Cliff Galbraith has one of the coolest jobs in the world. While most of us stare at a computer screen all day, carefully crafting emails, or formatting spreadsheets, he does the same thing he was doing in his high school chemistry class: he draws comics. Only now he’s getting paychecks instead of detention slips.
The unfortunate side effect of growing up is that we often decide that, in order to make money, we need to leave our childhood hobbies and passions behind for more “rational” pursuits. You know, pursuits that will pay the bills. Which begs the question, how the heck did Cliff get to do this – a job that falls just below ice cream taste tester in the list of most desirable occupations – for a living? Ultimately, the answer is simple. When you know what you love, and put every ounce of yourself into it, good things happen. Even Cliff says that the only thing that held him back was the fear that it couldn’t be done.
While it’s easy to watch the video and marvel at how he spends his days, it’s also easy to forget how much he struggled to balance the money-maker Sauruses against his dream of bringing Rat Bastard to life for comic book fans. Ultimately, our goals are not so different. We create words, imagery, and ideas to engage an audience. Our work may be subject to briefs, client feedback and brand guidelines but really, it’s us on that page. We present ourselves to the world through our ideas. Even our dress codes are relatively similar to Cliff’s (though I’d challenge you to find the word “bathrobe” anywhere in the Ogilvy employee handbook). And when we need some new inspiration, sometimes a walk outside is all it takes.
All in all, it’s pretty awesome to earn a living doing what we do and what Cliff is able to do. Maybe even better than ice cream taste tester, especially for anyone who’s lactose intolerant. Because why would you do anything that makes you sick?
Visit: cliffgalbraith.com » | ratbastardcomics.com »
Watch: Cliff Galbraith's Create or Else video in HD on youtube. Leave him a comment!
Pretty much everybody likes smiles. It’s hard to find someone who hates to be happy. When it’s only the most curmudgeonly of us who don’t enjoy joy, why is it that more of us don’t choose to go into the business of happiness?
Pasqualina Azzarello is in the “be a good person racket.” She’s dedicated her life, and made her living by making people’s lives just a little better with a focus on the old mantra “think globally, act locally.”
It started with brightening people’s vision of New York. Most New Yorkers are used to these bright blue plywood boards that cover construction areas. We see them so often, we don’t even notice what an eye sore they actually are. At least not until we realize how beautiful the spaces can be. What a great idea Pasqualina had, to turn these passive intruders into something that can make us all stop and smile. Something that makes us feel a little bit better about our work-a-day lives.
You’d think that when the construction industry took a dive, thanks to the recession, that Pasqualina would try and find something more practical and traditional. But instead of looking for a safety net, she kept going on her mission to bring more smiles to her community by working for Recycle a Bicycle, a company dedicated to educating and training kids, while promoting regular bicycle use. Instead of looking out for number one (herself) she kept putting her community first. And the cool thing is, it worked out quite well. It’s almost as if her good deeds for others created good things in her life. Man… if there was only some sort of religious theory about that. Either way, I think the message is clear. Create things that will bring joy to people, and people will bring joy to you.
For more information how to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their site recycleabicycle.org
Pasqualina's Public Art is here.
Watch: Pasqualina Azzarrello's Create or Else video in HD on youtube. Leave her a comment!
Tony Black’s job is creative. He’s a Grammy-winning music producer, and all around a pretty lucky guy. He gets to make his living doing something he loves, making music. But after playing the “Looking for a Record Deal Blues,” Tony found that he was a great sound engineer and moved to the other side of the recording booth. That kind of a switch – from making your own art to working on other people’s projects – is something that a lot of creatives in the advertising industry go through. We like to create. We like to make art, write and generally create whatever our little hearts desire. So we take creative jobs at creative agencies, working on creative projects. We come up with awesome ideas, and with the help of lots of creative people, make them come to life. But at the end of the day, while it might be our ideas and hard work that make what you see interesting, it’s never truly our own. You’re really just making something for someone else.
That’s why Tony paints. It’s why so many creatives have their own projects going on outside of work. We keep blogs. We have bands, art shows and poetry readings. We work on creative projects that we can own ourselves. On one hand, it’s working to keep our tools sharp. To stay on our game as artists and writers and general creative thinkers. But, on the other hand, at its core, it’s really more of a release. A way for us to do something to which nobody can say no. Nobody can tell us we’re wrong because we’re not doing it for anybody but ourselves.
Tony mentions wanting to do something that didn't need anybody’s approval, that didn't involve anyone's expectations and that if he failed it didn’t matter because there were no goals to fall short of. Those are some of the main reasons Tony chose to paint. He was a musician, not a painter. Who cares what his painting looks like? It’s also why Tony didn’t show anybody his paintings. He wasn’t looking to be told they were good or bad, or even to make any money out of it. He just wanted to make something for himself.
