“Artist” is So Last Decade.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work with up and comers in various creative industries; specifically, people who are looking to turn their passions and hobbies into a career.  There have been events like lectures, presentations, and portfolio reviews; and I’ve taught a number of visual media classes.  Throughout these experiences, I’ve caught myself using a term repeatedly.

Professional Creatives.

Now, you might say to yourself – isn’t that the same thing as a creative professional? It’s a common phrase and it sounds very similar. And I’ll give it to you that each title shares similar traits. But there’s one big fundamental difference.  You can consider it grammar or sentence structure, but it all comes down to which trait is most valuable.

So, what’s the difference between a creative professional and a professional creative?

In each title, there’s a noun and there’s an adjective.  One of these individuals identifies them self as a professional while the other labels them self as a creative. They both share similar qualities, but depending on the title, there’s a different emphasis.  It’s the noun that deserves priority as it defines what the person is, and not a characteristic they possess.

EXAMPLE: Gray elephant.  By looking at the elephant, you know it’s gray, but that’s not what jumps out at you.  The first thing you see is “Elephant.”

So, that begs the question: which is more important, being professional or being creative?

Dick Weisgrau – he’s the former Executive Director of ASMP.  (for those of you who don’t know, the ASMP is the American Society of Media Photographers.  It’s basically THE association of professional photographers.) Dick once said “It’s almost more important to be a good business person than it is to be a good photographer”

There are 2 things to walk away from that with: to maintain a career in the industry, you need to be both creative and professional.  They’re the 2 most important aspects.  However, to sacrifice any aspect of your creativity for the sake of appearing more professional is the first step in removing yourself from your passion.

If you’re a baker, or a sculptor, or an illustrator, or a photographer, or a graphic designer and you have your own company – when you meet someone and they ask what you do, do you say “I’m a business owner?”

No – You introduce yourself by your passion.

Hi.  I’m Jon , I’m a photographer, and I’m a professional creative.

Who are you?

Turning The Community Inside Out

_DSC5778  “Art-Cities” are rather prevalent these days.

In the US, New York is a given.  Philadelphia, and Boston are also getting pretty influential.  Of course there are a whole bunch on the west coast, as well.  But, when it comes to the Midwest, it’s not so much the city-proper that are havens for artists, but the smaller communities that make up portions of downtown.  Detroit is a great example.

It’s actually gotten to the point that the art and creativity is spilling out of the few neighborhoods and showing up on city-maintained structures like early-century corporate buildings, public transportation vehicles, and a lot of the general infrastructure of the city.

The best part is that while downtown is letting its creativity fly free, a lot of the suburbs are following suit and encouraging artists to publicly display work and construct customized installation pieces.

In fact, the Detroit Institute of Arts has gotten very involved and has begun donating replicas of famous works for public display on local communities.  Check it out –> http://www.dia.org/get-involved/community-outreach.aspx

Some of you may have heard of JR.  He’s a French artist who won the TED Prize in 2011.  Here’s his talk:


As you can see, his concept of a world-wide art project is pretty grandiose and wide-sweeping.

Well, it’s working –>  http://www.insideoutproject.net/  and Metro Detroit is taking part.  The city of Walled Lake is digging into the art world and will be playing host to the DIA’s project, JR’s Inside Out Project, and a whole slew of work from local artists this spring.

Be sure to check the city website for details and swing back here to see some of the shots!

– Jon

I Made a Book!

Hey!  I made a book!

 

In fewer than 2 months, a handful of things will happen: Christmas pandemonium will be upon us, I will engage in my first “holiday break” in years without molecular bonding between myself and a Zelda game, and I will participate in a portfolio/career show – where I will be presented to prospective contract-ees much like a slab of cow-meat is waved at overweight Americans on the 4th of July.

But I suppose I’m clinging too strongly to my personal feelings about the whole thing.  In the end, I could wind up in a contract with Diesel Jeans or something… I guess we’ll see.

