Compelling stories and spellbinding visuals characterize the diverse commercial films of Marie Hyon, a founder and director of Psyop. She has unleashed her vision on content such as LG “Something’s Lurking,” which earned them a Gold CLIO for Directing. It’s a whimsically dramatic spot and what could easily be a scene from an animated blockbuster, depicting frightened kids at the mercy of dangerous dust and allergen sharks who lurk in their carpet. Cut to MTV HD “Crow,” a PromaxBDA winner that unfolds like a lithograph hauntingly coming to life. It features an exquisite photo-real crow, its flock and a forest, all boldly and precisely amplified much like HD. And most recently, Marie has directed spots for La Mer, Otto, Facebook and Apple.
Marie was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn when she was 9. Female and an immigrant, she battled her way through ensuing challenges but walked away all the wiser. She got hooked on the street culture of New York City – tactile, disruptive, inspirational – and landed at Parsons School of Design where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. Next came jobs as an editorial illustrator at pubs including the New York Times and Atlantic Monthly, and a run as a designer/art director at Nickelodeon and MTV Networks. In 2000, she was one of five co-founders of Psyop which started in a small storefront in New York’s East Village and is today an industry-leading integrated production company with offices in both Los Angeles and New York.
Among the first to break through in commercials as a director/designer, Marie melds design, animation and live action to create atmospheric, colorful and emotional content. Inspired by the work of filmmakers like Wong Kar-wai, Ang Lee and Darren Aronofsky, Marie shares their ability to create empathy by transporting audiences into the heart and soul of the scene. Otto “The Letter,” an animated short via Heimat, Berlin, depicts a world-weary postman who rises up to fulfill the childhood Christmas wish of a boy made long ago. Its accolades include a Gold CLIO and Gold for animation and special effects at Golden Award of Montreux in 2016. In poignant branded content for Airbnb and Belonganywhere.com, a former East Berliner’s animated “Wall and Chain” of the Berlin Wall is the perfect means to illustrate the residue of an oppressive regime. Via VCCP Berlin, the commercial garnered widespread praise in the press and picked up a Webby and ADC award in 2014.
Marie’s Adidas “Hu Jia” spot for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was part of TBWA/China’s first-ever Cannes Gold Lion-winning campaign. It features a riveting live-action dive of the gold medalist shot with four high-speed cameras (one underwater) and hand-drawn cell animations that reflect his surreal memories after his jump. Other industry honors include a PromaxBDA Lifetime Achievement Award, a D&AD Gold Pencil and numerous AICP honors. In addition to having commercials in the permanent collection at MoMA, Marie’s work has been featured in the groundbreaking National Design Triennial of the Cooper Hewitt Collection at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Marie lives in New York. She loves to travel to places as far off as New Zealand and Bhutan, always feeding her curiosity for discovery and telling stories with fresh perspectives. Building Psyop and fostering its community of artists and storytellers are among her proudest accomplishments.