UK Pt. 1: Brighton, R2BC 2012

This year I had the extreme honor of being invited to head over to Brighton for this year's Reasons to Be Creative Festival, the reincarnation of the epic Flash on the Beach Festival, originally focusing on more technical disciplines. This year however, the event's organizer mister John Davey has reimagined its vision—in his words he'd like it to feel like a "buffet" of talks, lectures, and speakers. And it was indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed the cross-pollination. Naturally, I could not help but to gravitate to the other visual creators, but I did have some favorite speakers some of whom I hadn't even known of before the trip. The following folks absolutely knocked my socks off: Memo Atken, Yves Peters, Joel Baumann, Grant Skinner, Lernert & Sander, Chuck Anderson, and Brosmind. I also can't thank John Davey enough. John IS R2BC and I think a massive reason, if not THE reason why the event had the feeling of family that it did. Below I've compiled a collection of images from the trip (both my own and some sent by both friends and some folks in the audience). Also, I've done some mini write-ups on a couple of my favorite presentations. 

Speaker dinner the first night in Brighton. John Davey introducing everyone.

A couple flicks of my talk "The Art of Fucking-up" snapped by friend and fellow speaker Chuck Anderson. He has the most awesome panoramic camera...

Apparently I was being beamed from a desk lamp onto a very large desk. Was I a mere hologram? I will never know...

Here's a little more in depth review of some of my favorite talks from the festival :)

Memo Atken, visual artist, director, musician, engineer, website: Memo was one of the faces I didn't know before, and to be honest I had no idea what to expect. Actually, that's not true. The name of his talk was "Fuck Clients" and Memo himself is a very young guy, and in his bio picture wore a tough looking expression and semi mohawk sort of haircut—so I suppose I was expecting a hyper-energized, renegade sort of talk... I was expecting some element of anarchy? Instead, Memo was one of the most collected, rehearsed, calm speakers I saw the entire conference. He started with an image of a beautiful grand piano to explain the essence of his work and how he tries to design his projects—a very seamless, beautiful presentation for a mechanism which is in reality really quite complex underneath its shell. He didn't even drop the F bomb until about a third of the way through, seemingly only to make a peripheral point about the quality of the work taking precedence over attracting clients. It was only a few years ago that Memo altered his professional direction and completely stopped worrying about getting commercial jobs. Of course, all the magic started happening when he just started making things that were interesting to him. This is truly a point I connect with and believe in.

Brosmind, artists, illustrators, website: Not only are these boys incredibly talented but they are super fun to watch on stage. They have an excellent sense of humor, extremely colorful presentation, and get the crowd pumped up from the very first second they walk on stage. They are illustration duo of brothers, so they of course have an incredibly dynamic rapport on stage. Suffice it to say, I walked away wanted to draw day and night... and my face also ached from smiling for an hour straight. I cannot wait to hang out with these dude in Barcelona next summer for OFFF. I don't like saying "favorite," but they may or may not have been my favorite...

Chuck Anderson, artist, illustrator, website: I'd been looking forward to meeting and hearing Chuck's talk for months since I heard we'd both be speaking. I'd always been a huge fan both of his work and of his work ethic—Chuck is incredibly driven, and has incredible knack for self-initiating his projects. The story Chuck was introduced with was how he got his start with client projects: he would write out a dozen versions of art directors' emails at company x that he would find in the masthead of places he wanted to work for. He'd send an introduction email showing some of his work. When one of the email options didn't bounce, he knew the email had gone through. It worked (and I love that "nothing to lose" sort of attitude). From there Chuck has gained of of the most impressive lists of clients I've seen from anyone his age (27). One of his slides read "Starting a buiness and not really knowing it." Chuck just wings it, but with a strong sense of professionalism and genuine passion for all parts of the creative process. He's also incredibly humble. I would describe Chuck as a "goober," which in my vocabularly, is pretty much the highest form of a compliment I can give. I also had the pleasure of getting to watch Chuck give us a tour of one of his files in the Influxis lounge before his talk—THAT was a total treat. 

Yves Peters, graphic designer, type reviewer, website: What I found so interesting about Yves's talk about the past two decades of using Trajan in movie posters was his almost scientific approach, generating real research and data around the subject. It was the only talk of its kind, and for that reason really stood out from the bunch—a design talk through the lense of Hollywood commericalism. Even more hilarious is the emergence of Gotham following the same trend now... at an even more accelerated rate. He also has the best Twitter handle of all time: @baldcondensed

Joel Baumann, interactive artist, co-founder of Tomato, new-media professor: Joel has a childlike fascination with making weird things to just make them have have them exist in the world. He doesn't need reasons, they don't need to make sense, and he doesn't need to get paid to make them. I fucking love that. He also had the sweetest, most humble stage presence. I just felt kindness and genuine fascination with how the world works oozing off the podium. Turns out I got a personal email from him a few days later, utterly confirming all my suspicions about him being a sweet, compassionate, interested, and interesting human. (Reply coming soon, Joel!)

Grant Skinner, interaction designer and developer, website: I wasn't expecting to get to into an interaction design talk when I sat down to watch Grant Skinner, one of the new faces to me on the roster. It was Grant's first time giving this particular talk which was a bout a client project he literally just launched a few days before heading out to Brighton. His entire talk was on the start to finish process of Atari Arcade, classic games reimagined for HTML5. I'm such a super fan of talking about process, and think that's what conferences like these should be all about. I was also extremely impressed by the seamlessness and design of the experience. It was gaming I could get into.

Lernert & Sander, artists, website: Somehow these two I didn't know about beforehand either, (HOW?!) but I'm pretty sure they checked into the hotel while I was in fetal position on the hotel lounge couch waiting for my room to be ready... Sadly, I don't think I made a good first impression. I'm not sure I can even do their work justice by talking about it, but basically they just walked us through a dozen of their videos and told us a bit about the process. Their presentation was their computer desktop with folders of JPGs and videos they just opened. No deck, no keynote, no powerpoint. So rad. Their work speaks for itself—it's smart, incredibly funny, and beautifully executed. This is one of my favorites. The brief was to "make it about sex"... hilarious. You seriously just need to click around their site and watch for yourself.


Also, a very special thanks to some of the new faces I was inspired by and got to meet: Pep Salazer (OFFF), Marc Thiele (Smashing Conference, Beyond Tellerrand), Evgenia (Jenny) Grinblo, Jerry Chabolla (Influxis), Christian Heilmann, Eugene Zatepyakin, Andreas Ronning, and I'm sure many more I'm forgetting. It was a wonderful whirlwind of creativity! It's also impossible to make this post without saying, Josh Davis, we all missed you very much. It was almost like you were there.

Below: A combo of come of my Instagrams and additional Instragrams from those wonderful folks who posted on the interwebs. Credits and thank yous for photos of my talk go to the beautiful and talented @RosHorner (also a speaker), Chuck Anderson (also a speaker!), and @riseofthemonkey.

And last but not least, some photos of the beautiful town of Brighton. I loved it here. There was a certain theme of rows of doors, houses, chairs, etc, neatly ordered in all different colors.

I think the below photo may be my favorite photo of the entire trip. It felt like a little present to stumble upon it: an abaondoned suitcase. a reflective window, an unpainted home at the end of a colorful row, a perfect blue sky, and 4 square color swatches left to sit for who knows how long.

Goodbye sea.