CREATIVE HEROES: My Advertising Friends

28 02 2016

My sweetie, Steve Davison won a lifetime achievement award at the Annual Advertising (ADDY) Awards.* And BAM…it hit me afterwards. I’ve now started my new series on Creative Heroes, which is about someone living a fully creative life and not only was my sweetie a creative hero, but as I watched the intro video of past winners, I realized they were all creative heroes of mine. As I watched the show and saw brilliant, beautiful, touching and funny work, I realized I was in a room full of creative heroes. That award show and that evening was a love fest. My advertising peeps have somehow married design, writing, marketing, business and have turned it into a career. We actually get paid for this! It is an industry that I am proud to be a part of. It is the filter though which I see the world.

The night of the ADDY Awards was about honoring creativity. It was about those in the business that show up with their A game. As a friend said in the introductory video, “good is the enemy of great”. That’s really a hard thing to do. We get bogged down with life, people who don’t understand, and all the other excuses we come up with, when we settle for good enough.

Maybe because it’s hard to continually push yourself that the advertising people I know live by the philosophy, “work hard and play hard.” I’m invigorated when I’m with my tribe. It’s a multigenerational tribe; with friends who go back to the Mad Men era to 20-somethings who are fearless in their brand new careers. As my sweetie said in his acceptance speech, “the business may change technically, but it doesn’t change creatively. It’s not the tools that matter, it’s the people.”

The lifetime achievement award Steve received was a surprise to him, but I knew about it. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was that I kept the secret. Our table was filled with family and industry friends. These are friends that he gets together to watch football with, and they are also past AAF-BR club presidents and lifetime achievement winners. Our table was jokingly called the Mt. Rushmore table because of its collective age. But that table was also filled with a lot of creative wisdom. As I progress through this new series, I’m realizing a hallmark of living a creative life is surrounding yourself with creative friends.

I’ve written about my sweetie before. We met 30 years ago when he was the hot, tv commercial director in town. He knows every aspect of film/video production. He is an artist with the camera and I’ve heard him say, “it’s like painting with light.” One of the things that drew us together as a couple is the history we shared in the advertising world in our southern city. One of the things the South does really well is storytelling. And that’s really what advertising is, telling a story.

Living a Creative Life
Steve’s creativity is not left at work. He is a talented furniture maker. Our home is filled with pieces he’s built. He’s renovated our master bathroom and built a new deck in our garden. He is also a remarkable cook. I’ve got the extra pounds to show for it from our six years together. His dishes are not only delicious, the presentation is also carefully considered. A perfect evening for us is sitting outside on that deck with friends laughing and storytelling, and eating a great meal that Chef Steve has prepared and paired with the perfect bottle of wine.

I am so thrilled that Steve was honored by his peers. I’m also honored to be reminded by how much I love my creative tribe. We are all creative heroes.

Connections: Steve pointed out in his acceptance speech that he came back from Viet Nam and started his career in 1970. That was the same year that his father won this same lifetime achievement award. A few years later Steve was a volunteer producer for the ADDY Awards at the long-gone Aubin Lane Dinner Theater. I realized that I was also in attendance at that show. My father produced his own commercials and I was thrilled as a young teen to go with my Dad to my first ADDY Awards show. There is just one degree of separation in Baton Rouge.

* It’s called the E. A. “Pete” Goldsby Silver Medal Award and it was awarded by his peers in the American Advertising Federation–Baton Rouge (AAF-BR).

•creative art
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10 responses

28 02 2016
Lisa Garon Froman

Girlie, what a beautiful testimony to Steve and to all “Creatives.” I love Steve’s quote about “painting with light.” How perfectly poetic. (And I didn’t know his did won the award, too!)

28 02 2016
conniemcleod

Yes, his dad, Ravin’ Dave Davison, was a well known DJ and general manager at WJBO. It took me days to recover from last weekend and sometime during the week I realized I was surrounded by creative heroes. This post almost wrote itself.

28 02 2016
Kelley Criscoe Stein

Congrats, Steve! Well deserved!

28 02 2016
conniemcleod

Thanks Kelley!!!

29 02 2016
Haralee

Congratulations! Your post oozes with creative love. The opening quote, “Good is the Enemy of Great”, is terrific!

29 02 2016
conniemcleod

Thanks Haralee. I do love my creative peeps!

3 03 2016
Patsy Picard

Connie, thanks for sharing! Yes it is a great organization and I miss being a part of it. Steve is a good guy and I am happy that you two are in love and share a wonderful life.

Pat

3 03 2016
conniemcleod

We MUST get together soon!

20 03 2016
Jen

Congrats to your sweetie on the award. I do enjoy your posts and subscribe via email for updates. You really brighten my world with your upbeat blog and I truly admire your work.
I work in the science and high tech engineering world and believe me it requires a ton of creativity. Science is an art as much as it is based on rules and fixed formulas. You describe the spark of creativity in your field exceptionally well.
You encourage comments and I would like to give you my point of view of an aspect of your post, for what it’s worth.

‘Good is the enemy of great’ is a play on “Perfection is the enemy of The Good.” (A phrase popularized by Voltaire in reference to Plato’s concept of “The Good”) (for more on Plato http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-ethics/) The later meaning that if we only accept perfection we can miss The Good that comes from making the best of what we currently have. This is especially true where time is limited or in an emergency. For example I would use a tire tube as a life vest if that is all I had when the boat capsized.

But Great does not have to be Perfect, so going for greatness is definitely worth not settling for merely good enough. As well, Good can be made Great with a little help from our “tribe” or even those outside our circle.
Best to you, Connie.

Jen

20 03 2016
conniemcleod

Jen, thanks for your thoughtful and profound comment. I do find I generally settle for good enough. At my recent ADDY awards, the great work really stood out from the good. That said creativity takes many forms and I believe everyone is creative. I’ll be doing a post in the upcoming months on a dear friend who’s a chemist and so is her husband. They live a wonderfully creative life. Thanks again for following me, I’m truly honored.

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