ITV x London College of Communication Graduate- Optimum Optimism

  • June Mineyama-Smithson

Artist, and London College of Communication (LCC) graduate, June Mineyama-Smithson, has collaborated with a neuroscientist to create a new ident for ITV, as part of the channels ITV Creates project. The project aims to spread optimism across the UK for Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10 – 16 May 2021.

Tokyo-born London-based artist June, who works under the name MAMIMU, worked with Dr Tara Swart to create the piece ‘Optimum Optimism’. Using Extended Reality (XR) technology, the ident takes viewers on a journey that induces happy hormones in the brain.
June’s passion for colours and shapes, and the overwhelming sense of joy that her work emits, meant she was a natural fit for this project; “I’m always on the look for hidden delights in everyday landscapes and interpret the joy of discovery in my work.”

Injecting positivity into the world and sharing this optimism felt important after the last year. After reading that, in October 2020, “less than one-third of Brits felt optimistic about the future, according to a study by BritainThinks”, June says it was “particularly poignant when I was approached by ITV at the end of last year.

“My goal was to create a piece that inspired optimum optimism and I felt the best way to do this was to combine art and science.”
The carefully crafted sequence combines positive images to stimulate a chemical cocktail of hormones and transmitters that together, creating a feeling of optimism in the viewer.

The positive images include the sunshine, which boosts our serotonin levels and give us a natural high, and rising stars, representing ambition and success linked to the reward chemical dopamine. Webs of light reflect the bonding of oxytocin and endorphins released when we feel connected.
June explained: “When I first spoke to Tara I had so many questions – why does sunshine make us feel good? What kind of colours and motion make us feel optimistic? And it all came back to a cocktail of four chemicals – dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins - or D.O.S.E. So, my task was then to produce a series of visuals that would stimulate these chemicals and result in a physical reaction for viewers.

“Tara’s input on the project allowed me to seamlessly connect magic and logic. What I love about her work is that she uses science to explain practices such as manifestation work, without bursting the magic of creativity.”

‘Optimum Optimism’ was commissioned by ITV and will be broadcast throughout May. June Mineyama-Smithson is one of 12 artists commissioned to create idents for ITV as part of the project, ITV Creates curated by Charlie Levine.

Written By: Eleanor Harvey
Credit: ITV