Finding the Beauty in Every Shot: The Lez Rudge Grade

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Award-winning colourist and creative director Lez Rudge lets us in on his first year at Chimney
Finding the Beauty in Every Shot: The Lez Rudge Grade
From creative to technical, Lez Rudge dons many different hats in his role as head of colour for North America and creative director for global full-service creation agency, Chimney. As an award-winning colourist, Lez has a portfolio bursting with beauty and big names; from Spike Lee to Darren Aronofsky, Wes Anderson, and Janusz Kamiński to name but a few. Drawing on his personal philosophy of seeking beauty in every setting, he has elevated a huge variety of projects including television commercials, music videos, movies and a plethora of live-action installations. 

In this interview, Lez reveals exactly how he manages his many different functions, the work that’s inspired him and why the work with purpose is the stuff he’s most proud of… 


Q> How’s your first year at Chimney been? 

Lez> It’s been an incredible journey; we've been able to produce great work and had fun at the same time - and it all stems from the incredible support from our clients. The fact that we managed to work on Jim Jarmusch's 'Dead Don't Die' alone was a huge testament to the faith that the industry has put in us.

Q> You’ve worn many different hats - director, colourist, and creative director - how are you able to transfer between the roles and do you have a creative philosophy that connects all three?

Lez> As a creative person, I’ve always felt the desire to help contribute to any project or process. The joy from being able to look at a project and ultimately helping to elevate or enhance what someone else might have conceived is immense and honestly fun and rewarding. The philosophy is always the same, how one interprets what someone is looking for and adds even a subtle touch to help them materialise their objectives. It's almost the same as figuring out how I match my different sneakers with different suits...

Q> Growing up in Singapore and having worked in Australia and in the US too, do you think your international perspective helps inform your creative outlook?

Lez> I think any exposure of any kind is invaluable to anyone; just like travel helps one appreciate and embrace other cultures - and I could easily tell anyone where the best chicken-rice restaurants are.

Q> What does a typical workday look like for you? 

Lez> 90% of my time is spent grading beautiful pictures and then stopping at a cool joint (in Brooklyn mostly) for $1 oysters and wine before having great pasta close by - and that's just on Mondays.


Q> You’ve got an incredible portfolio and have worked alongside legends such as Spike Lee and Darren Aronofsky, and on major brand campaigns. What project are you most proud of and why?

Lez> As much as I am always appreciative of every single job I've worked on, the ones I'm really proud of are the PSAs where we as creatives can use our talents to help a cause in a practical manner. There was a PSA I conceived and directed for a friend of mine - Ali Lambert-Voron - with the National Alopecia Areata Foundation to use her as a positive example of how not to allow one's perceptions of beauty affect how we might feel about ourselves.

Q> Has there been a piece of work that’s caught your eye recently? 

Lez> Although it would be easy to name a big glossy spot - one I loved recently for its simplicity and powerful message, whilst looking beautiful (graded by Chris Ryan), was 'Tattoo' for American Greetings - directed by The Mercadantes.

Q> What challenges are you finding in the industry right now? 

Lez> The biggest concern is the trend of more and more being demanded while slashing budgets - but as a creatively driven place, collectively we constantly come up with solutions that would look and feel premium - that's where experience combined with logistics comes in handy.

Q> And, what excited you outside of the creative industries?

Lez> Collective moments. The 2017 Women’s March was a great example of this. 

Q> What are you most looking forward to at the moment?

Lez> Honestly every day is fun; the joy of working with talented people in our business, completing great projects while listening to cool music, and discussing whether 'Mean Girls' or 'Clueless' are better high school movies.

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Chimney New York, 5 months ago