I’m an advertising major and I intend to work in creative. I’ve loved engaging in creative projects since I was a little girl. I was the kind of kid who didn’t just draw all over the walls, I painted on them with permanent paint, much to the displeasure of my parents.
As much as I love using advertising as a creative outlet, I hate to limit myself, so I engage in all sorts of other projects. Particularly for the last year, I’ve been taking classes in the performance studies department at UNC Chapel Hill, and learning so much more about the storytelling process.
In these small classes, we use all sorts of texts (fiction novels, poetry, film, articles, etc) as inspiration for short performance art pieces. And I’m not going to lie, we do some pretty weird stuff. If you’re ever walking around the UNC campus and you see a group of students walking across the quad, holding hands, and reciting the words to Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go … that’s us. I’ve also done things like hold a headstand in the student union for close to 20 minutes while a UNC football player sang “Feelin Good” by Nina Simone from a balcony. Another time, I allowed people to slap me in the face with chalkboard erasers, covering my face in a cloud of whiteness during a performance piece about race in America.
All of these performances are used to tell stories, but also simply evoke emotions and catch attention — things that are necessary in the creation of a good advertisement, or the creation of any work of art.
What I love about taking these types of classes and having these experiences, is that I get to spend time with creatives outside of my journalism school. I find that spending time around other creative people nourishes my soul and helps me do better in my field. And there’s something extra special about being with creatives from all walks of life who engage in all types of art. It opens your mind to new ideas.
This concept was once something that I didn’t actively think about, but the other day, I remembered why spending time around a diverse group of creatives is so important. I was working on my final performance project of the semester with a group of four girls. One of the girls wasn’t interested in creativity or art, and when she was in the room, the energy dragged. Then, when the other three girls met to work without her, the momentum changed completely. We were all shouting out ideas, getting on our feet, trying new things, smiling, laughing and joking. By the end of the session, we all seemed to feel intensely more excited about the progress of our work. That’s when I realized the importance of creative spaces.
I love all of my colleagues, but sometimes, working in a group of people with a mindset similar to yours is absolutely vital to creating something you will be proud of. In addition, your work will be even more impressive if you’re open to meeting and collaborating with all different types of creatives. You simply have to be willing to take a little extra time to decide which people have something to add to your project and which ones might not.
So, if you’re a creative or an artist of any type, I highly recommend you engage in a little experimentation! If you’re a musician, try hanging out with some poetry people. If you’re into visual art, go to a film festival and poke around. If you’re an advertising creative, take an interpretive dance class. You’ll probably have experiences that inspire you in unexpected ways and you’ll meet new people worth working with. Most importantly, healthy exploration of creative fields and spending time with like-minded people is almost guaranteed to leave you feeling more excited about the world around you.