We caught up for a corporate tete-a-tete with Brad Siegel and Joey Reiman at Siegel’s Buckhead brownstone, which has the feel of a Mediterranean villa. Siegel and Reiman co-founded Brand New World Studios. Both are master marketers, producers and storytellers whose partnership culminated in the production of films that articulate how businesses can make more money while achieving purpose.
Reiman is a prolific author, Emory professor and advertising guru who sold his pioneering global consultancy BrightHouse in 2015. “Years ago I started the tsunami called ‘corporate purpose’ of businesses making money to improve lives. Now everyone wants to know the ‘why.’”
Siegel was president of Turner Entertainment Networks for TBS, where he created Turner Classic Movies and launched Adult Swim. He had a raucous and varied career including starting a gospel music channel in 2004. In a 2008 story in The Wall Street Journal, Siegel said cable company operators and potential advertisers wondered, “What’s a nice Jewish boy like you doing in a place like this [gospel industry]?”Not to mention that he was president of Washington, D.C., based “TV One” channel for African Americans.
Siegel and Reiman are somewhere between Lucas and Spielberg, hydrogen and oxygen. The ever-clever wordsmith, Reiman said, “In our case one 1+1 = 11.”
We caught up with them between skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, and film production in Germany and Austria.
Read more about these two in this week’s Lowdown feature.
Meanwhile, take a tour of the Siegel collection.
Jaffe: How would you describe what art is speaking here?
Siegel: I would call it an assemblage of a lifestyle of collecting based purely on what my wife Jill and I love.
A good bit of the quality photography is tied into the music specials I produced including TNT’s “All Star Tribute to Burt Bacharach” as well as tributes to John Lennon and The Beach Boys’ Bryan Wilson at Radio City Music Hall.
In the family room we have black and white photography of Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Brian Wilson, James Brown, Thelonious Monk, my friend David Sanborn, jazz saxophonist, and the very telling group shot of the cast from the last episode of “Seinfeld.”
Jaffe: What are some of the other spectacular shows you have produced?
Siegel: I did four shows at The White House you may have heard of, …”Very Special Christmas” as well as tributes to Ray Charles and gospel music.
Jaffe: What artists do you collect?
Siegel: That’s a wide swath. The entrance displays a collection of wood soldiers from South Africa and Malawi when I was on the board of UNICEF.
Many are local like Radcliffe Bailey, an African American mixed-media artist whose works are in the permanent collect at the Smithsonian and Metropolitan museums, Helen Durant, Ab the Flagman, who started as Fay Gold’s installer, and Steve Penley, who just opened a gallery blocks from here.
Local artist Tracey Hartley creates furniture from salvaged and recycled materials that have a distressed and primitive feel known as “urban southern art.” We commissioned him to jazz up the fantastical piano that was a boring old- fashioned eyesore brown wood number from my wife Jill’s childhood. We like that this is all in the front brick floored lobby atrium with dramatically high ceilings and an open-air feeling, to be able to place exciting vertical art compositions.
A few pieces like Joe Peragine’s “Rabbit” are from the Trinity School art auction.
Jaffe: What are some of the unusual works here?
Siegel: In the living room we treasure this huge David Bierk bordered in actual dusted rust. Bierk, a Canadian, is an appropriator of Old Masters, in this case Vermeer. The opposite wall houses a large Todd Murphy “Wedding Dress.”
The cobalt blue Radcliffe Bailey is a reclaimed door from a legendary blues artist’s house in New Orleans.
The pair of encaustics in my office is by Tony Hernadez who had an emotional reckoning with the Holocaust when he found out that his Spanish ancestors were indeed Jewish. You can see the numbers on their arms, the trains, the children. He has also done iconic album covers for the rock band Train.
The dining room furniture is Philippe Starck, known for his minimalistic and ergonomic style. The oil is by Spanish painter Astolfo Funes.
We have a fun diptych from our trip to Israel by Ketti Camus ( October 2017) of a goofy Albert Einstein and John Lennon. The Camus Gallery there, “Art & Soul,” represents 18 generations of Safed sabras.
I was gifted this Mike Luckovich (Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) stand up of Paul McCartney playing the guitar by my friend Rob Epstein.
The series of Helen Durant’s going up the staircase utilizes a lot of crimson and canine frivolity and is composed of wine labels. She is typically known for her depiction of animals.
Jaffe: Sentimental things?
Siegel: Our kids, Casey, Jake and Griffin, did the blue dog triptych in the folk art room. Pretty special and authentic looking. The painting in the master bedroom of the older ladies having tea has a fun history. When Jill and I were just married, we were short on money, but knew we wanted that painting. We bought it on a monthly pay plan over a few years. The gallery owner is Israeli war correspondent Jacob Elbaz.
Jaffe: What about you as a gourmet chef?
Siegel: I am a devotee of Frank Pellegrino, the famous New York Italian restaurant. My favorite guide is “Rao’s Cookbook” based on the 100-year-old eponymous 10-table restaurant in east Harlem.
I make an outrageous pasta Italian seafood stew and linguine vongole.
Jaffe: If you could wake up tomorrow and find one thing in your living room, what would it be?
Siegel: A box of hand-rolled Alec Bradley cigars.