George Simhoni

5+ | Franc Madden

by Chris Payne on March 24, 2015

Yep, it is time again for us here at Westside to turn the attention to someone outside our immediate flock and add another installment of our 5+ series.  In this series we ask industry people from all roles to let us in on 5 things keep them inspired and able to relentlessly kick ass.  We wanted to turn the focus towards someone who many of us here at Westside have had the pleasure of working with over the years, the tremendously talented model maker, and all round solid dude, Franc Madden.
Image © Shanghoon
For those who know Franc, none of this will come as a surprise. For those that don’t, here is the deal…
Franc Madden is a problem solver, magician and artist all rolled into one.  He is a tireless craftsman.  He remains calm when under pressure and is a true pleasure to work with.  He always goes the extra mile.
As seen here, while the world around moves quickly around him, Franc still has a sense of humor and an infectious smile. He has been an invaluable part of the photography landscape of many, many, many years.  Here are what a few Westsiders had to say about working with Franc…
“Franc is a Solid and Reliable man, he can basically make anything you request, what more could you ask for?”-  John Stevancec, Producer
“Photography and in particular advertising, is about problem solving.  Model making still plays a vital role and Franc’s experience and skill is invaluable.  Being able to capture the majority of your image in camera is still the best and most simplistic route to success.  Without Franc, I couldn’t do most of my jobs.”- Frank Hoedl, Photographer
“As much as I love working with new technologies like photo manipulation & cgi, sometimes nothing can beat the true craftsmanship of model making.  Franc is my go-to model maker, and I have complete trust in his ability to make ideas come to life. I’ve certainly challenged him to create quirky things for me over the years, including a deflated rubber turkey to a car-shaped popsicle. His extensive knowledge and determination in figuring things out, as well as his easy-going nature, makes him a great working partner and a true inspiration.”- Shanghoon, Photographer
“Franc is a magician. I have never seen anyone else create a magical landscape with broccoli toothpicks and lint.”- George Simhoni, Photographer


Without further adieu, here are Franc Madden’s 5 inspirations.  We hope that they may inspire you as they have inspired him.

1.  Last year some guy “died” for a few minutes on the operating table.  His recall was the familiar out of body thing; he floated euphorically above his life, viewing everything through a misty tunnel.  My first thought was that he was riding a dirt bike, as that is how it feels when you launch one.  I love motocross at all levels, from the top guys down to the kid bouncing around his yard on a jalopy.  The sound, smell and rush of it never gets old.  Racer X Illustrated is the best portal for the sport; not only do they cover the results in real time, they also explore the depths of it, answering the questions we have and reinforcing the family values at it’s core.

Mark Moebius SL70

2.  All the painters from early Juxtapoz.  Robert Williams, Mark Ryden, Ron English, Jim Woodring and especially Todd Schorr. Master draftsmen.  I stare at their work and envy the satisfaction they must feel from their finished pieces.

3.  The Tetra Society.  They take the abilities of inventors and engineers and apply them to specific needs of people with disabilities, an applied science making the most basic functions of life a little easier.  Noble, heartwarming stuff that is genuine.

4.  Daim the graffiti artist.  His work hovers high over all the others with a depth that evades them.

5.  Artists with ideas.  True story; those who know me will think this inclusion is bollocks.  I never speak highly of the arts as a vocation.  I’m jaded as a result of too many people wanting but not doing.  I like challenging projects from people who have done their homework, are using their noggin yet need a problem solved.  Collaboration.  It’s the name of the game in all walks.  My Compadres, I have no competitors, they are allies.  I know many talented people and we feed off one another, exchanging ideas.  Even if I ‘lose’ a job to one of them, I enjoy seeing their resulting build.  It will be so different than my approach, and good.  We all make custom creations on tight deadlines and all work in our own distinct way.


    Archive has love for Westside

    by Alex Beetham on November 7, 2014

    We’re thrilled to have 3 featured campaigns in the upcoming issue of Archive!  Keep your eyes peeled for these winners:

    Some George Simhoni location work in British Columbia for Suburu:

    George Simhoni for Suburu

    George Simhoni for Suburu

    Anthony Redpath had a blast creating these images for PlayLand:




    Last but not least, a Xeomin campaign from Shanghoon:

    Shanghoon_Scissors Shanghoon_Tongs

    Congratulations all around!!


