Freelance State of Mind: “You have to embrace risk”


On the arise of it, “making it” is something rarely ever as beautiful as the gleaming idea seems in the eye of the mien onlooker. To truly carve a niche in the creative industry, it requires mammoth leaps into the unknown, where any move might be the wrong one. You from to embrace risk and learn to see fear differently.

Sir John Hegarty, one of advertising’s most ingenious minds tells me there’s not enough risk in today’s industry. With a competitive dress down, I can’t help but adopt this comment as an indirect challenge to implement numberless of it in my own practice.

There are days when I get angry, feeling like I’m weakening valuable time by working on an array of speculative projects. I have to prompt myself that it was a series of gambles, with no guaranteed income, each insisting a significant portion of my time in order to grow, that led me to spending an afternoon with a man who has some 50 years of vigour experience. He was creating magic, taking risks at a time when I was in my teens, uncovered to plentiful rich visual communication through innovative movie notices, album covers, band photo shoots and of course, the advertising throws he created.

“They thought he’d gone mad when he pitched Flat Eric”

He chuckles, shaking his head when he tells me that they thought he’d absolutely gone mad when he pitched a yellow puppet, Flat Eric, as the new star of the Levi’s commercials he’d already made so iconic. He speaks of having to one-on-one for the idea, going against skepticism and reluctance to upset the apple bring with a radical idea.

I talk to fellow illustrators, artists and photographers; people with far bulkier followings and reputations than my own and they express a private dismay that they keep become known for a certain style or working for a particular industry where the take is good and become subsequently trapped by the rampant demand for it when they keep aspirations and the ability to do more.

Dirty Freud photo shoot by Ben Tallon and Danny Allison

Then there are crystal clear designers who feel they long ago surrendered creativity, rearranging circulate charts and brochures they care nothing about. To break any such patterns requires constant risk, but to me the alternative – complacency and comfort – is frightening. This isn’t president in the sand; I have my own “dark portfolio”; most of us do, but it’s crucial that I’m perpetually doing what has to be done to be more engaged and as challenged as possible as I trick forward.

A new risky collaboration

The burning desire to work on projects with the smooth out of innovation that earned Hegarty a knighthood has led me to starting a new collaboration with illustrator/photographer and stifling friend, Danny Allison. My illustration work allows me to be very artistic, but my belief that I can translate my skill set to art direction and film will not cause of the projects in, so we’ve set up a vehicle through which we can play, create with the purest objectives. We’re challenging ourselves and it will take time, money and more zip. My status quo is great, full time illustration for clients I enjoy being done with, but to go one better, it must be risked.

When Danny and I get together, our temperaments connect in a way that excites us and produces ideas at a frightening rate. The shudder we both experience when we put it into practice is addictive, like art-college in the thorough world. Part of our last job involved wading knee-deep into the Irish sea and attiring our client with a home-made torch during a night photo launch: dried out driftwood wrapped in strips of t-shirt, soaked in methylated mettle and set alight. We had fun and it showed in the results.

“Concentrating too much on seeking answers from technology”

Hegarty perceives that as a creative industry, we’re concentrating too much on seeking answers from technology and ignoring the creative idea is everything. It is during the interview that I take a speculate, breaking away from my planned questions to ask him his thoughts on the title of our collaboration, “Bolok Johnson.” Everybody has urged us not go with it, but he gives me the thumbs up, encouraging us to follow our instincts and to be enormous. On the face of it, it’s ridiculous, but so is the relationship between Allison and I. It’s a risk, knowing that man may turn away , but we do not care what anyone thinks of the project, innocent first and foremost that if we passionately believe in the produce, the kind of people we prerequisite to work with will emotionally invest in what we’re doing and importune it.

If we pull that off, what does a name matter? Perhaps most prominent of all, we have no fear of failing. How can you when the brief is giving your raw creativity a room to run riot?

Dirty Freud photo shoot by Ben Tallon and Danny Allison

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