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sportscar: How Three Directors Converged to Put Storytelling in the Driver's Seat

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Ariel Fish, Lucy Sandler and C Prinz tell LBB how they formed the visual arts collective sportscar - and why storytelling requires equal measures of reality and fantasy…

sportscar: How Three Directors Converged to Put Storytelling in the Driver's Seat

Was 2020 the year everything changed? Among other things it’s easy to imagine the pandemic as a cultural point of no return, or simply a restart button. For Ariel Fish, Lucy Sandler, and C Prinz - three uniquely talented visual artists and storytellers based in LA - it was the year they coalesced to become sportscar. It didn’t take long for the collective to hit top speed with a prolific creative streak, including eye-catching projects for Nike, Billie Eilish, Kanye West, Hennessy, and Givenchy amongst others. In 2021, sportscar took another turn in its evolution when the trio joined the roster of the production powerhouse RadicalMedia.

“sportscar came out of the pandemic, for sure”, recalls C. “In a strange way it felt as though there was no pressure, and the world shutting down had provided us with time to experiment. So there was space to try something new, which led to us creating a larger idea out of our intrinsic collaborations”.

If the pandemic acted as a catalyst, however, the sportscar story truly began many years beforehand. “We all come from a deep background of friendship first and foremost, having met working on each others’ sets and projects for years”, explains Ariel. “The more we collaborated, the more we shared each others’ experiences in the industry and created a natural braintrust of feedback and collaboration. We reached a point where we felt our best work was coming out of those conversations - so why not make it official?”.

So, what’s in a name? According to Ariel, the collective settled on ‘sportscar’ as a distillation of their often disruptive approach. “I think first and foremost it’s a word which is associated with the kind of work we’d like to be approached for”, she says. “As three women, there can sometimes be a stigma which comes with the briefs we might receive and we wanted to shatter that”.

“It’s also a concept which allows for us to define our own styles as part of the greater collective. I’d say Lucy is a Porsche, and C is a Tesla truck. I’m more like a water boat”, she continues. “And sportscar as a whole is three different people coming together to make something which is greater than - and outside of - ourselves”.

It doesn’t take long speaking to the trio to work out that this is a concept they take seriously. Rather than matching up three perfectly aligned creative visions, it’s more often in the negative space in between one another’s styles that sportscar collectively discovers their greatest ideas.

Above: sportscar from left to right: Ariel Fish, C Prinz, and Lucy Sandler. Credit: Alex Souetre

 

Less Noise, More Truth 

“In the best possible way, I wouldn’t make anything that either of these two make”, says Lucy. “But that’s what makes our partnership so valuable - and so fun”.

On sportscar’s website, one of the collectives’ stated philosophies is ‘minimising the noise’. According to C, that’s built-in to the group’s creative approach. “There’s a lot of noise out there, but often the most powerful and invasive noise can come from within your own mind”, she explains. “So our approach of speaking our ideas out loud, and kicking them around between each other, is its own filtration process. The end result is free from the background noise of our own minds and fine-tuned by one another”.

For Lucy, that’s a big part of why being a part of sportscar is so rewarding. “Working with C and Ariel is like having two new windows into the world. It’s a transcendent experience of sharing”, she says. “It’s an out-of-body kind of thing, where the project itself is its own being. And it’s at that point where we align”.

Above: A selection of images taken from across sportscar's work


Reality and Fantasy 

“I come from a background in choreography and movement”, explains C, “which has really fostered this idea of creating a fantasy in your head and figuring out how to express it with the tools of your body. I like to create environments where people can tap out of themselves, out of reality, and into something a little bit deeper”.

Looking back at some of sportscar’s work, it’s easy to see this process bear fruit. Take Hennesy’s More Is Made By The Many campaign, for example, which implores viewers to ‘get into the mindset that there is no one mindset’. It’s clear to see how the imagery used in the ad has its roots in fantasy.

Above: sportscar’s ‘More Is Made By The Many’ ad for Hennesy came out of Droga5.

“I think that anyone who’s seen or experienced a great piece of art describes it in a similar way”, says Lucy, “which is as a kind of transcendent experience, like something reached out to them or channeled through them”.

The ability to create an environment in which those moments happen, then, is something of a goal for sportscar. “Every time we watch one of Lucy’s films, we get a little bit misty because she has this ability to capture moments which are intimately human”, says Ariel. 

“I think one thing that does unite all of us creatively is an interest in reflecting how we navigate the world”, says C. “But that’s an incredibly diverse thing, and it’s important to keep your creative options - and your mind - open when it comes to finding new ways to do that”.


Becoming Radical

Towards the end of 2021, sportscar set off on a new chapter having signed to the roster of RadicalMedia. “First and foremost it was a surreal experience for us, in that we are finding ourselves on a roster alongside people we’ve looked up to and respected for years”, says Ariel. “But the really exciting thing for us is Radical’s clear commitment to storytelling”.

According to all three members of sportscar, it was that primacy of storytelling which was behind the move to join up with RadicalMedia. “Pretty much the first question they asked us was ‘what kind of stories are you interested in telling?’, and that’s been their core concern throughout our whole experience so far”, says Ariel. “That felt like a vote of confidence in our approach. It’s important to us that the company we’re working with shares those larger interests, and is invested in building our voices as filmmakers - individually and collectively. And there’s no doubt in our minds that this applies to Radical”.

Whatever is set to come next, then, sportscar is set to tackle it with their uniquely creative and collaborative approach. “What got us through the early years of our careers was each other”, says C, “and that’s a remarkably strong foundation for a partnership like this.

“Just knowing that you have two of your best friends along for the ride means you know that, whatever else happens, the show will stay on the road”.


Sportscar are repped by RadicalMedia U.K. / Europe and by Florence in the US.

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RadicalMedia Europe, Mon, 17 Jan 2022 15:47:28 GMT