Art + Culture

Q+A: Creative Chaos

If you’ve taken a walk down Jay Street, you may have noticed the photoshoots commonplace on the ground floor storefront of 28 Jay. This is the home of Creative Chaos, an agency recognized across the globe for their expertise and innovative approach to creative services for production, casting and event design. We sat down recently with Scott Kraenzlein, the Managing Director, to explore what truly happens behind the agency’s glassy industrial facade.

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How did Creative Chaos get started?

Creative Chaos began its life in 1996, and was originally founded by Jenny Friedberg who formally was an talent agent at Art & Commerce. Initially she provided services to a number of Italian publications based here in NYC coordinating and managing their photoshoots and casting. Around the same time Creative Chaos began a relationship with H&M which is ongoing to this day. We produce a substantial number of their key campaigns here in the US and abroad.

There are a number of other well-known fashion and luxury brands we work with amongst them Max Mara, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan Tory Burch and David Yurman. We also cater to a number of advertising and design agencies stateside and Europe. A large number of our clients outside of the US are attracted by the professionalism and highly rated production, vendor and talent resources New York City has to offer. While production services are a cornerstone of our business we also provide casting as well as creative services and Art buying for both still and motion production.

Through our recently established subsidiary Subject Matter we also provide production services aimed at brands who require high volume quality content for their online channels.

We also rent out our space as a location for photoshoots and and work with a number of Friendly Productions who use the space for staging when working on a photoshoot or motion shoot here in the neighborhood. We have also hosted a number of events here for brands like ETSY as well as for classes staged by Equinox leading up to the opening of their DUMBO outpost.

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On any given day, what might be happening in this space?

We always have castings which are ongoing, which you can see. There’s a lot of prep work that goes into producing these shoots, they’re fairly extensive both in size and in budget so there’s a lot of interaction and a lot of people coming and going. It’s a sort of hive of activity you can say.

We also enjoy working with young people, and we’ve made it our goal to employ 3-4 interns on a regular basis who we groom to eventually work with us in a freelance or a full time capacity once they are fully trained. Investing in our community and bringing diversity to our area of expertise is very important to us.

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What’s it like being in storefront space?

It gives great access to the public and gives the opportunity on some level to interact with our surroundings a little bit more. While we’re B2B and not a consumer business It’s a great space in a fantastic location that our clients love to come and visit as it’s somewhat different to what they’re used to.

What are the advantages to being in DUMBO?

I think the location has a really nice buzz to it, it’s a place where there are a lot of creative agencies setting up shop here in the neighborhood. It’s easily accessible with the subway lines coming directly from the city to DUMBO, and of course the space that you get is more for your dollar than you would get in Manhattan. The area itself is deeply rooted in history, many movies are shot here- Once Upon a Time in America was shot right outside our storefront there and you can often see the tourists set up and take pictures. It makes it a really interesting environment for us in terms of creative and inspiration.

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Favorite spot in DUMBO?

I really like the new little park that allows you to walk out, just at the end of the street [John Street section of Brooklyn Bridge Park]. It’s nice to go out and just look at the East River and watch ships passing by, it’s kind of quite interesting. It’s a great place to walk through too, I find that the historical surroundings are personally very interesting with the architecture of the bridges and streets- there’s a lot to catch the eye here.