"The center of night life is a vast crucible of electric flame. The throb of the jungle tom-tom; the symphony of lust; the music of a hundred ocherstras; the swaying of bodies; the rhythm of abandon; the hot smoke of desire—desire under the floodlights; it's all fun; it's life. Joy, gin, and jazz." 




SAM's exhibition "Deco Japan: Shaping Art & Culture, 1920–1945" was one of my favorites during my time at the museum. Deco is so graphic that it lent itself easily to a creative, fun campaign. The show sold itself. 

But there were some cool things specific to the exhibition that you maybe couldn't tell from the art—like, this wasn't just any Deco. This was Japanese deco, and it was from the inter-war period. 

As I researched the art, I kept coming across these amazing quotes from pamphlets, posters, brochures, and manifestos. Like a list of rules telling girls how to behave if they wanted to be moga, modern girls. Or a description of Shanghai from a tourist guide that was just irresistibly decadent.

Instead of trying to recapture the magic, I decided to let the copy travel back in time—using source materials from the Deco era, I created copy for the invitations, rack cards, and website, with just a splash of explanation to provide context.

After all, who doesn't love jazz, gin, short hair and even shorter skirts? 

Visit the exhibition website to see the campaign come to digital life.

POSTCARD MAILER / FRONT (original copy)
"Between World War I and II, the world was changing rapidly. With the machine age came an increased emphasis on speed. The art world answered with Art Deco, which had a driving energy that found expression in graphic designs with fast lines which could be
used on everything from housewares to posters, and for everything from politics to advertising.
Deco Japan reveals the widespread and particular impact of Art Deco on Japanese culture. Shown in our gem-like 1933 Art Deco building, this exhibition offers you the rare opportunity to experience the full range of Deco artistry in a period setting."

POSTCARD MAILER / BACK (sourced material)
1 Strength, the “enemy” of conventional femininity
2 Conspicuous consumption of Western food and drink
3 Devotion to jazz records, dancing, and smoking Golden Bat cigarettes from a metal cigarette holder
4 Knowledge of the types of Western liquor and a willingness to flirt to get them for free
5 Devotion to fashion from Paris and Hollywood as seen in foreign fashion magazines
6 Devotion to cinema
7 Real or feigned interest in dancehalls as a way to show off one’s ostensible decadence to mobo (modern boys)
8 Strolling in the Ginza every Saturday and Sunday night
9 Pawning things to get money to buy new clothes for each season
10 Offering one’s lips to any man who is useful, even if he is bald or ugly, but keeping one’s chastity because “infringement of chastity” lawsuits are out of style.