118 - Be bold. Get old. Be a badass.

Hello and welcome to the The Spark & The Art creativity podcast. Thank you for subscribing to our weekly podcast, where we alternate between interviews with creative folks from all different career levels and insight and inspiration episodes. All with the intention you’ll get what you need to get your creative projects started and, more importantly, finished.

I’m your host Tucker and this week is just me and I’m going to review that Camp Festival of 2016. If you’d like to hear last year’s review you can find it at TheSparkAndTheArt.com/71 I’ve approached a few of the speakers over the years to be guests on the show and this year I’ve found a few I think would be good interviews. 

The Camp festival is a two day conference with a bunch of speakers from all different disciplines who work at a very high level in the industry. These are designers who have worked on movies like the Iron Man trilogy or have worked at Google and Microsoft or have The New Yorker magazine, Nike and Sports Illustrated as clients. 

This year was a little different than previous years. Where usually the line-up is dominated by illustrators, typographers or graphic designers this year was pretty VR (Virtual Reality) heavy. It’s a burgeoning field that is growing incredibly fast. VR isn’t just technology anymore. They industry requires all creative disciplines. Sound design was mentioned several times as an incredibly important part of the immersive experience so if you are an budding sound designer the VR world may be a good place to you to point your skills but that is just one part of the industry. Projects also require visual designers, musicians, interface designers, 3d animators, story writers, game designers and on and on.

I’m going to do a quick recap of some of the talks I saw but not all of them. 

Joshua Smith - Joshua is an illustrator that didn’t start out to be an illustrator and went to college to be an elementary school teacher. He found out almost accidentally that design could pay some bills and now his client list includes Nike, Billabong, Hasbro, Lucas Film and many many more.

Joshua's presentation was a little different that the others in that he told his story of hardship and struggle and the power of perseverance and defiance. It was a story of death, abuse, neglect and abandonment. The point of his story was that it was these things his life was made of that allowed him to become the man/designer/business owner he is today. 

Denis Lirette - Denis is creative director for GlobaCore, a company that makes video games and interactive experiences for brands like Honda, Coca-Cola and Ebay. His presentation was the tale of how they had two weeks to build a video game based installation for a conference. So in that amount of time he and his team built and four walled virtual reality interface based version of Tetris. With a custom controller made from a cube of wood and tiny computer (like the size of a stamp kind of tiny) called an Edison. With immersive sound design and custom 80s influenced soundtrack and the installation space included lasers, smoke machine, mirror balls etc… because he wanted the virtual reality immersion to start in actual reality. 

The installation was for a conference (which are notorious for not being big money makers) so when I asked about the budget for the project he said he and his team did it for no cost on evenings and weekends.

Danny Yount - Won an Emmy for the title sequence for the HBO show 6 Feet Under. But started out like  Joshua (like most people really) without knowing where he would wind up. He’s had 38 Jobs over the years and it wasn’t until his 30th that he considers himself having an actual ‘design job’. Bis list included pizza delivery, janitor and radio dispatcher. Danny works in making title sequences for movies and TV shows. He walked through his process for a few projects like the end credits for Iron Man 3, the main credits for Tom Cruise’s Oblivion and a show that didn’t make it called The Bastard Executioner. That last one looked reeeealllly dark. 

Stacy Mulcahy - She currently heads up The Garage, a makerspace in the Microsoft Offices in Vancouver. She’s agreed to be a guest on the show as well so you can look out for her interview in the coming months and she’ll be able to tell you much better about her space and what her incredibly cool job is. Stacy’s talk was about "Lessons learned, advice given and ignored, things done and more things just talked about because doing any more would just be work” (that description was right from the site). During her talk she said "If I'm meeting I can't be making”. This is important you have to be able to say no to meetings and care for your own personal and work time. People will assume you will somehow find the time to ‘make’ instead of assuming that they are taking your time away.

This works whether you are a professional, crocheting kitten mittens for an Easy Store part-time or just like painting on the weekends. If you don’t say no to people and take your time for yourself you will just live your life based on the whims and expectations of others.

I recently had a meeting with a co-worker and I had mentioned that I was going to be out for two days to attend the conference and knowing that I had just taken a full 3-weeks in August she commented that she couldn’t possibly find time to take a vacation because her calendar was always back-to-back meetings. This person does not live a life based on her own path. She let’s other people’s projects and needs over take her own.

So, that’s the recap and at 10 minutes it hardly does justice to a two day event. I really enjoy the Camp festival and if you are ever in Calgary during September and need a good two-day injection of creative inspiration I’d recommend taking part. We can go for a Dim-sum lunch together. That would be fun right? Right? Just say yes even if you don’t mean it.  

The last thing I noticed was that many of the speakers were in their forties and and at least one in their fifties. They had been doing creative work for part of their working lives while some started earlier and had been doing it for decades now. They were both proud and embarrassed by their early work. They are happy with where they are with where they are with their careers but all mentioned in some way that they were curious where they would wind up next. Also, more that one of them mentioned the desire to be a badass at something and all gave a similar statement about persistence and struggle. These people are at the level they are because they take pride in their skills and ownership of their work. I think Danny Yount’s slide summed it up best “Hard work can overtake lazy talent”.

So what I took from this year's Camp Festival is: Be bold, get old and be a badass. 


Get me on twitter @sparkartpodcast

Thanks for listening and remember: you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark. 


- Links for this episode -

Camp Festival - http://www.campfestival.ca/

Globacore - http://www.globacore.com/vr/

Joshua Smith Illustrator - http://hydro74.com/

Stacy Mulcahy - https://twitter.com/bitchwhocodes

Danny Yount - http://dannyyount.com/