Incu Edition - The Producers Issue
In Conversation with Murray Bell, Founder/Director of Semi Permanent, Kelly Sawdon, Chief Brand Officer at Ace Hotels & Mike Mills, Director & Graphic Designer.
Interview by Elisha Kennedy
Photography by Hugo Sharp, Mike Piscitelli & courtesy of The Ace Hotel.
Murray Bell had just entered an elevator in The Standard Hotel, LA, when Mike Mills first called. “I had been waiting for him to call for over a week,and I was just on my way out of the hotel to the airport to fly home to Sydney,” Bell says, “I had just gotten in the elevator, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were in there too — and my phone rang and it was Mike. I picked up and then it just cut out.” Bell was gutted; he had long admired Mills’ work and a friend had set up the phone call so he could talk to Mills about his design festival, Semi Permanent. “I called back and he answered, he was so relaxed, I was really nervous. He asked what I was up to . . . I totally lied about having a plane to catch and said ‘Nothing’, then he asked if I wanted to have tea with him. I don’t drink tea,” Bell explains, “but I will drink tea for Mike Mills! So I missed my flight and we went out for a cup of tea that evening.”
Such is the nature of collaboration; communication can flow easily or it can be awkward, with technology playing the role of great facilitator or likely hindrance. For longtime friends Murray Bell, Mike Mills and Kelly Sawdon, engaging in collaboration is the cornerstone of their work and the key component of “stuff getting done,” says Bell.