Like any Ad Creative, I work an average 11 hours a day, and at least two weekend days a month.
I calculated that this career choice, albeit in an industry of established long hours, means, in terms of average hours across the board, working two extra months of the year. It means a lot less time time doing things that allow us to be inspired or genuinely ‘creative.’
Ideas, images, copy and tasks that engage, are not a switch that can be flicked on or off. The nature of this job means I can’t turn up at work and simply type typey. Sure, there are tricks, tools, triggers, but if you’re pushing out, and pushing out, and not taking in, you’ll get stale and eventually run out of steam. The Media One Wall of Fame is the Middle East’s biggest painted-portrait project by one single painter. Me.
It’s 14 3-metre-tall, hand-painted portraits of global Dance-Music heroes; Pharrell, Frankie Knuckles, Gilles Peterson, Osunlade, Daft Punk, Jeff Mills, Jocelyn Brown, Diplo, Maya Jane Coles, Rickie Hawtin, Black Coffee and Annie Mac. Painted at night, during August in the desert, for 7 or 8 hours every weekday after work, for 5 weeks, and 30+ hours at weekends. I slept 4 or 5 hours a night, never saw my brand new fiancé, sweated, lost weight, panicked, undercharged, snapped at engineering staff. And loved it. It was all worth it.
Ultimately, the satisfaction, sense of achievement, and autonomy told me I needed to quit my day job. This was a huge piece of positive communication – what I’ve always wanted to do in Advertising too. The 11-hour-days pushing out ideas in the office were not a patch on making something happen with my own hands. As a result of the Wall of Fame, with a good friend, Clare Napper, I’m about to start up an ‘engagement agency’. It will not be TVCs, Prints or traditional advertising. It will be reaching out to, talking to and understanding individuals, groups and networks, with the universal languages of positivity, art and humour. Ultimately saying something big, bright and cool. Something interesting. Watch this space. And a few others too. We have big things planned.