Wednesday, July 1, 2009

9 month update

Today is nine months to the day since I moved into this little studio for a sabbatical leading to who knows what. These days when I run into people I haven't seen in a while, they usually ask, So what are you doing? meaning work, and I’m always a little vague or incomplete in my response. "Just doing my thing," I say sometimes. A blawg is a good place to lay out the whole story.

I started working with Oregon Council for the Humanities several months ago. The relationship began very serendipitously and gradually, and before we knew it, we were working together on a branding overhaul complete with new name, logo, identity, online presence, short film and collateral. The work breaks this fall.

I’m also working with the Infectious Diseases Research Instititute, a Gates- and NIH-funded biotech working on the world’s neglected diseases. Again, I’m working with them on an extreme makeover/brand edition which includes the whole works. I’m in the thick of the process and enjoying it. Chris Hornbecker just finished shooting wonderful portraits of all the scientists.

My first official client, Imperial Woodpecker, is rolling on their own now, successful in only the way Stacy Wall can be, and executing their own stuff based on the identity Fredrik and I created for them, noted in blawgy detail elsewhere.

I have a couple of other things brewing. Starting to look at whether I continue getting my work done working with my team of freelancers and consiglieres - Patrick Long drew these portraits - or whether it's time to hire someone fulltime. That will unfold over the next few months.

The last 9 months have been helpful in reminding me why I'm here, what I love to do, what I offer the world, the kind of people I like to work with, the way I like to work, and the sort of work that I like to create. I haven’t enjoyed myself like this in my work in a long time.


I'm Jelly said...

I reread this post and this part felt a little preachy. So I moved it here. If you're the sort of person who clicks on "comments," you get what you deserve.


Sometimes I feel like people ask how I’m doing because they wonder if they could make it in the world on their own right now, and my answer is: absolutely you can. There’s a lot out here, more than ever. It’s not just me and my coffee- and Tao-fueled optimism. Did you read the June WIRED? It’s out there right now, abundance. The world has a place for all of us, and I think following your own joy is a pretty good path towards it. So here’s to doing your thing, whatever that is.

About two seconds ago I just found out that a 12 grad and another escapee from the corporate world are starting their own thing right next door to my studio. Yeah, man. Tiny little mushrooms popping up all over the place and the forest seems to be happy to have us all.



I'm Jelly said...

Reader X commented about the technique of writing a list of everything you want and calling it a job. I think it was Diane Cook, director/founder of VCU Adcenter, who gave me that advice. I've used it forever since, it's done me right.

Is it too indulgent? I don't think so. I think it's derived from the idea that joy is our best guidance system towards our value or purpose to the world.

I don't think creating a list means leaping off unto the unknown, necessarily. It could mean getting more out of your current situation. Chances are, your boss wants you happy and doing your best work. That's good for Boss.

At Adcenter, I knew that the classroom alone wouldn't be satisfying to me, so I told Diane I would also like to create advertising, not just teach it. So she made me Adcenter's creative director, creating all of the marketing and advertising for the school. I had a blast and helped create work that became something of a polestar for the school ever since.

At Wieden+Kennedy, I told Dan he would get more out of me as a teacher than a creative director, and I think 12 was good for us both.

The world wants us all maxing out on our own is-ness, I know it! And you are the only person who knows what this is for sure. That's what making that list is about.

I feel like Zig Ziglar.

Ashly Stewart said...

I don't think you sound preachy in a way that is bad, I like it. I hope you will take what I am about to say the right way:

You're getting old. And that is good. It's good because you have a lot of great things to share, experience and insights that 20 year-olds won't have for another few decades, if they are lucky enough. Preach away, friend, preach away. I love it and I am glad you are loving what you're doing. Good stuff, thanks for the update. And I think you're right, people do want to know what you're doing because it is inspiring to them. I'm happy you're still blogging.

I'm Jelly said...

I love "you're getting old!"


Another comment from an old student of mine. I've anonymized it:


read your blog again this morning, after not having chance to read in a while.

i thought your description of "offering" is a really holistic, eastern way of looking at what creative people are really doing. i hear this word a lot in the art world, but not so much in advertising departments, where i think people are often encouraged to be "getting" something, going after something they want.

i just accepted several arts grants, and this idea of offerings has been on my mind on a lot. a place i'll be working out of - the headlands center for the arts, does this incredible thing for its artists. they give you a unique grant for studio space, take you under their wing as part of the community, promote the hell out of you, and literally expect nothing in return. no check-ins, no progress reports, no presentation of your work at the end. they just want people to have a good experience.

it's very different from agency life, where we all know that loyalty depends on outcome, on whether the ideas that everyone loved got to run. the sense of creating something new, I think is very different, when there's no outcome attached. no ego feeding at the end, no pendulum swinging.

when you've the chance, i'm curious- do you think the ad industry can ever really be about the spirit of creating, especially when people are trying to keep their jobs?

(my last gig: most painful creative process i've ever seen.)

Stackingchairs said...

That last statement is pretty compelling and I would love to hear some elaborations on it. More so, I would love to see what that person-who wrote the comment-is producing(art-wise).