      George Ventures into the Outback for Subaru

      by Alex Beetham on July 21, 2014

      June was a month of relentless travel for George Simhoni. One of his numerous flights landed him in beautiful British Columbia to team up with DDB for some gorgeous work to promote the new 2015 Subaru Outback. A few words from George himself:

      It was a great opportunity to work on the 2015 Subaru Outback campaign with Rebecca and Dom. BC during the summer is a real treat. We usually go there for shoots in the winter and we are dodging rain most of the time. I love bringing people into the mix of car photography because it really kicks up the image and makes them more memorable. I had a wonderful team to help bring these images to fruition, from our photography and digital team, agency team and client. All great to work with.   – George

      George Simhoni_Subaru1 George Simhoni_Subaru2All Images © George Simhoni
      Photographer:  George Simhoni
      Client:  Subaru
      Agency:  DDB
      Associate Creative Director:  Rob Sturch
      Art Director:  Rebecca May
      Copywriter:  Dom Raso
      Producer:  John Stevancec
      Assistants: Sean Best, Mark Cohene, Richard Amies, Mike Phang

      Producer John Stevancec was kind enough to provide a glimpse behind the scenes:


      George Simhoni_Subaru_BTS2

      IMG_4246All BTS Images © John Stevancec


        Western Canada celebrates its heritage through Heritage Park in Calgary – Canada’s Largest Living History Museum. Visitors escape the everyday into a world celebrating the people, animals, and machines that pioneered the west.

        Divided into four areas that each showcase a different time period in Western Canadian history, Heritage Park celebrates its golden jubilee this summer and to help visitors remember to Escape Today, local agency C&B created a fantastic campaign for this western treasure. Calling upon George Simhoni to assist in bringing their vision to life, the man who’s no stranger to Alberta packed his bags and headed west to meet up with Art Director Phil Copithorne.

        For those who’ve never been, the living history museum is located on 127 acres of land that sits within the city of Calgary, and it was with this close proximity in mind that George and Phil went to work.

        © George Simhoni

        © George Simhoni

        © George SimhoniPhotographer: George Simhoni
        Client: Heritage Park Historical Village
        Agency: C&B
        Art Director: Phil Copithorne
        Accounts: Leigh Blakely
        Retouching: Stir Editing
        Producer & 2nd Shooter: John Stevancec
        Assistants: Luke Molliet & Chris Wedman

        Before we blast into some behind the scenes from George’s trip, a preemptive special thanks to everyone at Heritage Park and C&B for helping Producer John Stevancec live out a boyhood dream.
        Now enjoy a look at things on location.

        © John Stevancec

        GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-01 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-02 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-03
        GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-04 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-08


        GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-04 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-08
        GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-05 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-09 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-13



        For more info on how you can get yourself aboard the S.S. Moyie, or one of the many other historically stimulating sights of Heritage Park, give a click to their website and see what’s been keeping people coming for the last 50 years.
        Images © George Simhoni
        BTS Images © John Stevancec & Gabe Nivera


          IN PRINT | REFRAME

          by Matt on January 16, 2014

          As a man who has spent his life capturing, creating, and documenting moments in time, this next project from George Simhoni is very befitting. Teamed with Executive Creative Director Rick Kemp, George was asked to shoot for the Reframe Film Festival. Now in it’s 10th year, the Peterborough based documentary film-fest features award-winning films (and their makers) from around the globe.

          This years festival kicks off at the end of the month and features a strong showing of participants, including Markus Imhoof’s celebrated, More Than Honey. Here’s George to tell you about the project.

          Rick Kemp and I have done some great collaborative work together in the past, so when the opportunity arose it was a no-brainer to team up for the benefit of Reframe. Peterborough might not sound like the most happening location for an International Film Festival, but the event offers much more than just screenings. There are social events, art exhibitions, workshops and more, all aimed at educating and engaging with attendees. We wanted the posters to both create awareness of the festival, as well as promote the value of documentary film in society.

