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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CREATIVE HEROES: The Birth of an Idea

31 01 2016

•creative art

I’m filled with creative energy as I start the New Year. I’m in the process of giving birth to a new idea. It’s about living a creative life. Since this idea is in the birthing process, I’m not sure what this idea will grow up to be.

This baby idea is about how small details full of creative energy can grow into a full life experience. Those experiences make a richer and joyful life. Sometimes the seed of that experience grows out of a difficult time.

Our lives make sense in hindsight. This baby idea has been 10 years in the making and has grown from a time when my professional life was going to shit.

Ten years ago, I had a new, young, smart boss who didn’t like my design style—I’m an art director in an in-house corporate setting—she felt I was an old dinosaur. She told me I would not make another round of budget cuts and should consider a job in sales. Eventually all she allowed me to create were flyers that went on the inside of bathroom stalls (really the shits).

I then believed I was no longer hirable and I began to seriously ponder on what did I want to do in this upcoming new chapter. I was freshly divorced and responsible for my aging mother and my teen daughter, so I didn’t feel free to walk away from a job with great benefits, where I had invested a dozen years. This is what propelled me through the next decade of living a fully creative life.

Whereas my boss saw me as a dinosaur, my professional organization saw me as someone with experience and asked me to be on their Board of Directors. I used this experience to grow my life in new directions. I started to face my fears and pushed myself into doing things that made me uncomfortable, like public speaking.

I eventually became the President of my club and that young boss followed her own ambitious rise up the corporate ladder and left the company. As I regained confidence, I wanted to share my life experience with others and created workshops on creativity. I knew firsthand how fragile it could be and that the creative spirit needs to be nurtured and encouraged to thrive.

While my day job improved, I still needed a place for my creative voice to be heard unedited. So I created this blog, My Creative Journey and a side business with my sweetie, which we named Greenview Designs. I’m about to audition for a performance play called Listen to Your Mother, where I’ll read a story I’ve written that grew out of this blog. That’s something I couldn’t have imagined doing a decade ago.

Today I’m a designer, a writer, a marketer, a speaker, a teacher and in a loving relationship. This all grew out of embracing fear. It has been a creative journey of many small steps that has me living a full, creative, joyful life.

My baby idea is to record others who are living creative lives, people who inspire me. This blog is going to hold their stories and Greenview Designs is going to create videos. I’m calling this series Creative Heroes.

So welcome to my baby idea. I hope you’ll enjoy watching it grow. Let’s see where this journey takes us.

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When the Levees Broke

22 09 2013

 

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Before and after Katrina is how we mark time down here in Louisiana. We just passed the 8-year anniversary of that milestone hurricane. The lives we knew were washed away when the levees broke. For my high school friend, Karen and I, it marked the washing away of our long-term marriages. My husband moved out the week before the hurricane and Karen moved out of her home, the week after. We found our friendship in the storm’s aftermath and often clung to each other for support.

94992665We both realize the women we were back then wouldn’t recognize the women we are today. Eight years ago newly single with a teenage daughter; I was scared and expecting to be laid off from my job. While that did not happen, it made me question what did I want to do. I tried out a home-based business giving wine tasting parties (a lot of fun, but I drank all my profits). That led me to get over my fear of pubic speaking, which led me to becoming president of my professional club, which led me to giving workshops on creativity, which led me to starting a design business with my sweetie, which led me to discover new talents and strengths. Most importantly I learned to let go of fear and to embrace things outside my comfort zone.

140381196Karen left her affluent life and empty marriage to find meaning in her life after her kids had grown. She moved back to her hometown to family and friends who were critical of her decision. She went from moving in with her mother, to crummy first apartment, to nicer apartment, to buying a house, to renovating that house and making it her oasis. Her small job with an old family friend grew as his company was bought and sold and bought and sold. It is now part of the largest engineering company of its kind in North America. With each evolution of the company, Karen’s job has grown and she’s moved up the corporate ladder. She’s now moving to the center of business for the Eastern region. All of her strengths have come out and are shining brightly.

Karen’s moving up North…to Nashville. Her moving is bittersweet. We recognize that we are closing a chapter in our lives. Her renovated house has a For Sale sign in front and boxes are waiting for the movers. The days of dropping by each other’s home or creating a spontaneous adventure are over as we know it. We know our friendship will shift and change.

