1) Build it and they will come. It’s not only true of baseball grounds, it’s also true of homespun conferences built on nothing more than interesting things. (I think it all started here for Russell, this post got something like 5 times the hits of his usual stuff.)This is also a principal demonstrated by many people who write for wikipedia, blogs and set up organisations like We are what we do, one of the first speakers. They went on to sell tons of their books 'Change the world' and we all know the story about 'I'm not a plastic bag.' They made a difference because they had a go, they built it.
2) Real things count more in the digital age. According to Tim at Artomatic, just as painting stopped being a record with the arrival of photography, so print and film should become liberated with the arrival of digital. I think you can already see this with the films of Michel Gondry and commercials like Sony Bravia and Skoda Cake where doing it for real takes the place of CGI. This gives the brands an emotional resonance that only the best digital work can achieve and an authenticity that people crave. Very much like the Interesting conference itself.
3) TV is like advertising, but harder. Richard Wilson, producer of ‘Have I got news for you’ and ‘Room 101’ describes commissioning editors as people who are paid to say no. This may sound like advertising, but remember that at some point the client will need a campaign, so they can’t say no for ever. Whereas TV is awash with hackneyed formulas, repeats and people peddling the next ‘Wife Swap’ so they’re never going to be short of content. (Apparently you can only make the next ‘Wife Swap’ if you make Wife Swap type programs already. There’s a lot of pigeon holing in TV.) And what was also interesting is that whereas digital and advertising is full of bloggers and people who want to share their ideas and opinions, TV is full of people who are extremely protective of their ideas. I guess you’re only going to come up with one ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ every ten years. By the same token, if everyone shared their ideas, maybe TV would end up much more diverse and risky and not full of the formulaic nonsense that fills our screens (although not Richard Wilson’s stuff of course even if his ‘sitcom about a reality tv star trying to make a sitcom about his reality’ starring Paul Torrisi from the Apprentice, will never see the light of day.)
4) Opinion always wins over reportage but not always over anecdote. The speakers who stuck their necks out and tried to make a new connection like Beeker did with the Muppets and Ibsen were the most interesting. However, you can never beat a good story and Grant McCraken told a whopping tale about going on Oprah.
5) People love to share. There was a particular loveliness to the sharing that went on at Interesting 2007. It was a very open, smugness free, soul bearing sort of stuff. The amount of ideas pinging around the room by the end of the day was testament to the have a go attitude of so many of the crowd (including Mathew Ancona’s Al Pacino impression, not the kind of thing you expect from the editor of the Spectator.)
6) Richard Dawkins is one of the most referenced men in marketing, and for good reason. Matt Black Belt Jones referenced his Ted Talks talk on ‘the middle world’ and how our view of the universe is ultimately confined to what we are evolutionally designed to understand – i.e. our middle view of the world rather than the very small quantum level and the macro big bang level. He applied this to marketing and how we should try and look beyond the immediate problem at much bigger or smaller concerns. I’m inclined to agree.
7) Don’t bootstrap products. Another one from Matt who I think may have borrowed from Ray Kurzweil. His example of Nike+ was a good one. Yes, it’s a great product but it doesn’t let you ‘play’ with it beyond its intended use. For example, you can’t walk with it or it stops working. Look at Google maps, it’s not just a boxed product, it’s a shared resource that people have already thought up thousands of previously unimagined uses.
8) If you do something well, do it more. A perfect 5 minutes from a lovely guy who described himself as Cluso on land and Fred Astaire in the water. He’s since worked out why he’s so good at swimming and it’s due to anatomy. His point was that everyone has at least one thing they can do well. So do it.
9) Om is the sound of the Universe. Red is the colour of his pants.
10) You can get a great tune out of a household saw. If you don’t believe, watch this fantastic performance from Rhodri Marsden.
11) Lists are good. Ann at I like
It's the first post for two weeks and you'd be entitled to think that after the week 5 life drawing wobble (plus a life-in-general wobble) that there would be no more life drawing posts. I may not be able to paint, draw and think like Damien Hirst (famous name drop for search purposes) but I am not a quitter. I got back on my metaphorical donkey and galloped along the metaphorical beach of destiny looking like a proper nana.
So week five was all about tone and light. Every time I mentioned I was doing life drawing to friends who had themselves done some life drawing, the laughter would slowly die down and then they'd ask me if I'd done the thing with the rubber yet. Well, this week it was the thing with the rubber - you effectively colour in the paper with charcoal to create a black canvas and then draw with the rubber, picking out the light in a Rolf Harris / Art Attack fashion. It's a lot harder than it looks. As someone who has trouble drawing with a pencil, drawing with a rubber was slow going. Rub a bit, clean the rubber a bit, rub a bit more until slowly a figure emerges from the blackness. I guess this is what film lighting must be like - finding the light areas, building an illusion from patches of white out of black. I'm not crazy about the results, but it was a fun week.
After a crazy goats cheese fuelled night's sleep - I got up early (for a Sunday) and headed off to the wonderful Hampstead Everyman Cinema (similar to the Electric in Portobello Road) clutching my Free Preview voucher from the Guardian Guide. Much to my surprise, we actually got tickets (the last two in the place), settled down in our armchairs and watched what we've all come to expect from Michael Gondry, a masterful journey through the subconcious mind of both the director and the characters. It's not often I see a film that I know nothing about - but how refreshing to go in with an open mind 11am on a Sunday and have the whole way you look at the world turned on its head. I recommend you just go and see it, don't find out anything about it, just go. This may be a new plan for the weekend - nothing more toxic than cheese on a Saturday resulting in a hazy Sunday where dreams linger all day, followed by a high intensity cultural experience before lunch that results in a flood of ideas for the rest of the day.
