2 Minutes With ... Frauke Tiemann, ECD at David&Goliath

The German creative's adventures in America

Frauke Tiemann joined David&Goliath in 2018 and was recently promoted to executive creative director.

She was born and raised in Osnabrück, Germany, and has lived and worked in Berlin, Dusseldorf, New York City, San Francisco, London and Los Angeles. Frauke studied film, photography and art before earning her master's degree in graphic design.

After starting her career in Germany, she had a wild-eyed dream to move to New York to be an art director there. She's worked in the U.S. ever since, and has had the privilege of working on some epic brands—Xbox, Jaguar, Reebok, Sony, Land Rover, Maserati, Microsoft and Kia, to name just a few.

We spent two minutes with Frauke to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.


Frauke, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Osnabrück, a university town in Northern Germany. I studied film, photography and graphic design at Dortmund University. Then moved to NYC to start my U.S. advertising career. Currently, I live in Los Angeles with my daughter (Robin), my husband (Aryan) and my French bulldog (Igor).

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

My only career ambition at a young age would have been to "acquire a job where I get to ride horses." It didn't quite work out that way. But no regrets.

How you discovered you were creative.

Through spending time with my "Oma" (Grandma). We always made things together. Music. Art. Furniture. Handmade toys. We even wrote plays. She lived in my house, growing up. And was a big inspiration to me.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

Prince. He was my creative idol growing up. I think he played 27 instruments. Maybe even more. He wore all these cool outfits. His music was so multifaceted. He seemed different than any other musician. Still does.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life. 

I had a very good friend at university who died. I suppose that's stereotypically morbid and German of me. But that's the moment I realized how ephemeral life could be. And that you have to make it count.

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

My first concert was Marc Almond. He was the lead singer of a band named Soft Cell. Remember "Tainted Love"? That was Marc. I saw him play in some little, backwoods club in Germany. So good!

My all-time favorite band is Radiohead. It probably always will be. Their music is timeless and has really held up over the decades. Radiohead's music is not just good. It's smart. And has gotten more sophisticated as time goes on.

Your favorite visual artist.

Wow, tough question! It's got to be between Basquiat and the Spanish painter Antoni Tàpies. Both left a bold legacy and a body of insanely good work. 

Your favorite fictional character.

Yoda. I've always appreciated his wise, Zen-like approach to life.

The best book you've read lately.

Reading books? Ha! That takes me back! Not sure I've been able to read an entire book since the birth of my daughter. I loved The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Total mindbender. And anything Kafka. I've been re-reading my Kafka collection lately. It makes the real world seem less strange by comparison.

Your favorite movie.

Blade Runner, hands down, unsurpassed.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

Banksy. Never ceases to surprise. 

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

It definitely means longer hours. At the same time, I feel lucky to be as busy as I am. A lot of people are out of work, as we all know. It's been heartening to watch D&G pull together through all this. And realize that a group of like-minded people can create great work, despite it all.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

I worked on a project for the JVC Jazz Festival. And got to meet the likes of Dave Brubeck. Herbie Hancock. Maceo Parker. B.B. King. Eric Clapton. Sting. It was unreal!

Your favorite creative project from the past year. 

Probably our 2020 Kia Super Bowl campaign with Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who grew up homeless. What he went through and what he achieved is nothing short of astounding. Kia agreed to donate $1 million to homeless youth on the Super Bowl itself. Then doubled down with another million when Covid-19 hit. Connecting the kind of work I want to make with a strong, purpose-based core made it all worthwhile.

Kia | Tough Never Quits
Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

"Dreaming With Jeff Bridges" for Squarespace out of Wieden + Kennedy New York. Incredibly weird and interesting. Very unexpected and connected to a good cause as well.

Someone else's creative project that you admired lately.

Audi "Clowns" from BBH London. Such rich, visual storytelling that ladders up to a universal truth. I'm sure it was a grind to concept and create. But it feels just effortless.

Your main strength as a creative person.

It's an instinct business. I think my instincts are fairly solid.

Your biggest weakness. 

Being too honest. To a fault. I'm not that great with varnishing the truth. I think it's partially a cultural thing as well. Not just in Germany but in Europe generally, people seem to say things more just as they are. We don't beat around the bush much.

One thing that always makes you happy.

My daughter.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Ignorance.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Music. 

2 Minutes With is our weekly interview series, publishing every Wednesday, where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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