Painting for him, like so many different projects for professional creatives around the world, is also a risk without the risk. What’s the worst that could happen? Tony wastes fifty bucks on an experiment? That’s like 2 beers at Yankee Stadium. If you ask us, it’s well worth it. And that might be the best argument for going out there, or even staying right where you are as you read this, and making something just for you. You don’t need to make anything groundbreaking. You don’t need to show anybody. You don’t need any real skills or training. And you don’t need to ask permission.
Big special thanks to Clair Reilly Roe for her song "Island In The City".
Watch: Tony's video in HD quality on Ogilvy's Create or Else Youtube channel.
Chongo’s got it all. His job is simply living his life. He doesn’t pay any rent because he doesn’t live anywhere. I assume he doesn’t pay taxes on too much either. Chongo is free. The only things holding him back are the limits of his imagination and his understanding of the world. That and the whole “laws of physics” thing.
Usually, when people obtain this level of freedom they sacrifice a lot of the modern comforts on which we’ve come to rely. But Chongo doesn’t. He showers every day. He has a website with email. He even sells a book he wrote on quantum mechanics on his website. It’s interesting how he’s found such a delicate balance.
Chongo says that he wants to use technology for everybody’s benefit, and he stresses everybody. But I think the word that should really be stressed is benefit. So many of us take technology as an irrefutable necessity in our lives. But think about how many times we’re hindered by that technology. Think about how dependent we’ve become on it. Chongo, on the other hand, has figured out how to use it for his benefit without letting it inhibit his freedom.
Wouldn't it be rad if we could live outside of some of these norms and trends we take as the standard? To help everybody truly be more free? See if you can, cause I don’t have time for that.
Visit: Chongonation.com - Where you can buy his books and check out more of his slacklining and big wall climbing pictures.
Director Janice Ahn created Chongo for Cisco Systems through Ogilvy Entertainment after pitching to OE's fantastic Otto Bell and Cisco's Mike Kisch. Ogilvy's very talented Tim Piper introduced Ahn to eyepatch's connector DZ, who saw the Cisco/Chongo content as perfect for COE series and turned us on to it. Janice has since been steadily working with eyepatch Productions and can be found there when she's not teaching at the The New School. We're super happy to have her as part of the family.
Watch: This video in HD quality on Ogilvy's Create or Else Youtube channel.
This is Jack. See Jack play. See Jack write. See Jack take something he loves, and turn it into 30 years of incredible underground success. Jack Rabid is a writer, editor, publisher, and the all around mastermind of this indie music magazine The Big Takeover.
When we started this whole Create or Else thing, we wanted to answer the question "what is inspiration." To find some eternal source, or at least a formula for inspiring creativity. While at first we thought it might be impossible, we've found that there seems to actually be a formula. Creativity inspires creativity. The act of creating itself is more inspirational than any sunset or poster with a cat hanging from a tree.
What a great example of this lesson Jack is. He is creating based on creation. He himself is inspired by creativity. Inspired by art. And to get specific, inspired by music. Music never stops. Unlike those boring, predictable sunsets (lots of things are pretty colors, get over it!) music changes all the time. People right now are writing and creating music that you've never even dreamed possible. Seriously. Right now. So while a painter might get sick of using the same color pallet to paint a slightly different sky dusk after dusk, Jack has the benefit of using the entire English language to paint his picture of an ever evolving subject. Songs might end, but music never does. It just keeps going and going, and begging Jack and his now many writers and editors and support networks to document it in unique, creative ways.
So where would Jack be without this adaptable art to inspire him? He'd probably still be that tax accountant. Maybe he'd have a pool. But he sure as shit wouldn't have been at the 30 year anniversary party for The Big Takeover.
p.s. We don’t actually have anything against sunsets.
Rock out with Jack in HD: quality on Ogilvy's Create or Else Youtube channel.
Andrew Cornell Robinson is an interesting guy. Soft spoken and kind, you don’t really expect him to thrive in the hussle-bussle, cut-throat world that is New York City. It seems like he’d fit better in a sleepy town in Oklahoma or Maine. He doesn’t speak particularly slowly, but you feel like he’s taking his time when he talks, and it almost calms you into submission. The fact that Andrew has taken his place at The Edward Albee residency, where we find him in Montauk, NY feels right. It feels like “Of course. Where else would he be? What else would he be doing?” Like there’s a little more balance in the world now that he’s there.
