Paul Kayser is. The ex-advertising creative director is known for his Kiwiana classics like the Watties Tomato Sauce ad, and now he’s known for something else: being an all-round clever bastard.
Or head bastard to be official, leading the team behind Clever Bastards. The clever idea is to round up the clever artistic types we have knocking round the country and tell their stories before showing and selling off their wares. “So many galleries display art in this austere kind of environment that you don’t get any clue about the artist,” says Kayser. “We wanted to change that.”
As an adman, he knows stories are important—and that not every artist realises that. “When I was in advertising I worked with all these talented but struggling artists on different jobs. Their audience was limited to people walking past their shop because they didn’t know about marketing themselves.”
The Clever Bastards take care of that. Designed to feel like a peek over the fence at what the creative guy next door might be up to in his backyard shed, Kayser says: “We want New Zealanders to do what we were always best at, talking to our neighbours, meeting strangers, sharing a yarn and sometimes doing business.
“We used to be mildly self-conscious, then we realised where our roots really lay. New Zealanders now have a passion for their own country and the talent in it.”
After all, what Kiwi wouldn’t love Watties Tomato Sauce, fabric artists, ceramic artists, creative upcyclers, songwriters and assorted other local clever bastards?