          © George SimhoniPhotographer: George Simhoni
          Client: Reframe Film Festival
          Executive Creative Director: Rick Kemp
          Art Director: Rick Kemp
          Digital Imaging: Mark Tyler
          Designers: Joe Andrus & Randi Pogue
          Backgrounds: Shutterstock
          Producer: John Stevancec
          Assistant: Gabe Nivera

          © George Simhoni

          As usual, on these kinds of assignments, there are opportunities to do something you have not done before and explore new ways of doing things. Locations were out of the question so we went to Shutterstock site to pick some background images to help tell the story. The rest we shot in studio and with the help of the “best” retoucher in Canada – Mark Tyler/ STIR – we composited these images. ~GS

          © George Simhoni

          You can get a lot more info on the Reframe Film Festival and all it has to offer over on their website, so give a click – and if you’re free on the weekend of January 24th – why not check out a flick?
          All Images © George Simhoni



            by Matt on November 13, 2013

            Aiming to provide support for young talent, the RBC Emerging Artists Project is one of many community based initiatives set forth by the Royal Bank of Canada. The project supports a multitude of artistic disciplines ranging from writing to glassmaking and everything in between, but their largest event is their annual painting competition.

            With the support of the Canadian Art Foundation, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition was created in 1999 as a means of providing early stage assistance to emerging painters. Now in its fifteenth year, the competition is the largest in Canada, with this year’s National Winner taking a grand prize of $25K. In celebration of this milestone, RBC looked to Executive Creative Director Anthony Wolch of Entrinsic and George Simhoni to capture a moment with some of the competitions past winners and honorable mentions.

            A quick word from George before the work.

            Anthony and I have created some wonderful work together over the years so it was great to team up again for this newspaper campaign. His vision for the portraits aimed for a painterly feel, wanting to fortify in the ad that for these artists painting is more than just their passion – it’s their life. With each workspace being so unique it was a very interesting project to shoot, so a big thank you to everyone that was involved. ~GS

            2006 Honourable Mention Kim Dorland
            © George Simhoni

            2012 National Winner Vanessa Maltese
            © George Simhoni

            2009 Honorable Mention Sasha Pierce
            © George SimhoniPhotographer: George Simhoni
            Client: RBC Canadian Painting Competition
            Agency: Entrinsic
            Executive Creative Director: Anthony Wolch
            Producer: John Stevancec
            Assistant: Gabe Nivera & Alex Beetham

            As usual George’s assistant Gabe had the Instagram’s flowing during their time on set, so here’s a peek behind the scenes.

            © Gabe Nivera

            © Gabe Nivera

            © Gabe NiveraImages © George Simhoni
            BTS Images © Gabe Nivera



              by Matt on October 28, 2013

              Once upon a time, Nikki Ormerod was George Simhoni’s assistant. Now, several years later, the two are back together, joining powers in their first collaborative job with Nikki handling stills and George in the director’s chair. Working alongside Peter Holmes from Reason Partners, the pair were tasked with creating a fun and energetic campaign for Dulux Canada‘s fall paint colours. We’ll get into the work – but first – a quick word from Dulux.

              Everybody gets paint on their clothes when painting. But who knew it would become a worldwide fashion trend? The Dulux Collection is a fun look at splatter paint fashion, showcasing our fall colour palette on clothes instead of walls.

              Director: George Simhoni
              Photographer: Nikki Ormerod
              Client: Dulux Canada
              Agency: Reason Partners
              Agency President: Jeff Plowman
              Creative Director: Peter Holmes
              DP & Editing: Spot Cinema Inc.
              Hair & Makeup: Jukka & Lisa Vella
              Stylist & Wardrobe: Marie-Eve Tremblay
              Brand Manager: Martin Tustin-Fuchs
              Producer: Tom Nesbitt
              Assistants: Gabe Nivera, Marvin Kwan, Bryan Ulrich, Noel Araquel, & Laura Crowell

              © Nikki Ormerod

              © Nikki Ormerod

              © Nikki Ormerod

              © Nikki Ormerod

              © Nikki Ormerod

              Want to make your own paint splatter shirt but don’t want the mess? Well Dulux has created an app for their Facebook page that will allow you to do just that! After designing your shirt with the Splatter App (seen below), you’ll be given the chance to buy and submit your work to the gallery. Each week a panel of Dulux colour experts will be selecting the t-shirt design they like best and awarding the creator with $100 in gift certificates.


              There’s a staggering amount of BTS images from this shoot so stay tuned as later in the week we’ll give them their very own post! Until then, why not go check out the Splatter App and channel you inner Pollock for the chance to win some free paint!
              Video © George Simhoni
              Images © Nikki Ormerod



                by Matt on October 10, 2013

                As an added bonus to their recently announced partnership with Earth Day Canada, smart Canada has spent the last month donating $10 to the national EcoMentor’s program for every test drive of their smart fourtwo vehicle. To promote this offer and further showcase the eco-friendly motives of smart Canada, BBDO’s Mark Hesse called upon to George to whip up some of that Simhoni magic.

