Just Asking

We asked industry executives which classic artist (painter, sculptor) would create the best ads—and why.

Van Gogh. He’d only hear half of what the client asked for. —Scott Brown, acd, Eric Mower & Associates, Charlotte, N.C.

Georgia O’Keefe . . . because she poured her feelings into her work and was celebrated for portraying spectacular images as if close up. She was a pioneer of “truth in advertising!” —Heather Towsley, director of business development, Broadstreet, Watertown, Mass.

Degas. An incredible designer/draftsman/storyteller. A terrific communicator. He would have been an art director’s art director. —Glenn Dady, brand creative group head, The Richards Group, Dallas

Da Vinci—no question. His ability to attract a viewer with subtle, insistent drama, and his talent to engage his audience with facts and truly stirring emotion certainly would have made him at least the best ad guy in Beantown—if not the entire Northeast. —Jud Horner, CMO, Gearon Hoffman, Boston

Joan Miro because the color, shapes and simplicity of his art could be applied to advertising today. —Fritz Westenberger, co-president, cd, Sugartown, New York

Robert Motherwell, and the reason he would be good is his consistency to an idea executed differently each time. That always helps in advertising. —Ken Erke, ecd, Young & Rubicam, Chicago

Marcel Duchamp. He convinced people that an upside-down urinal was art, so he was a great persuader. —Steve Red, president, CCO, Red Tettemer, Philadelphia

Knowing he conducted business with a sword at his side, Caravaggio would have been quite the persuader for compelling advertising. He was known to pursue arguments and fights to get his point across. He even murdered. That would get a client’s attention. —Todd Irwin, ecd, Irwin Slater, New York

Warhol. He bridged a gap in media. He bridged a gap into pop culture. He bridged a gap into entertainment. And that’s what advertising now has grown into. —Fred Hammerquist, partner, Hammerquist & Nebeker, Seattle

Given today’s ever changing ad environment I would go with good old Leonardo (da Vinci, not DiCaprio). [He] was a scientist, mathematician, engineer, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, musician … talk about a man whose creativity knew no boundaries. I’d call his book in. Not to mention his “Vetruvian Man” image has been ripped off so many times by ad guys that we at least owe him a shout out. —Kevin Moehlenkamp, ecd, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston