There’s a romantic notion that the life of a creative is a lonely existence. An outsider in a corporate world.
Right brain bobbing in a sea of left. A square peg staring at a blank white pad, clock ticking, while an army of round holes wait anxiously for a golden egg. And there’s an element of truth in this, I guess.
An idea has to start somewhere. In the first instance, that somewhere is nowhere. Nothingness. And, yes, that’s lonely and sometimes scary. But if starting The Corner has taught me anything, it’s that surrounding yourself with brilliant people is the best weapon against the blank monster.
It’s not rocket science, but brilliant people have energy, opinions and humour. They challenge, question, debate and listen. They don’t have to switch the light on for you – but if you let them in, they can make that time spent sitting in the dark more bearable.
Gang. Team. Squad. Fam. Whatever you want to call them, if you’ve got the right people around you, you’ve got all the weaponry you need to win because they lift you up and make you better. They take whatever you can offer, however big or small, and add themselves to it, like a Katamari, until it rolls big and strong and defiant.
My first boss once said to me that the job of a creative is to take a cow and make it into an Oxo cube. Reduce, reduce, reduce, until it fits into 30 seconds. But a lot has changed since then, and I reckon now it’s more like breeding a field of bovine and setting them free on the world. And to do that, you need a proper gang of gauchos.
I bumped into Adam & Eve/DDB founding partner Ben Priest last month, and we eulogised about the power of letting go and letting people in. From the twinkle in his eye, I’d guess he’s getting the same sense of invigoration from it in Paddington that I am in Soho. Different battles, same choice of weapon.
Tom Ewart is the executive creative director and founding partner at The Corner.