I was just in New Orleans for a fun romantic weekend with the man I’ve been in a loving relationship with for 4 years. After the levees broke, I believed that city would never be the same. I was right, but not how I imagined it. I would never have imagined that young people would flood the city post Katrina with their new innovative entrepreneurial spirit. These newcomers wanted to be a part of reinventing their lives while reinventing this old drowned city. They’ve embraced the unique, creative, funky culture and infused it with a new vibe. The dark depressive cloud that hung over the city has blown over. Arts, music, food, business, housing, education are now filled with this new spirit as new ideas and new ways of doing things are happening. And the wonderful, live-and-let-live-with-a-go-cup-in-hand New Orleans spirit is still embraced, it didn’t wash away.

Me and Karen shopping at the Farmer’s Market and cooking up an adventure.

Me and Karen shopping at the Farmer’s Market and cooking up an adventure.

Like the crescent city, Karen and I have reinvented our separate lives. We haven’t ignored our own past, but we’ve grown and built on it. We’ve moved past our after-Katrina chapter. We’ve rebuilt the levees, hopefully strong enough to withstand future storms.

I’ve learned to flow with the current that my life leads me to. It sometimes takes a storm to push us in a new direction. It’s good to occasionally take time to look back at how far we’ve come. I’m grateful for where my journey has taken me. I’m going to miss my friend, but I’m also looking forward to where new travels will take us.

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Boomers and Millenials

24 06 2013

Last night three Boomer couples visited over food and drink and shared our stories on a hot summer night, poolside under a bright shining moon. Even though we didn’t know each other in our younger days, our “drugs, sex, rock and roll” stories were similar. We all had the same cultural touch points, the JFK and MLK assassinations, civil rights, Viet Nam and Beatles vs. Stones.

Earlier that day, I attended a leadership retreat with my professional club, AAF-BR.  I am now the oldest member on that board. What my sweetie told me is true; I’ll be the last Boomer president that organization has. Driving that point home, the 26-year old who followed me was our youngest president ever. At a conference we attended, someone assumed he was my son. I told him from now on, I was going to refer to him as my boy toy. Even though this group of professions is younger than me, we respect each other and I believe they enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs.

I’m pondering this, as it seems there’s been a rash of articles recently that makes it appear that Boomers and Millenials are at war with each other. I’m sure you’ve heard it. Boomers saying that Millenials are an entitled group of slackers who want everything handed to them without working for it. And Millenials saying the Boomers have screwed their environment, the economy and now they’re in debt and can’t get a job because Boomers won’t retire and can the Boomers just die off already.

Are we doing the same thing, just differently?

Are we doing the same thing, just differently?

No doubt there’s a generation gap. But wasn’t there an even larger generation gap between Boomers and their parents. And wasn’t it the Baby Boomer generation that said, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,”  that is until they aged out of that belief?

I went to see The Great Gatsby with my 23-year-old daughter and a few of her friends and was reminded of the differences of our ages. We all enjoyed the movie and went out for a drink together after. I had to tweet a picture of my wine because it was time for the Generation Fabulous winehop  and I wanted to be a part of it. I felt the need to apologize because I believe there’s rudeness to being more engaged with your phone than the company you’re with. ‘No Problem” they said, they really didn’t tweet but were into Vine  and Snapchat. I thought I was social media savvy, but I realized these young ‘ens absorb the latest thing and intuitively know how to do it and have moved on to something else before I’ve ever heard of it.

There was also the conversation that Kanye West is this generation’s Bob Dylan. I patted the young fella’s hand and laughingly said, “Bless your heart, we’ll just have to accept the fact that we’re from different generations.”

These are the differences that continues to keep life interesting. I’ve learned a big lesson from this age group. They are fearless and feel they can do anything. I really love how they embrace people  for who they are. They’re more color-blind and it doesn’t matter to them who their friends love.

My young friend, the AAF president recently went head-to-head with the State Governor about a proposed tax on creative services. I would have never had the chutzbah to face off with the Governor at a press conference.  He attributed it to his age which is more WTF than OMG and to the fact that he’s passionate about the advertising industry that we’re both a part of.  The Millenials have a “Yeah, I can do it and it doesn’t matter if I don’t know how, I’ll figure it out” attitude. It may come across to some as cocky, but I see it as fearless.

So this Boomer has tried to adopt that attitude. Instead of saying, “No, I don’t know how to do that, so I can’t.” I’ve learned to say, “Yeah I can do it, no problem.” And if I don’t know how, I can always get a young friend to show me the way.

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Liquor & Vinyl

15 06 2013

L&Q wine bottleMy vinyl-wrapped-wine-bottle-Honorable-Mention award reads, “This Vinyl Makes Me Want to Liquor.” That pretty much captures the spirit of AAF-BRs* Liquor & Vinyl fundraiser. AdFed, my club, my professional organization, my tribe held a wildly successful art auction. In keeping with the spirit of advertising, which is the industry this group supports, a call for artists was issued with the opportunity to use an old outdoor board vinyl in your creation. And that creation could be whatever you wanted it to be.

This club is made up of people who use their creativity in their jobs everyday; photographers, art directors, web designers, writers, graphic designers. It was amazing to see the work displayed by this group (the majority of the work submitted was by members though the call for artists was open to the public). The creativity was wonderful to behold. Not every one used the vinyl theme and there were some stunning fine art pieces. The vinyl did, however, add to the kinky fun of the night.  There was the shower curtain that was a slice from a colorful outdoor board. There were vinyl pillows, beanbags and vinyl-covered chairs. There was strips of woven vinyl on a frame, paintings on vinyl and vinyl covered frames.  A friend even made and wore a vinyl skirt! Click here and go the event page and you can scroll down and see most of the work.

The Martini Table

The Martini Table 

My sweetie and I took the liquor and vinyl theme to heart. Steve builds wonderful furniture and built a table with repurposed and recycled wood with a vinyl inset. He named it The Martini Table and it took First Place for most creative use of the theme. It came with a cash prize and after we paid our bar tab at the end of the evening, we even had money left over.  My honorable mention was for how I was able to incorporate vinyl onto a wine rack. My biggest expense in creating it was that I had to go buy several bottles of wine so I could take a picture of it before it was auctioned off.

Vinyl Wrapped Wine Rack

Vinyl Wrapped Wine Rack

 

 

Here’s a glimpse into my creative process:

creative sequence2

1. This is the old wine rack I had. It was in a high traffic area in my house. We kept bumping it and breaking our wine glasses. This led Steve to build the Hurricane Bar, which I then had to blog about. 

2. I picked an outdoor vinyl that had the most color on it. You don’t realize how huge an outdoor board is until you open it. This is about ¼ of the board. We’re using the remainder as a tarp.

3. I only needed two small pieces, so I was strategic in the areas I wanted. (Steve used the backside, which is black for his table). The vinyl had a grain to it, so when I selected the sections I wanted, they needed to be in the same direction of the grain.

4. After selecting the vinyl I decided to paint the wine rack copper.

5. I needed a something to tie the rack and the vinyl together. The furniture tack idea comes from watching way too much HGTV.

The auction quickly turned into a good party, after all liquor is in the title. It was held in a new cool downtown restaurant snuggled in the back of a shiny contemporary multi-storied office building, that has an urban vibe. The work was displayed in the building lobby and bought in piece by piece into the restaurant for the auction itself. The place was packed and the auctioneer found a home for every item.

An early morning journaling question was, what is your passion? I realized everything about this event fell into my passion, which can be summed up with the word creativity. The creation of this event with my professional friends. The creation of something tangible for the event. Seeing the amazing work that others created and gave away to be auctioned for a good cause. The fun auction and party that the actual event was. Creative friends supporting each other’s creations. It was a perfect creative storm. It’s left me inspired; I wonder where this creative energy will take me. I’ll keep you posted.

*AAF-BR stands for the American Advertising Federation -Baton Rouge; also know as AdFed or Ad Club

 

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A Weekful of Gratitude

17 03 2013

calendar

Monday: Move Day
My work office moved. Files purged, things thrown away, a fresh start in a new light-filed space. I work at a place that I really believe makes a difference in the community I call home.  Woman’s mission is more than a framed poster on a wall in the executive suite. We really live that mission; to improve the health of women and infants. The people I work with are all remarkable in their own unique way.  We are all striving in making our community a better place.

Tuesday: Artist’s Way at Work
I started facilitating an Artist’s Way at Work group in January. We are more than half way through our creative journey. In these past weeks, we have bonded as a group. Some of us have had big life events happen in the weeks we’ve been together. It has been a blessing to know this group backs and supports each of us on our life’s journey.

