Hire me, I dare you.

January 25, 2012

To be quite honest, I need to be creative. It’s like food for me and I’m definitely an overeater. So give me a project, challenge me, I dare you!

When I first realized I had an affinity for creativity I was 10 years old. I decided I was good enough to draw the illustration of the month in the comic book magazine–I think it was the duck with the cowboy hat, you know the ads for art school. “If you’re good enough”, it said, “you could be accepted to art school”.

At 10 years old I just wanted to be “good enough”. So I started with my first draft and went to my father, the draftsman, for my first critique. “Need to straighten up that line there, and fix that smudge here”, he said. After 10 attempts at satisfying my dad, I gave up. I thought, artists can’t make anyone happy–they’re never good enough.

Getting my BFA in graphic design and minor in print making after my four year stint in the, “Be all you can be” Army, I was ready to be creatively challenged in a career in advertising. I realized that my drive for success was just as ego driven as my need to be “good enough”. My father’s push became my influence for acceptance through accomplishment. I was a sponge for knowledge. If I didn’t know how to do something, I found someone who did and pushed them to my standards–the birth of my art direction years.

After four agencies and rising to a senior level art director, I was enjoying working with some of the most talented people in the Nashville market and beyond. With brands like Jack Daniels, Purity, Singer, Presbyterian USA, The NFL, The NHL and Nortel, the diversity of creative executions became my passion. I realized everyday at work was an opportunity for creating something new–even better, something unique and effective. Now that was acceptance, accomplishment…”good enough”.

My last challenge was becoming a Creative Director at one of the hottest shops in Nashville. However, it was during this time that I realized my true zeal for creativity–giving it away. As a leader of creative teams, my mission was no longer being good enough, it became making you “even better”. Thus the revelation of my real gift from my creator, a teacher. Sure, I succeeded in all the normal responsibilities as an agency leader: planning, hiring, presentations, planning, estimating, planning, did say planning already? It was the time I was able to spend with other creatives that I longed for each day. It was also during this time in my career that I explored teaching at local art colleges. What started with one class here and there became many, then portfolio reviews, lectures and workshops. Even writing creative projects/promts for author Robin Landan’s “Take a line for a walk”. I couldn’t get enough of it.

What I realized was that my desire to be good enough was only actualized by others acceptance. My value became helping people find hope…in themselves. What I didn’t realize was that this was also a curse. The opportunities for me to create on my own, something I found great joy in, was replaced with a selfless passion for helping others accomplish, visualize or just to understand something they couldn’t before. To inspire others meant I couldn’t inspire myself. I thought.

Alas, to live another day. The real joy of life. One more day to do something different. To forget everything you were doing and gain a new perspective. God actually tells us we can became an entirely new person than we were just a second ago. All it takes is a different perspective and faith in the action of believing in something bigger than yourself. BECAUSE, it’s not really about me. It’s about something else. Something even better than good enough.

Today I lead the graphic design program at Nossi College of Art. It’s the best job I could ever imagine. I get inspired everyday by young creative minds grasping to find their “good enough” and for me to reveal to them the “even better”.

I’m also involved with branding and planning as the brand manager with our ad agency. However, I still long for that next project when I can have one more opportunity to do something unique, something amazing. Funny thing is, it can be anything, a logo, a billboard, a radio or tv spot. I love it all. I even do it for free sometimes. The flexibility and expectation of this job is to stay current in my profession. The school’s philosophy in this way allows for relevant teaching and current perspectives within the curriculum and classroom expectations.

Please look through my portfolio pages and if you like what you see, hire me for a project, I’m hungry!


Growth comes from sharing

November 11, 2010

Twice in one year I’ve camped out at Cadillac Ranch in downtown Nashville for two session presentations at PodCamp and BarCamp. These conferences are held in cities all over the nation and are coordinated and presented by locals covering trends in marketing and technology. Pod Camp was held back in July and more recently, BarCamp in October. You may remember an earlier post on crowdsourcing and how I was asked to be the Creative Director for 30 talented folks helping out a non-profit called YouthTurns. Well, Ian Rhett, from Civic Actions, presented the case study for the event at this year’s BarCamp and asked if I would join him in discussing our success.

It was a good turnout and as expected there were some questions as to how to successfully execute a crowdsourcing event, especially one lasting only 30 hours. Guests included a few of the 30 people who helped execute the function and in typical Ian Rhett fashion, he involved them in the conversation.

The best news came after the 30 minute session was over. Andy Dixon, the founder of YouthTurns, was approached by a representative for TED and asked if he would be interested in speaking at one of their conferences. I think that just put the icing on our case study.

You can read more about the crowdsourcing event in the Creative Director’s section of this website. It gives a complete breakdown of the hours and what the deliverables were – pretty powerful.

Oh, I have to note the brands that sponsored the BarCamp event, at least one of them anyway. Sprint did a good job engaging the attendees with a location van outside the event with product demos and giveaways. Here’s one such giveaway that I thought was pretty cool. A usb wristband – 1G even.