Either there’s an incredible new diet trend out there, or our mentor, Thiago de Moraes, meant this metaphorically. Regardless, I was hooked by the headline of his latest talk Wednesday morning. I arrived at class feeling hungry—literally and figuratively. My stomach rumbling, sad cereal bar in hand. My mind eagerly awaiting Thiago’s wisdom. And he delivered—figuratively (sadly, there were no pastries present).
Simply put, Thiago told us we must consume everything we can in order to feed our creativity. It seems obvious reflecting on it now, but what particularly resonated with me was his emphasis on everything—not just ads. If we only consume things related to advertising, we’ll just be “shitting what we eat,” pardon my (Thiago’s) French. In order to make improbable connections and create work that’s unexpected, we have to eat a varied diet.
This felt like a huge relief to me.
Since arriving at SCA, I’ve felt an ever-present twinge of imposter syndrome for not being more of an advertiphile. We’ve been regaled with tales of groundbreaking ads and the agencies and creatives who dared to make them. And frankly, at most of the references, I’ve drawn a blank. I didn’t live and breathe advertising before coming here. I can’t name my top 10 favorite ads, agencies, or creative directors off the top of my head. I don’t think I have them yet.
So, hearing Thiago’s advice to consume a smorgasbord (hungry yet?) was music to my ears. He went even further to urge us to not do this as a job. If it becomes work to look around us and take it all in, then there’s no joy in it. If we overanalyze every bit of creativity, from a film to a piece of pottery, we won’t allow our natural emotional reaction to take place. And that emotional reaction is the point of the creative work in the first place.
Art makes us feel something, so let’s allow it to make us feel. To wash over us, and then melt away. To dissolve into something that’s uniquely ours—and hopefully, come back later as something else entirely, and inspire our best work.
Luckily for me, I’ve just arrived in London. So every walk to class or venture to grab lunch is an exciting and romantic opportunity to be inspired. I even found the Shoreditch trash strike charming at first. And sure, it can be as simple as going for a walk and noticing what you see, hear, smell. But we must go further to try new things, to get out of our comfort zones. We must seek out art we wouldn’t ordinarily gravitate towards—pop music fan? Go to a heavy metal concert. High-brow cinema type? Turn on Love Island. Avid theater-goer? Try an opera. And if you don’t like it, you can still allow it to change you, to move you.
We won’t make new connections by repeating our routines. And nobody likes monotony, anyway. So, keep your fork and knife with you at all times, and be brave enough to take a bite out of every cuisine on the menu.
Okay, time for a snack.