So, have any of you Mad Men fans out there seen the documentary Art & Copy? I found it at our local library a couple of days ago and really enjoyed watching it. They interview a variety of ad agency creatives about the business and their career, honing in occasionally on big campaigns such as Nike’s Just Do It, which began as a quote from a guy on death row, and the now ubiquitous Got Milk?, which almost didn’t make it pass the grammarians.
You can definitely see the genesis of “Don Draper,” “Peggy Olsen” and others in a lot of the men and women interviewed. And it was full of wonderful little tidbits that are inspirational for designers and artists alike. Please forgive my slight paraphrasing in these quotes because I couldn’t write fast enough, but one of my favorites was,
“I’d rather deal with a tyrant any day than with a committee. Committees are, as a general rule, not willing to take chances… the whole point of the committee being there is to share the blame if something goes wrong.”
Since art school/art education/school in general is so rife with committees, I found the quote above particularly truthful.
I also enjoyed the statement that,
“Great advertising almost always starts with something true…”
This was said about the Got Milk? campaign. The previous campaign, Milk: It does a body good, ran commercials that involved athletes running a marathon and then gulping down a glass of milk–which is a terrible idea! Instead, Got Milk? succeeded because it was a common sentiment/statement for that obnoxious moment when you’ve poured out a bowl of cereal, carefully sliced up strawberries, and then realize you have no milk. Damn!
The idea of a seed of truth being the genesis for a great ad applies in works of art as well. I’m constantly questioning what my work is about, if it gets any message across, and what it does (if anything) besides being a messenger.
As usual, I’ll overload you with a few more paraphrased quotes from the movie below, interspersed with images from my recent sketchbooking in the biggest, most pretentious sketchbook ever. This sketchbook is beautiful but giant! It was a gift, and it’s filled with high-quality handmade watercolor paper. It’s bigger than my torso!
It’s well bound, and it should be a joy, but I wish it were a bit more portable–it barely fits in my messenger bag. Plus, it’s a pain to drag it everywhere and pull it out whenever I have a little thought or note I need to write down. I feel like I should have a foot long pencil to go with it, or something. Basically, it makes me look like the biggest full-of-myself capital “A” ARTIST every time I pull it out. And you never feel like what you’re drawing or writing is good enough for the paper. I was almost tempted to cut all the paper out and use it for more finished drawings/paintings, but I resisted. I’ll get through this book. And the next one I work in will be the size of an index card and filled with shitty, thin paper that causes each page to bleed onto the next.
“Most creative people are so damn insecure that they want to think they know everything but they know deep in their hearts they’re just in deep trouble from the minute they get up in the morning. So if you can tell them, ‘that’s the way you’re supposed to be,’ it’s just kind of liberating.”
“Fear is a very powerful depressive–it’s a business of rejection. Things are getting killed all the time by you, by your partner, your client…etc”
“I felt like I was a little boy who saw the emperor naked…In art school, I saw the ugliness, and I just had to fix it. It’s a curse.”
“Creative people need a duality of feeling secure enough that they can be risky and put themselves to work…”
And In Other News…
Here are some of Blake’s recent demo prints from his Introduction to Printmaking course at Bowling Green State University. In these whimsical prints, Blake is showing various Monoprinting processes.
And the best part, the leftovers on newsprint: