I was back in the theater at 8 to grab a complimentary coffee provided in the lobby, making a feeble attempt to shock my system into thinking it actually got a healthy amount of sleep. I wanted to make sure that I got to see all of the speakers, specially the early ones. Last year, one of my favorite presenters was Octavius Newman from B3arfruit who was the first speaker on Saturday, and was sadly missed by many people nursing a hangover from the night before.
The first day of presenters did not disappoint. It might sound ridiculous, but simple things like the idea of bookending your days with drawing seemed fresh and innovative. For a while now I’ve been struggling with the desire to draw more but justifying my inaction with the all too familiar concept of not having enough time. For some reason just hearing Carlos Basabe talk about how starting and finishing the day with a quick doodle helps him feel satisfied seemed to give me the validation that I needed to really commit to getting back into the rhythm of sketching everyday.
Between presenters I frequently found myself in the vendor area emptying my wallet on the wealth of amazing prints brought my various designers. I walked away with several pieces, but not before having a conversation that would help me reevaluate the creative debacle I had come to Creative South with. I am an in-house designer, which is great because it affords me the lifestyle I’ve chosen plus a certain amount of security that many agency and freelancers don’t have; on the flip side, not all of my projects are super creative, and at times I find myself creatively unfulfilled. I was talking with Derrick Castle when I mentioned I was in-house, to which he replied he was too. This floored me, because for anyone that follows Derrick knows he crushes it with his block-prints, so much so, that I thought for sure that he was freelance. Realizing that a lot of what he posts are passion projects really opened my eyes to the idea that it’s not my place of employment that defines my design profile, but me.
After talking with Derrick, hearing about the rollercoaster of success and failure from Adam Grason left me thankful for the opportunities I have and helped motivate me to pursue my own design initiatives without worrying about failure. This guy worked hard, earned, and seemed to lose everything he always wanted. By sheer determination and an excellent outlook on life, he just seems to roll with the punches better than anyone else I’ve ever seen. For anyone who is afraid to put themselves out there and truly be vulnerable, Adam represents a reason to go forward and do it.
Anton & Irene showed a little bit of their process, gave us a look behind the curtain with some of their greatest failures and triumphs and entertained us in a way only they could. I think the greatest take-away I had from them was their ambition to just do the things they felt were right. If you see an opportunity to create, take it, and don’t let the idea just sit there or get passed over. So many times in their presentation they would show how something game them a spark and they pursued it rather than let it die.
The presentations for day one were done and the attendees poured out into the downtown Columbus area, joining an outdoor festival that coincidentally was also going on that night. After regrouping with my crew, we dropped in on a local favorite dinning spot called the Black Cow. We were rolling twelve deep so the only space they had was outside, which honestly was great because the weather was beautiful, and being outside also meant that we didn’t have to compete with all of the noise inside. It was great getting to sit down and catchup with old friends and talk with new ones. Before we knew it, we had closed out the restaurant and we were headed to the after party hosted by the Creative South.
On the walk back we lost a few of our group to heavy eye-lids and responsibility. A few of us, myself included, headed back to the after party venue which blended into an odd combination of college bros from Columbus State University and the creatives in town for the conference. I ran into Justin Mezzell and had a fun conversation sharing our love of the Fast and Furious franchise and our disappointment with the cinematic abomination known as Batman v Superman. After a few more conversations with various creatives, our group decided to move to the after-after party in the lobby of the Marriott.
One of my compatriots had a couple trash cans filled with ice and beer that required our attention, and it wasn't long before a few more insomniacs would walk into the lobby and join our merry band of creatives. At a certain point James Hsu sat down and the group exchanged rapper aliases, his being J-Money and mine being B-Dubs. It wouldn’t be much longer before I found myself walking back to my hotel around four in the morning, with my last memory being the clock next to my bed reading 4:15.