Damian Fyffe takes his 'art' to the worldFriday, December 15, 2017
BY KEVIN JACKSON
WHEN the nominees for the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards were announced in July, Jamaican Damian Fyffe had reason to celebrate. One of the videos he worked on, Wild Thoughts by DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, was nominated for Best Art Direction.
“Well, obviously I was elated when I got the news. I have been working so hard for many years in this business. An art director/production designer doesn't always get credit for creating the look of a video. To be recognised on such a large plateau was a great feeling. I have a strong team that works with me and we were all very excited and proud of this nomination,” Fyffe, 38, told Splash.
Spencer Graves eventually won the category for Kendrick Lamar's Humble.
Although directing music videos is his passion, Fyffe also works as an art director/production designer.
“I have always wanted to be in the entertainment business for as long as I could remember. Working on set as an art director put me in front of the right people to be able to pitch my true passion of directing,” said the Miami-based Fyffe. “I studied film and television at Miami Dade College. Got an Associate in Science degree and transferred to the real school. Being on set and starting from the bottom as an intern, I decided not to finish college and just get started. Didn't need two more years of school to learn what I learned on set.”
“Experience, knowledge and relationships are more important than any bachelor's (degree) in film,” he added.
Fyffe moved to Florida at a young age but maintained close ties to his homeland by way of regular visits. The first music video he worked on was Buju Banton's Paid Not Played which was directed by Gil Green.
“Gil Green is a longtime friend and mentor. He gave me my first opportunity on a set as an intern. He introduced me to this industry. That night I had an epiphany... I decided that I wanted to work on set in the freelance film industry,” he recalled. “A few weeks later I took a pretty big risk and quit my job at Channel 10 news (in Miami). I was a video editor at the time. Editing boring news clips. I knew from the beginning that my passion was somewhere else.”
Among his credits as a music video director are Tenement Yard by Inner Circle and Chronixx (he co-directed), Smooth Sailing by Trick Daddy and Trina, In My Feelings by Virgin Islands R&B singer Verse Simmonds, and recently God Know by Kalash featuring Mavado.
“One of my favourite videos to direct was In My Feelings by Verse Simmonds because of the artistic idea behind it. I wrote an interesting and artistic concept and they went with it. Not every artiste will allow you to create something for them that they haven't seen before,” said Fyffe.
He has also worked on videos for Pit Bull, Fat Joe, General Degree, Nyanda and Tanto Metro and Devonte.