Today was my first Semi Permanent. Mostly when I attend events I am desperate to get my hands on practical advice and I am sorely disappointed if that doesn't happen. The events are usually a couple of hundred people at most in attendance. Semi Permanent is of a larger scale than anything I have ever been to before and now I know why year on year there are a couple of thousand bums on seats at the Convention Centre. One word: Inspiration. Definitely not what I was expecting.
Hardened cynic that I am I never imagined that I would be moved to tears by speakers, be inspired to see out my vision, and be convinced to put my mortgage payment fears aside to listen to people blindly and foolishly following their dreams. Each speaker has had their troubles and they trustingly shared their failures with us so that we might be strengthened by their struggles and try to bring our projects to similar heights. Ok, enough waxing lyrical - it's been a long day and I am emotionally drained! Here is what I learned today and I am going to share it with you:
Louise and Natasha from Frankie:
- If you can mitigate risk by finding a backer for your project, do so.
- Don't try and hide your message behind tricky design and unrealistic photography. It's window dressing. Speak and listen to your audience.
- True beauty is equally unattainable as Photoshop trickery. We just have an easier time accepting real beauty.
- Cost saving measures = creativity in the form of hand made fonts, DIYism, zero need for make up artists.
Mel and Travis:
- Confidence can be built by taking baby steps in your career. Showing your work in a gallery setting is important to your emotional growth and bringing your work to a happy place as it is to your bio and sales.
- Muses are wonderful. It's clear that Mel and Travis have found love and security in each other and act as each others creative battery packs.
- Money does not have to be a motivator. In fact none of the speakers today spoke about their material successes. What was evident was that each had a higher calling, or a drive that came from inside, not a lust for percieved financial security.
Craig Schuftan from triple J:
- Craig's jouney was very difficult to translate. It was massively entertaining and witty and academic and required lots of mental athletics. There was only one lesson for me and that is that the brain really is the largest sex organ. He spoke on music, the 80s revival, surrealism, and possibly everything in between. The conclusion was that art school makes great musicians - I think! His entire preso will be available soon from Bird in the Hand Zine Store in Newcastle. If it's anywhere near as fascinating as his presentation, I would highly reccomend you buy it.
John and Jessica from Fecal Face:
- Buy art. John's message took a long time to come, but at the end, his message was Buy Art. I'm not sure if we share this view in the detail, but I agree. He is excited by art and supports originality. I, on the other hand, am terrified that if we don't buy art, one day we will want a nice picture on our wall and there will be no artists because nobody bought art. All the artists in the world will have become civil engineers and moved to Toledo Ohio.
- Sacrifice and work hard for the concept you believe in. I agree in principle but I love picking vegetables and laying on our trampoline looking at the clouds too much to put his advice into practice.
James Dive from Glue Society:
- There will be no epiphany, no lightning bolt moment. I love this revelation that was shared at question time. I think it put a lot of young creatives in the audience at ease.
- Get a job at Glue Society. James didn't endorse this idea as there are only eight creatives at Glue, but after seeing his presentation, I have concluded that they are the Google employer of the advertising world. They show art at Basel, melt ice cream trucks for Sculpture by the Sea, and generally indulge and enjoy themselves while still running a successful and profitable business.
- From our personal interview with James, which will be posted when I find my USB cord, we learned that being an ad agency creative, far from just being an enabler of the ideas of others, can be a way to see your ideas come to fruition on multiple platforms, with decent budgets. Creative WIN!
Ashley Gilbertson, Photojournalist:
- Things matter. Creativity aside, there is a big horrible world out there where bad things happen to people. And those people have families: parents, children, friends. We can use our creativity to bring that message to people more concerned with how many shopping days there are til Christmas, as Ashley so eloquently put it.
- Sometimes as creatives we rightfully ask ourselves the question: 'But are we saving lives' and the answer is no. But Ashley's work is equally as important as a nurse or an ambo. He puts a true story into the media landscape, truthfully and respectfully told, which shapes public opinion of an issue, and maybe somewhere a policy is amended and maybe lives really are saved. At the very least he tells the story of the ignored and invisible, recognising them and respecting them, and changing lives for the better. Creativity can have a higher, more lofty purpose.
- It's good to yell at people. Yelling at people in power gets things done.
Overall today, I have been elated, misty, inspired, and I have escaped.
Now for dumplings.