he has since worked with: the BBC, FC Kahuna, Radiohead, and Super Furry Animals, and Sony. He is now signed to Little Minx in the US and is busy establishing his own creative units both in Europe and Japan. It's no surprise then that the animation-literate Japanese are such huge fans of his.'

Res Magazine - September / October 2001
'Graphic artist extraordinaire.' (r.e Radiohead video Push Pulk/Spinning Plates)
'The crowning achievement, however, has got to be Johnny Hardstaff's Push Pulk / Spinning Plates video [Ep. 3]. In my opinion, it captures the essence of these songs - and it has to be the most disturbing thing you'll see in quite a while.'

Q Magazine - March 2002
'Radiohead Video Spectacular!' - July 2003 - Amanda Boyle
'Hardstaff's drawings made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. His films took these subjects and pushed them further. The level of draftmanship was extraordinary and their cool beauty pivoted on both an affection and disdain for the world.'

Dazed & Confused - June 2002
'Film and art have a tricky relationship. Most artists - with some very notable exceptions - fail to use film to the full. Johnny Hardstaff is an exception.' - 2004 - Liz Brown
'The maverick: It's difficult to know how to describe Johnny Hardstaff, but image-maker extraordinaire is as good a description as any.'

Creation - May 2001
'With enthusiasm that comes from seeing the value in his own work, Hardstaff's animations are simply beautiful.'
'Johnny Hardstaff: Super talented film/promo/animation director.' - July 2003 - Paula Carson
'I first met him when his work featured in Creative Futures; an event organised by Creative Review. Creative Futures is all about showcasing spiralling young talents in communication arts. In Hardstaff's case the selection couldn't have been more spot on. The decision to include his work in the exhibition was based solely on his brilliant short film The History of Gaming, a self-initiated project which was eventually appropriated by Sony PlayStation.'

Dazed & Confused - November 2002 - Video of the Month: FC Kahuna 'Hayling'
'One of the most visually arresting videos A&E has seen in a long time.'

Creative Review - January 2001
'PS2 taken to a darker arena.' - Interview with Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead - 2004
'Another video I love is "Like Spinning Plates" directed by Johnny Hardstaff; it's the best thing we've done, or better said, the best thing the director did for our music, that and "Pyramid Song" are actually brilliant.'

onedotzero Motion Blur - 2004 - Laurence King
'Whether working for Playstation, Radiohead or FC Kahuna, Hardstaff still manages to produce material that feels very personal, delivering graphically filmed opuses delicately poised between heralding technology as saviour and alarming danger.' (r.e resfest review)
'That said, the effortless superiority of Johnny Hardstaff's platform-based The History of Gaming and The Future of Gaming received rapt attention.'

Creative Review - December 2000 - Dilly Gent
'I find his work very fresh and engaging. You see so many crap showreels and I put his on and it just seemed very exciting. I think he's great.' - July 2003 - Amanda Boyle
'Johnny Hardstaff is in every sense of the word, a maverick...'...Vintage Hardstaff... a man who will not play the game... or if he does, he'll certainly keep you on your toes. Although often very beautiful there is frequently a feeling in his work that something is festering under the veneer. It shocks and amazes. Constantly in awe of his eye for aesthetics and his ear for a good soundtrack, I also guiltily revel in his naughty sense of humour.'

Promo Magazine - April 2001
'Hardstaff unleashes Playstation epic.' (r.e Radiohead video)
'Directed by Johnny Hardstaff at Black Dog Film, the promo...can perhaps be viewed as a beautiful piece of video art rather than the usual narrative experience of a conventional pop video.' (r.e Radiohead video DVD 'The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time')
'Expect to see exceptional visuals by Johnny Hardstaff (Push Pulk/Spinning Plates).'
Johnny Hardstaff's piece for Radiohead is set to become a modern classic, redefining how we imagine the future even as it warns of it's inherent technological dangers.