From 15 years as a commercial illustrator for clients including The Guardian, The New Yorker and The Mighty Boosh, to working as an artist, Mr Bingo took the Ogilvy stage to talk about his career, thinking differently and taking risks.
On his move from commercial illustrator to artist
Never a fan of working for clients, Mr Bingo prefers instead “a life without deadlines, meetings, conference calls, briefs, amends, feedback, people telling you what to do, drawing other peoples’ ideas”. Instead, in 2015 he launched a Kickstarter to fund a book about his Hate Mail project. Fast-forward three years and he’s now selling things he makes in his online shop, in Nelly Duff Gallery in East London and is also an active international speaker.
On becoming an artist, he says “I stopped working for clients, deleted my website and started calling myself an artist. Tip for you – if you want to rebrand just start calling yourself what you want to be and eventually you might become it. I started making stuff I believe in that I would buy and just hope there are people in the world who have similar taste”.
On Hate Mail
Created in 2011, Hate Mail was a project which involved Mr Bingo sending anyone who tweeted him their address and paid £50 (plus postage) a customized abusive postcard, illustrated by Mr Bingo himself.
Admittedly not “business minded”, he found the fact supply was outweighing demand for the product to be an issue. To date, he has created 1093 hate mails but has stopped the project... for now.
The sheer volume of requests prompted him to create some of his best work for the project. He admits “some of your best work will come out when you really challenge yourself. Some of my best hate mail work came from setting myself a weird personal challenge. There are only a certain number of ways you can insult someone – so towards the end especially I had to constantly challenge myself to creative new hate mail”.
On doing things differently
Mr Bingo believes “if you do things differently it stands out and people are more likely to be into it and send it to their friends”.
One such example is his unusual approach to Black Friday. Where other brands cut their prices, on Mr Bingo’s online shop prices increase by 25%. What’s even more unusual is that rather than the response being a drop in sales, Black Friday sees the most sales of the year for his online store.
Mr Bingo believes this is because “so many people love playing the game and they buy from the store on Black Friday just to take part in this experiment”.
Find out more about Mr Bingo and his work here.