The super-awesome-fantastic-great-plus side of the whole ordeal is that it has forced me to finally make the portfolio book I’ve been avoiding for quite some time (years).  Of course the benefit of me waiting this long is that the thing is rather up-to-date.

I could explain the finer aspects of the ProLine Paper, the beautiful image-wrapped cover, or even the hours of nervous twitching as I meticulously determined which image to place next to which.  But, in the end, you probably don’t care and may not ever touch, caress, stroke, or in other words fondle this glorious, printed, eye-seducer.

So, I’ll just show you an Issuu render of the thing.
Enjoy!

– Jon

(OH- and in you’re interested in a superb coffee table book, shoot me an email and we’ll make some magic happen!)

 

Cosmetics Shmosmetics

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a project in the works that may or may not have involved assorted non-makeup like materials in place of actual cosmetics.

Well here’s the project.  But first – let me dig through a few minutes of back-story.

I was given an assignment to “create a project.”  … … OK – for all of you non-art people out there, let me lay this out.  When someone essentially says “Do something,” it’s a problem.   See, no many project ideas you have tucked away for a rainy day, that level of challenge instantly negates any of your previous concepts.  What they’re really saying is, “So, you think you’re creative, huh?  Think you got a head on them shoulders?  Fine.  Bring it.  Show me what you got.  It better be MIND-BLOWING.”

This invariably leads to panic attacks and a violent barrage of second guessing yourself.

But that is all leading up to the real point…. This dude –>   Caleb Charland.  He takes (what I like to refer to as) “pictures of science.”  Whether it’s actually science or just looks “sciencey”is irrelevant.  The point is that he inspired me to make things.  Things like catapults and dead-falls.

Then I thought, “What could I use such harmful devices for that would be photographically interesting?”  AH HA!   —-   Splattering my friends and acquaintances with assorted food and art mediums.

So it began.

But after a few days of though i realized that things I could fling really only came in lumpy, liquidy, flakey, or powdery consistencies and that I would quickly run out of delivery methods.  So, I racked my brain further.

That’s when I went to Rite Aid to get something (probably razors or soap or something).  BUT!  While I was there, I couldn’t help but notice the 5-foot tall posters of seductive looking ladies flashing their mascara-ridden lashes at me.

Then it just clicked in my head like a bad-idea shotgun chambering a round of inappropriate.

People flip through “Cosmo” and see models making ridiculous faces then say to themselves “if I use that makeup, I could look equally as stupid.”  OK, they probably don’t say that, but it’s sort of the unconscious process that goes on.

I got to thinking, what would happen if I got people to slather their visages with Alphabet Soup, corn starch, or pizza toppings?  Would marinara be the new black in next summer’s line up?

No.  Probably not…   But I still got people to do it.

That’s gotta count for something.

Here you go.

– J

on

Oldy but a Goody

I’ve been gettin’ retroactive lately.

I’ve been feeling the need to restructure my portfolio – trimming down some spots, bulking up some others, creating new categories altogether…  Throughout the process I’ve been looking through my work from early on in my career all the way up to last week.  It’s been fascinating.

One of the trends I notice repeating itself is that of the “completely ridiculous.”  It seems to be a driving force in a lot of my personal work.

Which brings us to the topic at hand.

2 years ago there was a competition for a scholarship; I had to tell a story in 8 images.  As per usual, I put things off and it was dangerously close to the deadline.  Then I got a call from the accepting committee, reminding me that I still had not submitted.  I confirmed that there were still 4 days left to submit.

They corrected me.  It turns out I had gotten the date wrong.  I had less than 36 hours.

With the relentless help of Carl Amyoni, we jumped into action.

In a 30-hour shooting spree we planned the shoot, bought the props, found the locations (3 different cities), shot the pictures, and ran post production.

The project won 2nd place in the nation.

I share with you – NERDMAN.

– Jon

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