Living in LA for the past decade, one thing that I learned is that there is always a brand activation and marketing event happening. I mean from Monday through Sunday, there are more ways than one for someone to step out to interface with a cool brand while they have an open bar, red carpet experience and socialize with a handful of influencers and beautiful people that simply just stand around and stare at each other. And as lovely as this sounds, the truth of the matter is, it gets old and you find yourself singing, “No More Parties In LA”, just like Kanye West prescribed.
For all of these reasons and more, I was wildly captured and impressed to be introduced to the bold and progressive Founder and Creative Director of the Wonderland, Ryan Jordan. It was indeed refreshing to learn that if you attend a Wonderland event, you will not be twiddeling your thumbs because you will be engaged and the compulsory interactive experience will inspire you to be alive and actually participate in what is going on around you. We call that presence!
Mr. Jordan is a creative guru, who gives his best and there is no doubt that Jordan is here to take events, brand activations and life to an incredibly innovative, new level. He recently just completed an Audi activation, where it was all about the LED light sensory experience and the wonder that lies within neon and lasers. To find out more about Wonderland’s Audi brand partnership and learn how this natural born Capricorn leader, Jordan, is pushing the boundaries and at the helm of the creation of insanely cool event marketing concepts, check out the video and interview below. For all of those visionaries out there, you are sure to be inspired!
💜Love & Light🌞,
Cristen M. Mills
HoC: Describe your background. What was your childhood like?
Ryan Jordan: I grew up in England, my childhood was quite bohemian. My mom was very liberal. I was surrounded by unique individuals that were a weird juxtaposition of older, well-to-do, wealthy adults and cool, creative, street kids.
I guess my childhood is unique in that I left school at 15. I never went to college either. I always knew what I wanted to do, so at a young age, I got a job as a runner at a media company and worked my way up the ladder.
HoC: Who are you? What is your purpose on the planet?
Jordan: If I had the answer to this, I’d probably have way less sleepless nights. The truth is, I’m a work in progress and ever evolving. I learn new things about myself all the time and I welcome that. I’m inspired by creativity and often feel unexpected life moments shape who I am.
As for my purpose on the planet.. there’s one thing I can speak to with certainty and it’s that I’m here to do my best, whether that be as a son, friend, boss, colleague, mentor, artist, comedian, listener, stylist etc.
HoC: What inspired you to be a creative director?
Jordan: From a young age I’ve always been interested in all forms of culture and creativity. I remember asking for vinyl records for Christmas instead of toys at the age of 6.
There’s something very rewarding for me in creating and getting to do that with amazing brands and inspiring, talented people; even better!
HoC: Why did you desire to be the creative director for The Wonderland?
Jordan: I’m a Capricorn so a I’m born leader!
The main inspiration was so I could have more control over the creative concepts and push boundaries, to be more creative and be truly experiential.
After 20 years in the industry I’m still as passionate about design, events and experiential marketing as I was the day I started. Plus, I’m a very visual person and always have a distinct idea in my mind so as Creative Director, it allows me to combine those together to inspire the team and help them grow as creatives.
HoC: It looks like you put a lot of thought into the philosophy of the brand also. How would you describe the philosophy of your brand and what process did you go through to create that philosophy?
Jordan: A lot of the process was more to do with thinking about what we didn’t want the agency to be.
Wonderland is about story telling, it’s about creating experiences and evoking emotions – it’s a fluid space that constantly evolves and changes in tandem with pop culture insights, cultural trends and consumer behavior.
Everyone wants to be in Wonderland!
HoC: What was the most important reality you learned as a result of seeing your vision for The Wonderland all the way through?
Jordan: Every day is a hustle!
HoC: What role does authenticity play in your work?
Jordan: A huge part. We work on such a wide range of clients from luxury, to automotive to fashion and art institutes, which I love but it’s vital to me that we are always being authentic, staying true to ourselves and to the brands we are engineering experiences for.
HoC: How do you define Art? What role does Art play in the evolution of you as a human being?
Jordan: Art to me is something that is inspiring.
Art surrounds us, it’s part of our every day lives and creative process. It inspires so many of my ideas. It could be something visual that I see walking down the street to some form of weird data.
HoC: What does success look like for The Wonderland?
Jordan: For me, it’s all about the work. Delivering interesting and unique work that’s relevant to the brand and audience. I love seeing consumers or guests engaging and interacting with our work. Seeing the impact it has and the emotions it evokes, immersing them into a world.
Also, success for me is about having the opportunity to work with artists I admire and discover talented people that inspire me. During my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with Bono, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Urs Fischer, Alex Wang and Matthew Rolston while discovering brilliant emerging talent that go on to become part of the wonder-team.
HoC: How do you qualify success in your life in general?
Jordan: Always staying true to myself and knowing that my work has integrity.
HoC: What Artists inspire you the most now and why?
Jordan: Tracey Emin has been a huge inspiration throughout my life and continues to do so through her raw and unfiltered emotion (which is hard to find these days). Plus, I’m known for using neon within my work which is often inspired by a Tracey Emin piece.
I’m really into Jordan Wolfson right now. His work is thought-provoking and I am inspired by his use of different mediums: media, including video, sculpture, installation, photography, and performance.
From a design perspective, I love the lines, colors and patterns Camille Walala works with and the way she applies it to different surfaces and materials.
HoC: What advice can you give aspiring creative directors and entrepreneurs?
Identify what your good at and passionate about and figure out how to make it niche and part of your every day life/job.
If you don’t know something or don’t have a certain skill set, surround yourself with people that do.
HoC: If you could change one thing on this planet, what would it be and how would you dare to change it?
Jordan: If I could wish one thing for future generations it would be kindness.
HoC: What is love and how does it shape your life?
Jordan: To quote Tracey Emin: “Those who suffer, love.”
HoC: What is the meaning of life?
Jordan: Finding happiness and inspiring others.
HoC: What should we expect next from you?
Jordan: A pop-up restaurant where all the food is 3D printed!
HoC: What is the heART of cool to you?
Jordan: The Wonderland!
HoC: What was the inspiration of the Audi activation?
Jordan: Mainly the LED technology at the core of the Audi brand and partly my obsession with neon and lasers. It was imperative to us, we create an interactive experiences that pushes the boundaries through audience participation.
HoC: What did you learn?
Jordan: Good things come to those who wait. 🙂
HoC: How and Why did Audi and The Wonderland brands collide?
We both share a love of art and LED technology so it was a match made in heaven.