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10th June 2024
Push It Good
Title of film: Vans, Lizzie Armanto Always Pushing
Director: Claire Arnold
Production Company: La Pac
Cultivating an artistic sensibility from childhood, Claire Arnold followed her natural curiosity about “how things were made” to every corner of the creative industry – from agency-side to production and editing - and beyond, into editorial and party-planning. A genuine multi-hyphenate, she credits her impressive body of work that spans music videos, docu-style shorts, branded content and commercials to a 360-degree approach that’s inspired more by the message than the medium. Off the back of her latest docu-short for Vans – a blistering-paced, ‘90s-inspired homage to skateboarding icon Lizzie Armanto - she tells 1.4 about changing people’s opinion through entertainment and why she won’t create just for the sake of it

Vans, Lizzie Armanto Always Pushing

As a filmmaker and creative director, you’re known for working with brands and artists to create boundary-pushing work with cultural impact. Do you come from a creative family?

I was always into art and creating as a child and in school.  My dad studied art history and was an art director in the 80s, my mum is naturally quite ‘crafty’ and danced. Art was always around and up for discussion at home. I was always surrounded by storyboards and ideas, talking about concepts and direction was very much part of our childhood, my cousins and I would always make plays. I originally thought I wanted to be a fashion designer and loved drawing too as a kid. I’m very lucky that both my parents really cultivated and encouraged creativity in both me and my sister as kids. It was our mutual passion as a family.

i-D x Versace Jeans Courture, i-n My World

Can you describe your career journey so far – and particularly how your former role as Associate Commercial Creative Director of i-D, has helped develop your creative aesthetic and/or influence your work as a director and editor?

I was always curious about how things were made, so I have worked in many corners of the creative industry. My first job was as a runner on T4 and Popworld in the UK, then I worked as a runner in an editing company. Seeing the tail end of creative process, I felt I wanted to be on set, so then I was a runner/PA in production. Then I got curious about writing ads, so went on to do internships and got my first job as an art director at Sid Lee, which was a multidisciplinary agency that had everything from an architecture department to design as well as creative. I was so excited to work in such a multidisciplinary place as it truly fitted the way I believed about creativity – I was too ‘hybrid’ for traditional agencies, and this agency was really ahead of its time.

When I worked at i-D, this was a space that also believed in this kind of work. We worked on a two-year programme of artist commissions for Chanel, working with female artists across multiple disciplines, which was such a beautiful project. To this day, the work we created really represents my 360-degree thinking and approach to talent curation on projects to create unlikely collaborations and new thinking for brands and artists.

With credits that span music videos, docu-style shorts, branded content and commercials, do you consider yourself genuinely genre-agnostic? What are your drivers to taking on a particular project?

I do, I feel inspired by the message more than the ‘medium’ and like for my work to take on whatever form is necessary to the creative idea. It could be a video, it could be an exhibition, it could be a song. My drivers are storytelling, collaboration, the opportunity to entertain and creatively challenge things.

Nike, Own the Floor

Working between projects as diverse as Nike’s global dance movement Own The Floor, to Ashnikko’s Drunk With My Friends, what does your creative process look like? Are you often working to briefs, or do concepts arise more organically or collaboratively?    

I guess in hindsight, while these projects feel individually different, as time goes on they represent the universe I inhabit and the kind of projects and creative processes that interest me. I’m always inspired by music, and this is a big part of how I creatively get excited or set an aesthetic for the work I’m making. It reflects the energy and the attitude and then I get ideas from there. I love weaving new technologies or approaches into my work to bring my ideas to life – and also working with pioneers in their respective fields.

Tell us a bit about your recent International Women’s Day project for Van’s, a doc-style short about female skateboarder Lizzie Armanto. What appealed to you about the job, and how did you go about conveying Lizzie’s trailblazing status in what’s traditionally seen as a male-dominated sport? 

Lizzie. She is a quiet storm in the world of skating. I loved getting to know her and felt very inspired to collaborate with her on her story. Vans have played a huge part in galvanising a platform for her voice to be heard. I love the challenge in projects where something hasn’t been said before or the opportunity to transform someone’s opinion on something through entertainment.

Cardi B, Like What

You’ve also recently shot a music video for Cardi B, co-directing alongside her husband Offset and his Creative Director SheShe (who you previously worked with on the video for Code) – how did the opportunity arise and what was the co-directing dynamic like in practice? 

I have continued to work with that team since Code and believe so much in their DIY approach to pushing every moment to the max with the resources they have. SheShe is a force who is always pushing Offset’s creative vision further. Cardi B is a hero of mine and when they asked if I would jump on (at the very last minute), I said yes! Co-directing is always a process, as it is a true collaboration of taste and opinion, so the final product will always be very different to when you are the sole director. I was happy to be a part of this moment for the team.

Cardi B, Like What

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular style or aesthetic to your work – you seem equally at home capturing a quickfire, rough-and-ready BTS doc at fashion week, or a hyper-crafted anime animation for Ashnikko. Who or what inspires you? How do you stay tapped into culture, particularly when it’s moving at the breakneck pace of social media? 

People inspire me. Whether it’s a designer, artist, club night, CG artist, friend, it doesn’t really matter – it’s people’s philosophies and creative attitudes which really inspires me the most. I guess I do all the usual things: exhibitions, films, etc but also I love to get lost in my own wormholes online. I love archives and looking back at things. I’m often in a library setting, looking at abstract things to create new narratives in my thinking. I love philosophy. The world is full of inspiration – even in the most unexpected places. I’m deeply drawn to photography, buildings, design, and technology. And music inspires me in a very fundamental way.

Ashnikko, Drunk With My Friends

Are there any topics or techniques you’re particularly interested in exploring in future projects?

AI – of course. I think technology is always fascinating. I used to run parties. I love working in the physical space creating moments IRL. I would love to do more stage shows, runways etc, now that we are outside again. There’s so much possibility to explore and surprise here.

One day I’m hoping to make a feature – I’m always in my notes app. But I don’t want to make things for the sake of things, only to add my voice in a relevant way.

Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline?

I am working with an artist on their new era. It’s very different from what they’ve done before. I love the challenge and the plot twist in a project like this. Subverting people’s expectations and breaking new ground through collaborations. I’m really excited for her to be recognised in her own right creatively and to build a universe that truly represents her voice and the things she wants to say. These are the things I love to be part of as a director and creative director/collaborator. Getting to the truth of a person and creatively unlocking something unique.


Interview by Selena Schleh




La Pac website


Cardi B, Like What

Director: Offset

Creative Director: Patience Foster 

Co-Directors: She She Pendleton, Claire Arnold

Producer: Maya Table, Notion 

Prod. Co: J3K Logistics

1st AD: E Class

DP: Brian Beckwith

Art Director: Julian “Millie” Doster

Editor: Mikey Rare

Promo Editor: Hiesenberg

Post producer: Edgar Daniel, Maya Table

Colorist: Loren White

VFX: Max Colt

Stylist: Kollin Carter

Stylist Assistant: Juan Ortiz

Hair Stylist: Tokyo Stylez

MUA: Erika La’Pearl