Bringing the Art Out of Office

The ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design in Miami Beach last week was host to countless opportunities for creative expression, bringing together hundreds of industry creatives for three days of consciously dedicated time away from the office, and most importantly, getting back to their artistic roots.

It was in this spirit that we established Out of Office, an exclusive exhibit of art work (of the unbranded, non-integrated, pencil and paint-based variety) created by some of the top advertising and design creative directors working today — all produced while they’re not technically working. We wanted to remind Festival attendees that the love of art and creativity that initially attracted them to the industry doesn’t have to be exploited on behalf of work: it should be appreciated and honored on its own.

The artwork submitted exceeded our expectations in its caliber and originality, and bestowed an element of artistic authenticity on the entire Festival because the creative directors who submitted their work believe that making art helps them to both detach from and reconnect to their professional work.

“I call my painting therapy,” says Sean Davison, SVP Creative Director at MacLaren McCann and Out of Office contributor. “Maybe that’s the best way to describe what it means to me. It frees my imagination into a pure creative exercise of exploration and storytelling.”

ADC Board President and The Barbarian Group co-founder Benjamin Palmer  contributed two oil paintings that also tell a story — one with more behind it than meets the eye. His process involves using digital composites from stock photography and found internet images, and then working with artists at an oil painting factory in China to make full size and thumbnail versions of the composites. “As a creative person who’s doing mostly client-based work,” Benjamin notes, “it’s important to do work that you’re instigating yourself.”

Jim Riswold, Executive Director at W+K 12, whose large scale prints juxtapose gorgeous desserts with military figurines, summarized the paradoxical idea of taking a step back from your work in order to rejuvenate it, the central ethos of Out of Office and the ADC Festival as a whole:  “Art, among many other things, proves how unimportant advertising is, and once you figure out how unimportant advertising is, it allows you to do great advertising.”

Photography by Lynn Parks