February 19th, 2013 | Comment
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a charity function for the Boston Center for the Arts. They’re a great organization that supports working artists in Boston, and are also heavily involved with the community, especially in Boston’s South End.
As part of the evening we were split into groups and taken to various studios to participate in one artist’s specialty. While this is usually not my sort of thing, in the spirit of the evening I decided to go with it. Imagine my surprise, and relief, when my group was taken to sketch a still life instead of practicing ballet.
Now advertising can make you pretty cynical, and the last thing I wanted to do was sketch anything after a long day at work. Not to mention, the whole thing reminded me of the drills we did in my college art classes. But then something interesting happened. There was no target demographic, no consumer insight, and no messaging to be cleverly worked onto the page. I was drawing for myself. Like I did, like we all did, when we were five years old using our crayons. It may not sound like much, but after 15 years sketching concepts for major brands day in and day out, this was a real treat. I started to remember the passion that caused me to get into art direction in the first place.
The evening was ‘catered’ by Hamersley’s Bistro, also in the South End. (For those of you who haven’t heard of Gordon Hamersley, he’s won several regional and national awards including the James Beard award for “Best Chef Northeast”.) Before each course of this five course meal, Gordon and a renowned Boston Sommelier described the inspiration behind each food and wine pairing. It became clear that tonight, they were drawing with crayons too. Trying crazy ideas and playing in areas that they both enjoyed, and the results were outstanding.
So if there’s something you love, or used to love to do perhaps it’s time you dusted off your crayons and sat down for a bit. You might surprise yourself with what you come up with. At the very least, you’ll remember why you loved it in the first place.