keiji ando at gmail dot com
Hello, my name is Keiji Ando,
and I am a New Yorker.
I was born and raised in DUMBO Brooklyn, of two sculptor parents. One from Japan, another from Panama by way of Jamaica, England, Scotland, and I think Minnesota. We lived in a loft and while I was there we filled it with foreign artists of mostly German or Japanese heritage, a husky, probably around 15 cats of varying styles, 3 Geckos (loose), around 30 Hamsters, about 30 Gerbils, and close to 30 Lovebirds. There were also a bunch of finches, a Garter Snake, a tree frog, 3 turtles in a bathtub, a bunch of fish and at one point an innumerable amount of snails, as they happen to be asexual.
Like any New York kid I spent a lot of time around all kinds of people, irrespective of race, creed, or class. I cut school to play basketball and watch girls smoke cigarettes, write poetry, and pretend to be homeless. I politicked with uptown drug dealers and downtown bluebloods. I've been drawing since I was two, and I was in the Chelsea DIA by middle school. I had work displayed in the Brooklyn and Corcoran Museums in High School, and my senior thesis was stolen out of it's exhibit in College. I was the artist David Ellis' personal assistant for 3 years. After receiving a BFA in Industrial Design I took jobs designing footwear at companies like Reebok, Enyce, and Carter's. I had a pretty good thing going and then I started working in the Ad industry.
I started the Ad game out at Wieden + Kennedy New York, where I was the model for the 822 program, a program designed to deploy multidisciplinary creatives within a more traditional creative department. Subsequently, I was the first member of Wieden + Kennedy New York's creative super group Attack: a small creative team designed to be stronger, better, faster, but most importantly, self-contained and self-directed. I led the group for 2 years, and played many different roles ranging from management to hands-on concept fabrication.
Following Attack I worked at Anomaly New York, where like most creatives there, I was used as a jack-of-all-trades with a bent for design. I worked on a bunch of stuff, but the more publicly memorable works were the Captain Morgan rebrand and Track Your Bud, Budweiser's most ambitious digital project to date.
At some point or another you have to kind of strike out on your path, and when I decided to do that professionally, I ended up freelancing for the New York Times for a bit, working as one of the two creative directors in their marketing department. Working at the Times is kind of a dream for any New Yorker. Bill Cunningham held the door for me. Mark Bittman thought I was stalking him. All of this and I left everyday at 6pm.
But no matter how cool it is to have a personal life, if you're not the kinda person who can really handle time off, eventually you have to be honest with yourself and head back into the void. So I did. I took a quick trip across the country in a 1970 Buick GS (like any good American would), and returned to SoHo, taking on a job at Saatchi & Saatchi New York. There I made my first Super Bowl ad, a buncha stuff for Miller Lite, and was a creative director for Progresso, the famous soup company.
Following Saatchi I headed further into the void, returning to Anomaly NY. There I oversaw the creation of Budweiser's first financially successful social campaign ever and was the creative director on Panera Bread for their re-launch.
When I'm not working on advertising things, I'm grustling it out on some side shit, cooking for my friends, or throwing parties, or both.
I still live in Brooklyn, but have given up leaky lofts for the tenements of Lefferts Garden to better accommodate the lowbrow needs of my eccentric elderly father and my girlfriend, a champion apathetic. The peppers, limes and sorrel are cheap and plentiful here.