Andrew says in this video that to him, inspiration is showing up for work every day. It made us think about our jobs, and how they inspire us. But is Andrew talking about his job, or what happens at his job, or on his way there? See, there’s so much more to “showing up to work” than meetings, and presentations and time sheets. Just like “sweeping the floor” isn’t in the job description of an artist, riding the subway and dealing with tourists in Times Square isn’t in that of an art director’s or a copywriter’s. But the very act of showing up to work, the implicit assignment of physically getting there and being present is enough to inspire anybody willing to let it.
What’s cool about this is that nobody shows up to work the same way. You might take the same exit, or subway route as a colleague, or even show up wearing the same clothes, but no two people’s experiences are exactly alike. Yes, it might, and probably does sound cliché and used, and it might not even be what Andrew’s trying to tell us, but it’s true. If we take the time, and really open our eyes to look at our actions and surroundings, inspiration is friggin everywhere. It’s in the people you see, the intersections where you stop to wait for a changing light, or the guy who spills his soup all over the cafeteria. Everything around you has the seeds for inspiration if you have the mind to let them grow.
Andrew seems to be the kind of guy with rich soil up in his headbrain. He might not be the best reader in the world, but when these seeds enter into his personal consciousness, he has the goods and mental room to let them grow and thrive, and become something much bigger. Do you?
Every day, creative departments around the globe are asked to make something from nothing. To dream up a creative solution to a business problem. It’s not easy. And if the task itself isn't daunting enough, add to it an omnipresent threat of rejection. We know it sounds bad, but it's totally true. For every eight ideas a creative generates on a given assignment, she'll be lucky if even one of them makes it to the client, let alone into production and out into the world. These little brain-babies known as ideas are killed daily by ACDs, CDs, account people, clients, even test audiences. That's why the creative process is so scary. Not only are you tasked with filling this blank piece of paper, with filling in all these empty boxes, but you're cursed with the knowledge that most of it will die.
In this episode of our Create or Else series on YouTube, Tham Khai Meng, Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Worldwide (that's the big one) talks about this fearsome process. He talks about how crazy the creative mind must be. And he's right. Sure, he's citing great leaders and scientists, but it's true of advertising creatives as well. In either case it takes a certain kind of person, a certain kind of mind to take the risks of creativity over and over again only to be kicked down time after time. But what’s really cool about the whole process is that in rejection, comes even more inspiration. You might push yourself to make your work as perfect as possible, but sometimes it takes that extra shove from an outside source to knock it up to the next level.
That’s the thing about greatness. You have to take a lot of punches before you can wear the belt.
Watch: this video in HD quality on Ogilvy's Create or Else Youtube channel.
Art is all around us. It can be a can of soup, a straight line, a random mess of paint, or a bundled up building. There’s a certain something to making art out of stuff that’s just lying there, limply. Like hair.
That’s what we like about Oribe (pronounced, or-bay). Not only is he a pioneer of hair styling as an art form, establishing himself as one of the most influential and inspirational hair artists in the world, but he continues to push his own art form further and further. It’s the kind of innovation that comes with never being satisfied with the standard. Never taking the best as the last stop in the creative journey. There’s always more to be done.
Oribe works hard to find new opportunities, new angles, new inspirations. International fame and success aren't the goals; they're more like tools to help him take more and bigger risks, to push forward not just his work, but the industry’s standards as a whole. It is these very risks and uncertainties that inspire him. The notion that what he’s doing has never been done before. The thrill that he can redefine standards of beauty and fashion. That’s the real inspiration.
The Ogilvy team working on IBM has a very hard task: to tell people what IBM, one of the most influential, innovative, pioneering companies in the whole world, actually does. Where do they begin? Well, in a nutshell, IBM takes information and puts it to use. IBM solves the world’s problems and makes the planet smarter.
But what does that mean?
To answer that question, the Ogilvy IBMers decided not to describe what IBM does, but rather to show what they do, one example at a time. By breaking down this huge company into relatively minute stories of its technology’s applications in the real world they give the public a glimpse into the works of Big Blue.
This particular story in the greater narrative of “what is IBM” is really damn impressive. To our knowledge, it’s one of the first widely published applications of the new art form of code artistry. Like info-graphics on steroids times a billion, code art uses the representation of data as the art itself. So the partnering of a company that compiles infinite gigs of data with a company that makes art out of the stuff is more or less a match made in information/artistic heaven. (It’s a very specific type of heaven.)
We’re lucky enough to reap the benefits of this incredible union of Ogilvy, IBM and Motion Theory by watching the art come to life as it’s developed. Take a look at the video and think about this art. Think about how it didn’t exist just a few years ago. Then think about where it can go from here. Then stop thinking about it, because it will probably hurt your brain.
Watch: the Create or Else: IBM Art of Data Baby Video in HD Quality on Youtube.