Ezra Petronio Phaidon

Ezra Petronio on the changing nature of art direction

Ezra Petronio has worked with everyone from Glossier to Gucci during his three-decade career. As he releases his debut monograph, he discusses why the rapid acceleration of creativity is also the biggest barrier to making great work today

“Great image-making and art direction are about embracing the idea that the finality is the sum of many parts — the perfect juxtaposition and blending of various ingredients and talents,” writes Ezra Petronio in his self-titled debut monograph, which spans his storied career in the creative industries.

The role of an art director is inherently multifaceted; it requires juggling the visual language of a project with being able to articulate your ideas clearly to a team and then executing the creative vision to make the finished product – be it a film, ad, magazine, or book cover.

Ezra Petronio Phaidon
Top: Miu Miu SS08 advertising, photography: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styling: Joe McKenna, hair: Luigi Murenu, makeup: Lucia Pieroni, talent: Kirsten Dunst, creative direction: Suzanne Koller; Above: Comme Des Garçons Parfums packaging, still life photography: Mathieu Boutang and Philippe Lacombe

Petronio is best known as the founder and art director behind creative agency Petronio Associates, which has worked with brands such as Chanel and Comme des Garçons along with some of the biggest names in fashion. But he’s also an avid photographer, the founder of digital agency Content Matters, and has served as editor-in-chief and creative director of cult biannual fashion magazine, Self Service, since 1994.