We got a man this time - quite literally a hairy arsed bloke with muscle tone and straight lines interupted by a pot belly. That was the first challenge - making him look like a man. The first few sketches produced soft womanly shaped transexuals made of curves and smooth lines until eventually I got the angles and the sharp points and it started to take shape.
This week was all about tone - light and dark, images built from light, figures emerging through contrast. It was tough, having only just learnt to draw a basic figure and now being asked to build an image from light and dark. But once it clicked, it really clicked and the absence of line really freed me up to put an image of this man on the page. So much so, I forgot about any background and instead of lying down, he now looks like he's floating - but you can't have everything can you?
It's a week late going up, but I've been putting together my first big client presentation at my new agency GT (which has a spangly new website.)
Week 2 was about building images, rather than line making, with small simple marks, rather than continuous lines. We were encouraged to dot around, make a mark where we saw a significant point, then move on - rather than get hung up and draw what we thought was there. So we were building images rather than drawing people. I'm sure there's a wider lesson here, but I likened it to writing - working on a sentence at a time, a word at a time until the whole thing comes together to make something worth reading.
The first image is another two minute sketch. The second is a longer pose and my first attempt at foreshortening. For the lesson this was a great pose because I was forced to draw what was there - a giant hand in the foreground, a tiny body as it disappeared into the distance and this strange foot hanging there on the horizon.
I've started life drawing with Eli on Saturday afternoons. It's something I've been meaning to do for some time as a complement to my core skill set as a copywriter, but my memories of art lessons are dominated by grumpy beardy art teachers drilling every ounce of enthusiasm and originality out of me and the rest of the class. I dropped art at 14. There is also a part of me that avoids trying things I suspect I won't be good at more or less straightaway - I had to overcome that. The teacher Andy is really cool and got straight in there - my drawing changed dramatically within the first two hour class. Hopefully, as the 10 week course goes by, you can witness some progress in the category 'Life Drawing'.
The first blue drawing is a 2 minute sketch using an old brush. The second is a 20 minute pencil sketch (I've cut the head off because I really can't do faces yet, so it looks much better without it.)
Eli went to the Finnish Church yesterday with her Finnish friend Maria. It must be the only Church in the country with a sauna (click English at the top and then click Services in the menu.) In this menu you'll also find a link to their Christmas Bazaar, which is where Eli had been.
But seriously, what a great thing - why do only Finnish people know about this? Forget the implications about why are expat communities stronger than native communities? Or what the Church of England can learn from this? I just want a go in the Sauna.
Surely, there must be loads of places like this all over London that we are missing out on - does the Polish church in Kings Cross have a Vodka Bar in the basement we don't know about? Multi-culturalism has a lot to offer, let's all get out there this Christmas and mix it up - get your presents from your local community and give the West End a miss.
We had a work outing to Wimbledon dogs a few weeks back, I found this picture on my phone and it reminded me of how utterly fleeced we all got by the likes of the guys in the picture. The favourite never won, and the dog that no one backed romped home. I'm sure it was just coincidence and had nothing to do with which trap they were put in or how much they'd eaten 2 minutes before walking onto the track.
Here it is, Eli's latest painting. It's taken pride of place on our living room wall. It's great to see her moving out of her comfort zone and pursuing ideas she's had for some time. You can really see the progress she's making and I can't wait to see the abstract work she's planning next.
I thought it would be fun to run a little Haiku competition in the creative department at Agency Republic. With a bottle of vodka as the main prize, here are the results:-
Bertrand wins a bottle of Vodka for his suitably French existential ramblings. Well done.
The Future scares me,
The Past tries to catch me up,
So I miss the now.
Gemma wins a can of Heinz Tomato Soup for her dense Scotch broth of a Haiku (a woman in her condition can’t drink vodka either.)
Nothing more than lick
Spittle. Deliver liver.
Poltroon of verbage.
George is in third place with his charming off the cuff Haiku. A chocolate bar will wing its way to him.
It needs the set up to give it context:-
Robin: I didn't realise but the flash platform user group thing is happening tonight and not tomorrow if anyone's planning on going
Jon: What a shame, I can’t make tonight…
so sarcastic jon
but neither can I, sorry.
oh look a haiku
3 from Carl. A forth place commendation for effort
along the right lines
with oyster, travel, autumn
just shy of a drink
a blog captures our
words for alcohol me me!
still no season, though
random bollocks these
haikus, you know; really they
don't quite span or scan
The best of the rest:
A whole department
whoring language in faint hope
of cheap alcohol
Fuck it, they can fuck
Right fucking off, fucking fucks
A sample from Carl
Pigeons are ugly
Nobody likes flying rats
Except old people
vodka is a friend
makes you funny and clever
and lose your wallet
armed with a spreadsheet
her fascist fingers dictate
our every move.
First line sets it up
Second line exaggerates
Bit limited no?
I've had this photo on my phone for a week or so and I still don't know what it means - "Juice Drink Experience." I take it that it's not real fruit juice so it can't be described as "Fruit Juice." So why can't it just be a "Fruit Drink" or even "Fruit Flavoured Juice." Where is the experience in all of this? It reminds me of Mark Earls book Welcome to the Creative Age - Bananas, Business and the Death of Marketing - where he basically says that much of marketing is a complete waste of time. When you think that Cape employed a food scientist, writer and designer and they best they could come up with is this - we've gone wrong somewhere along the line. Either that or you can just have a chuckle, take a picture and move along.