What’s wrong with this picture?
While the NRA would prefer otherwise, the parents of Sandy Hook are refusing to change the subject or the conversation about guns. For them, the political has become exquisitely–and painfully–personal. Last night’s 60 Minutes devoted two segments to the “after” of their lives since December 14. It was television at its devastating best and if there was any good news to be gleaned from their story, it is that their grief-turned-activism has inspired some of the strictest gun control legislation in the nation.
In the same spirit, Toronto artist Viktor Mitic has created “Incident,” a bullet-riddled school bus originally created to drive home the effects of gang and gun violence in his hometown. It is now on exhibit at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA in a show called, appropriately, “Newtown Project: Art Targets Guns.” Despite the subject matter, the artist does not call himself an activist. According to a piece in the Washington Post, Mitic, who has often used ammunition in his art, he does not believe it is his role to influence viewers on “what to do about guns…” One could say the work speaks for itself.
The brain on creativity
In a wonderful bit of synchronicity, my official career (advertising) and encore career (launching a primary care advocacy organization) came together thanks to a post on the Well blog of the NYT. Written by Dr. Danielle Ofri, it poses the question: what are you doing creatively these days?
Ofri, of course, is talking to doctors who, she believes, are innately creative but stifled by an “algorithmic approach to diagnosis and treatment.” She challenges them to think outside the box of “standardized treatment success” and bring a more creative, nuanced approach to the “every day delivery of health care,” benefitting both patient and practitioner.
What she prescribes is both revolutionary (in traditional medical education) and commonsensical (but occasionally forgotten by those of us in the creative business), specifically:
- Incorporate the arts and humanities in the medical school curricula. Patients (and communicators) are storytellers. What better way to understand what they’re saying than with the tools art, literature and poetry teach us? Read a book, go to a movie, see a show, get out of your head.
- Think different. Consider ideas and relationships that don’t fit established patterns.
- Follow that metaphor. Go beyond the statement to find out what’s really behind the symptom (or the selling proposition).
Ofri recommends that “the next time you see your doctor, you might want to ask what he or she is doing creatively these days.” As creatives, we should ask ourselves the same thing.
Creative news that struck our fancy this week:
Book design: If you know me, you know that I read. A lot. And very often I choose those books based on the appeal–and feel–of their covers. Compelling cover art (graphics and paper stock) will draw me in every time. (Proof that apps and retina displays are still no substitute for a real book.) Just by chance, while looking for something else, I found this slideshow in the NYT featuring the favorite book covers of graphic designers around the world. Their comments are instructive and their choices are too.
Graphics myths: In his provocative new book, Popular Lies about Graphic Design, British designer and art director Craig Ward shows that everything we thought we knew about design (from comic sans to longer deadlines and cheapskate budgets) is most likely wrong. Or at least deserves a second, more informed thought.
Better work: For those who dread Mondays or feel trapped in agencies/firms that don’t inspire, this piece from Co.Design is a tonic and provides six ways to save your sanity and your creative soul, starting with: “Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.” (A phrase that resonates on so many levels!)