“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?

Head Of The Pack

I would apologize for three dog posts in a row… if it weren’t awesome.  But, as it is, dogs are pretty much the best thing in the entire world.

Everyone agrees?  Great.  Let’s move on.

So back at the beginning of the month I mentioned that I was doing some work for Pedigree’s Dog Adoption Project.  While that was an awesome experience, it was only the tip of the iceberg.  I got the Pedigree job as a referral from The Michigan Animal Rescue League.

MARL-0276

Back, about 2 and a half years ago, I did a bit of volunteer photographic work for the Rescue League.  You can check out some of the images in my fine art gallery (click that image on the right to link to it).  It culminated in a couple small photo shows at local galleries and a bit of work for the Rescue League to use on their site and such.

This time, while I was already digging in, I figured I might as well give it my all…. so here’s what’s going down:

The Rescue League needed a commercial.  This place has been helping you find your best friend for over half a century.  People should know how awesome they are.  So that happened.  Check it  –


While I was working on the commercial, one of the volunteers came up with the idea to strap a camera to a spoon and give peanut butter to all the dogs.  The whole concept made me feel like a child ’cause I wasn’t smart enough to come up with such an awesome idea… but that’s beside the point.  For your viewing pleasure, here’s a boat-load of dogs eating peanut butter:

All the media is fine and dandy, but I felt this time around it would be better to keep pushing and put together an event.  So here’s the deal.

My longest-running client owns a bowling center and restaurant in Commerce, MI – Wonderland Lanes and The Mad Hatter Pub.   He happens to also love dogs.

He’s graciously agreed to host a pet adoption fundraiser on May 5th.  There will be food, music, glow bowling, art sales, and – of course – lots of dogs and cats ready to love you forever.  Here are the details:

Pets N Pins Poster Print WEB RES

You should totally come.  Even if you don’t bowl, the food is great, it’s a great cause, and how else would you rather spend a Sunday than playing with puppies and kittens?

See you there!

– Jon

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