Wednesday: AAF-BR community meeting
The American Advertising Federation-Baton Rouge (AAF-BR)  is more than my professional club, it is my tribe. The Louisiana Governor is proposing new taxes on our livelihood by taxing creative services.   AAF-BR quickly gathered forces and hosted a meeting within days of the first mention of this proposal came to light. Our proactive meeting went viral and even made the national trade news. No one can predict the future, but this strong club will do it’s best to get all the information out. We will have our voice heard in the crazy Louisiana political system.

Thursday; Dinner cooked, wine poured
I have a wonderful man in my life. He takes care of me. He supports me in whatever I want to pursue. He cooks for me and he brings me coffee every morning. We both know what we have is precious and neither of us takes each other for granted. I continue to blossom because of this unconditional love.

Friday: LSU lecture
I treasure my relationship with my 22-year-old daughter. She’s in a screenwriting class and dropped by my office to film me for a class assignment this week. When she asked if I wanted to go to a lecture by the director of the award-winning film “Beast of the Southern Wild” I immediately said yes. I picked her up after work and we joined friends for drinks before going to the talk and then had dinner afterwards. Not only was the lecture insightful and engaging, so was the conversation before and after. She and I are in the wonderful evolution of becoming more than mother and daughter, we enjoy each other’s company and we want our friends to know each other.

Saturday: St. Patty’s Day parade
Listening to Friday’s lecture only reconfirmed how much I love this magical place where I live. Saturday dawned into a spectacular spring day. The trees are budding out spring green, and the azalea’s are in full bloom. No one does a parade like south Louisiana. The St. Patty’s parade is really just a continuation of Mardi Gras.   The parade winds through the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods. We started early by bringing Grillades and Grits  to my daughter who lives near the parade route. We meandered through the tree-lined streets and met up with friends. After catching our share of green beads, we party hopped  friend’s homes in the garden district for the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday: Catch up
I spent a lazy morning in bed watching CBS Sunday Morning, reading the paper, writing and drinking coffee. Nothing is planned today other than the typical Sunday chores and getting those taxes done.

I am full of love and gratitude and leftover Grillards and Grits.

Thank You, Amen, Blessed Be, Namaste. 





The Places I’ll Go

12 01 2013

dr-seuss

It’s time to turn a new page. That’s my thought as I write the last page of my journal.  I get a little reflective as I end something and start something new. Next week I’m facilitating my first group through the Art’s Council on The Artist Way at Work, based on a book that has been important to my journey. While reflecting on the past and the present, I look forward to where this journey is taking me.

My Creative Journey

Five years ago my then new boss told me I wouldn’t make another round of budget cuts and I should consider a job in sales. She saw me as a dinosaur. I was criticized for being a bad proofer. I’m a graphic designer, didn’t she know designers just look at words, we don’t read them?!

This led me to say YES to being on the Board of my professional club, the American Advertising Federation-Baton Rouge (AAF-BR).

I read the Artist’s Way for a second time.

This made me realize that while I still love design, when I started it wasn’t so solitary. I could now go all day sitting in front of a computer with no human interaction. I hate this. I’m an extrovert. I must talk to people in order to know what I’m thinking.

I make a decision to get over my fear of public speaking. I put myself in positions of HAVING to talk in front of people.

youer than you

That new boss quits and moves away. I become President of AAF-BR. Every email I send out as president has a typo in it and I still win District President of the Year.

I start giving workshops on Creativity and Innovation outside of my day job.

I started a side business, Greenview Designs. I designed my own logo and business card. I gave myself the title Creativity Coach.

Be who you say

I started this blog, My Creative Journey, so my creative  voice can be heard.

In the middle of the night, I stumble upon a bloghop by this group of midlife women bloggers called GenFab (Generation Fabulous).

weirdness

I become part of the FABULOUS GenFab blogger/writer tribe—a group of supportive, creative women who are changing how the world looks at midlife. (They don’t kick me out because of my typos.)

My blog makes it into a GenFab bloghop and I’m in Huffington freakin’ Post.

I make plans to attend BlogHer this summer in Chicago.

This week, I will lead a group based on the book The Artist’s Way at Work. It’s how to nurture the creative spirit within you.

today is your day

The thing about journeys is that they take you to unexpected places. I’ll keep telling you about my unexpected twists, turns and falls. Feel free to let me know yours. Oh, the places we’ll go!

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