April 20th, 2011 by Dave Alsobrooks
This may be a stretch but walk with me for awhile on this one. We recently introduced Instinct to the world as the second virtue of #smallerthinking. As such, we defined the moment at which instinct kicks in: when we decide if something is worth our time and effort and we begin charting the course of our events. It’s internal and we essentially make it up as we go. We also talk a lot about the link between instinct and trust. Or at least the need to trust our instincts more often in our professional lives.
This all reminds me of a story. Sort of. As it turned out, this happened to me. While in college, I finished a decently-sized (approx. 5′ wide), mostly white abstract painting and hung it in my apartment. I liked it well enough. About 6 months later, a tiny voice said take it down and start painting on it again. Since we’re on the subject of instinct, I’ll say that’s what was at work. Several all-nighters and a few tubes of paint later, I had a completely different painting. OK — it was still white, abstract and of a decent size. But the newer version really did transcend the previous version (and my concept of painting at the time). I ended up working in that style for 2 or 3 years, and the final phase that I’d discovered became the most important sequence of every painting during that period. The white painting is still afforded a prominent space in every home I’ve lived in since those heady days of higher learning. For me, it’s a reminder to keep listening at every step along a path.
Leapfrog a decade or so to our current conversation about instinct. A lot of times we’re guilty of perceiving instinct to be a tool of judgement. It’s true our instincts factor into practically every decision we make. But it doesn’t have to be a yes/no answer or a right or left turn. It can be a maybe/if answer or a long slalom. What I want to believe is that our instincts spur our creativity. Or maybe it’s the opposite — perhaps our creativity is the thing that opens the door for instinct to make a call. Or maybe they’re the same, because they’re both about possibilities, growth and trust.
April 15th, 2009 by admin
Whether working on personal projects or for clients, I sometimes catch myself negotiating more time in order for the “creative juices” to flow. The ones with myself are the funniest and most depressing. But that’s how things work, right? One can’t really rush creativity. My recollection of agency life reinforces this — always a conflict over timing between creative and account folks. Creatives want more time and account people need magic made yesterday. “Television spots aren’t made in 2 weeks. My friends, client expectations have been set.”
Who makes these rules?
I’ve come to loathe more time. The more of it alloted to a project, the more interference incurred along the way. Whether it’s second-guessing a great idea, the client’s wife hating the color or someone beating you to the punch, time isn’t always on your side. I wouldn’t presume time can never be a blessing, though. Even a few extra hours can make a world of difference from time to time. What I’m getting at is longer timelines shouldn’t exist by default. There’s real beauty in gesture drawings and something profound can come off the top of your head if allowed.
It’s more about doing and less about waiting for the thought of what to do. In fact, many creative-types force themselves into daily exercises — quick ones, mind you — with the specific intent to spur on creativity. (skulls / purchases / collages) The same philosophy is applied in many cases through “shallow holes.” But sometimes we dig so many shallow holes, we find ourselves a few weeks in the hole with nothing to show for it. I’m rambling a bit, but I guess I have this idea of making stuff that’s inspired rather than well-thought-out. Does that make sense?
Gotta run — till next time.