ART Hong Kong 2012 Gets a Monolithic Campaign

January 9, 2012

By Barbara Goldman

© Chris Terry

ART Hong Kong 2012 campaign.

In just four years ART Hong Kong  has positioned itself as a key fixture on the international art calendar. Art world insiders increasingly recognize the importance of the art market in Asia.  In 2011 ART Hong Kong welcomed 260 of the world’s leading galleries represented by 38 countries with an attendance of 63,000 people.  ART Hong Kong is a community of collectors, curators, artists and galleries and is a leading platform for networking and the discovery of new talent.  With more spending and purchase power in Asia, the art world now views ART Hong Kong as a viable art market with great potential in that region and for the world. The fair features a program of events showcasing the best that Hong Kong has to offer culturally as well as socially and an extensive program of renowned speakers organized by Asia Art Archive.

Part of the reason ART Hong Kong has grown so quickly is due in large part to their advertising and promotional campaigns. ART Hong Kong works with The Plant, a branding and design agency based in Old Street, London, owned by Art Director Matt Utber.  Celebrity, portrait, food and travel photographer Chris Terry  also has been onboard for the ART Hong Kong campaigns over the past few years.  He is known for photographing lots of chefs, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef) and came to The Plant and Utber via his work with Oliver. Over the years, Utber and Terry have become close friends as well as collaborators for the ART Hong Kong projects, as well as many other types of advertising, book and magazine jobs.  For Terry, Utber has a great visual aesthetic and loves for an idea to develop naturally on a shoot so that many times they come back with something unexpected and exciting. Both Terry and Utber like to work and think this way, which is why the creative process has become so enjoyable for them. 

Now recognized as the third largest art show in the world, the aim of both Terry and The Plant for ART Hong Kong was to develop a brand identity for the event that would become familiar to both locals and art buffs alike.  ART Hong Kong trusted their artistic concepts to allow them to come up with something vibrant and interesting for the 2012 fair.

For the latest campaign,  they wanted to create a campaign logo that would appear in places off the beaten track, attracting the local people who would know and pass these locations regularly.  As Terry explains, “Using the same branding each time, we changed the physical format of the logo each year. Starting with a generator driven neon sign, then a high-powered projection and for this year a 6.4-foot polished stainless steel monolith that took four guys to move.”  The monolith even acted as stealth technology with the immediate local environment reflected so clearly that it seemed to become part of the background. “The local crew worked very hard for us!  Many will say that we could have achieved the same thing in Photoshop, but where’s the fun in that?” says Terry.  

As might be expected with multiple locales for shooting, there had to be great preparation.  For equipment, Terry shot with a Phase One DF with a P45+ back, 55mm and 80mm lens and Canon 5d2s.  And a large storm cover for it all!  Terry always does a thorough  scouting using a local producer, Sophia Shek, who has worked on all three previous shoots for him.  Shek does an in-depth scout to Terry’s direction weeks prior to his arrival. She then sends pictures and permit information and fees so Terry and his team can have it all lined up for final decisions the day they do their tech scout once the concept has been approved by the client. She even manages to line up the last location near a bar, which is very useful and therapeutic for everyone. 

The shot with the neon sign (ART Hong Kong 2010) was not dimmable, so for that shoot Terry had to time the locations perfectly to achieve the right balance between the logo and the ambient light.  “We had no serious problems as the locals where we shot were usually very nice and happy to be paid to use their goldfish shop, cafe or panel beating shop.  The Triad-owned casinos and masonry-throwing pimps were a little trickier, but no serious injuries,” laughs Terry. 

 Even though the neon and projector ads required multiple vehicles and crew, the monolith sign  for the 2012 campaign raised the biggest problems due to sheer size and weight.  Also, it’s highly polished surface and the persistent rain and multiple locations, such as derelict rooftops and busy intersections kept the team on their toes all the time.  “The weather was appalling so the sign and cameras remained under cover until the last minute, a quick dry and polish, then a shot, more rain so covers back on” adds Terry.

The next ART Hong Kong 2012 fair is scheduled for May 17-20, 2012, and Terry’s photography is now in place to promote the event. The ads run primarily in Hong Kong as outdoor advertising including on the sides of the famous Hong Kong trams. They also appear online and as flyers and brochures for overseas promotion.

The Fair has been so successful that the Swiss exhibition firm MCH has just bought a huge stake in ART Hong Kong to establish the next platforms of ART Basel and ART Basel Miami Beach brands — testaments to the visionary work of  Chris Terry and The Plant.

When not globe trotting and hunting locations to shoot worldwide productions, Terry lives outside of London on a farm with his very understanding wife Kelly and their three amazing kids.  Terry’s A-list clients include: The Times, Telegraph, Jamie Oliver, Nike, Nikon, Standard Chartered Bank, Nintendo, Bloomsbury and Innocent Drinks.  I also like to balance my commercial work with charity work for The British Red Cross, The Fifteen Foundation.  and several Military charities such as Combat Stress, BLESMA (British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Assoc.) and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

To see more of Chris Terry’s portrait, advertising and editorial work, please view his site at

neon 2010