                A little background on the EcoMentors program from smart before we take a look at George’s shot.

                EcoMentors play an essential role in environmental education, and this mandate perfectly complements smart Canada’s mission of helping to make communities more functional, healthier and environmentally compatible. Through this new partnership and other highly successful ongoing initiatives such as the smart city project, smart remains passionately committed to making urban environments cleaner and more sustainable for all.

                © George SimhoniPhotographer: George Simhoni
                Client: smart Canada
                Agency: BBDO Toronto
                Art Director: Mark Hesse
                Producer: John Stevancec
                Retouching: Stir Editing
                Assistant: Gabe Nivera

                We’ll get a look at the shot in layout, but first a bit of behind the scenes.

                © Gabe Nivera© John StevancecGeorgeSimhoni_SmartCar_Poster

                There’s a bunch of great info on the initiatives of the smart city project just waiting to be read over on it’s website, so drop your finger and enjoy the day.

                Image © George Simhoni
                BTS Images © John Stevancec & Gabe Nivera



                  by Matt on September 5, 2013

                  Never one to avoid adapting with the times, George Simhoni has been playing with cinemagraphs recently. Working with the boys from Spot Cinema, George has put together two creative images for your viewing pleasure, and will share some thoughts after we visit this beautiful Italian harbour. Remember to click the image for more detail.

                  © George Simhoni

                  There’s often a disconnect when viewing images online, as if there’s so much available to us we can’t help but look and move on. I wanted to show how the use of a small bit of movement can hold the viewer for a instant longer, while they figure out where the motion occurs. Hopefully creating more time for appreciation before clicking on to that next thing. ~GS

                  © George SimhoniAll Images © George Simhoni


                    IN PRINT | GEORGE’S QUICK TRIP

                    by Matt on August 23, 2013

                    We’ve seen some quick turn around times in our day, but it was only last week that we showed off some behind the scene-stagrams of George Simhoni and crew out in Quebec with Paul Riss from DDB Toronto, and it’s already IN PRINT. The first of two finals premiered in yesterday’s Globe and Mail, so we’re going to hand things over to Producer John Stevancec to let you in on the details.

                    We had just finished up a car shoot for a client on Thursday night, and Friday seems to be a nice quiet day rolling into the weekend when we get a call from Paul Riss at DDB Toronto. Paul tells us we need to shoot 2 car ads early next week, no layouts, just a concept of a “Beautiful Classic Car” shot somewhere in Canada of our choice! Wow we thought, this is going to be an awesome job!

                    We hit the ground running, calling all our contacts across the country from Newfoundland to Victoria looking for reference photos. The Subaru Legacy is a classy sedan that needed a location to match, and we had many amazing choices, but the one that really stood out for us was Québec City.

                    © Gabe Nivera © Gabe Nivera

                    One of the choice locations was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So how do you gain access to a World Heritage Site over the weekend because you want to shoot a car there on Wednesday you might ask? Good connections! Our awesome location scout, Madame Brown Productions, were able to make it happen and secure the location for us, not just for one sunrise shot, but for 2 days just incase of bad weather!

                    © Gabe Nivera © Gabe Nivera

                    © Paul Riss

                    Oh, did I mention the weather? It basically rained on us from 4:00am to 6:30am while we were setting up, then the sky miraculously opened up and let in the most beautiful light on our location. George took that as a sign to dry off the car as quickly as possible and start shooting as much as he could before the rain started again… at 7:00am. We got the shot, everyone was happy, client, agency, and George!

                    We then wrapped for the morning and went for breakfast, then off to our second location for the day, that was a sunset shot, and a whole different story, so until next time here’s a look at George’s final image. ~ JS

                    © George SimhoniPhotographer: George Simhoni
                    Client: Subaru
                    Agency: DDB Toronto
                    Associate Creative Director: Paul Riss
                    Producer: John Stevancec
                    Assistant: Gabe Nivera

                    A big thanks to John for giving some insight to the team’s time in Québec City, and as well to Paul Riss for giving the boys some freedom with their location selection. For those in need of some more BTS images, give a click back to last weeks TGIW, where you might even get a glipse of shot number 2′s location.

                    Image © George Simhoni
                    BTS Images © Gabe Nivera & Paul Riss