Ilya Rozhdestvensky
Creative Executive
Modernista Advertising Agency, Boston

(interviewed by Gil Cunha, senior, School of Visual Arts, for Artist As Citizen)


  1. What is my position at Modernista?
    Nobody knows.

    But I’m in charge of basically hiring people, finding talent, and growing company right way, from the start.

    For the first three years I did new business for Modernista. I was personally involved in acquisitions of the key accounts we have right now. Including Hummer, Converse, and MTV.



  1. What do I want people to know about my job?

    Well, advertising is marketing plus playground. If you take one element out of this equation, things kind of start falling apart. So we think that we’re creating a new model, where the art part of it – let’s say the playground part of it – is in a sense more important than the business part of it. Even though we’re taking care of business really well as well.

    We think Modernista is a new model. We try to accumulate as much talent as possible, from all over the world.

    We try to stay truly global. Uhm. And we just try to sustain the culture.

    What do I want people to know about Modernista?
    That we do great work! And we’re actually having fun.

  1. What I think…Hummer has a relationship with the oil industry?
    That’s sort of kind of expected but trivial question. We get it a lot from all over the place.

    I think all the cars in this world are driven by gas. So Hummer’s not an exception. In a sense it’s a brand which represents maybe US foreign policy very marginally, as a matter of fact.

    GM did a really smart move buying the brand, and I think it wasn’t their intention to make a statement out of it. But it’s sort of hard not to when you see the same cars, or the same wheelbase car on the news every day.

    But I mean what happens with Hummer could be translated to anything. You know, you have people think that Hummer represents evil but we don’t really think that way.

    The sneakers made from rubber from Congo. Your cereal is made from wheat from Brazil, from the poorest part of the world.

    In this current situation the world becomes really small, and the US represents probably the biggest empire. You know, boss is always wrong.

    So Hummer’s the biggest car – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it represents evil.

    How does it connect to oil industry? It’s driven by gas.