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Wise words by John Jay of W+K on creativity

John Jay on creativity
Wieden + Kennedy

Wise words by John Jay | Shot by Matthew Furman

John Jay is the Global Executive Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy and a true legend in the Ad world. He graduated from Ohio State University majoring in Visual Communications and freelanced for many years on editorial design.

His big break came when Bloomingdale’s pegged him for the role of Creative Director. He was creative director from 1980 to 1993. In the '80s he was voted one of the most influential people in photography and in 1993 he left New York for a spot with Wieden + Kennedy in Portland Oregon, one of the largest independently-owned advertising agencies in the world.

NYC based photographer Matthew Furman shot & directed John Jay for the "100 Most Creative People In Business" issue of Fast Company.

Photograph by Matthew Furman

In this exceptional video John says: "Sometimes in our industry, our professionalism, we get [put into] silos. - [They say:] Well.. he's an Art Director, i would like him to write some words too, let's see if he can write a little bit. [Others say:] Oh, he's a Strategy person, i like to hear her ideas as well, not just think of the strategy. -

So i think it's our goal and we all wish to break out of those silos. The longer you work, the more people want to put you in a silo. Why? So they can define who you are by their terms. Our job is to never let anyone define who we are by their terms..."

via Fast Company: DAN WIEDEN, cofounder of Wieden+Kennedy, is sure that John Jay, his agency's global executive creative director, does work related to advertising. He just can't quite describe it. Jay commutes -- between the shop's offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, London, and Amsterdam, where he identifies the most creative local people in art, music, and technology.

Jay unearths -- what's new, exciting, and bubbling up on the edges of places as unlikely as Delhi and Detroit, so he can feed that culture into the hive mind of the Portland, Oregon -- based powerhouse. (No wonder Advertising Age noted W+K's "sense of current culture" when it named the shop Creative Agency of the Year.) And in his free time, Jay runs his own company, Studio J.

Its latest project: "The Grove," a proposed blockwide "art hostel" for young global creatives -- musicians, filmmakers, artists, designers, hackers -- that he's developing near the front gates of Portland's old Chinatown with Ace Hotel cofounder Alex Calderwood and Goldsmith Blocks LLC.

But the veteran ad man, who's worked on campaigns for Nike, Uniqlo, and Target, is just getting started. "I consistently try to connect to the greater cultural world," he says, "in order to help make W+K a catalyst for innovation on a global scale in areas outside of what used to be called advertising."

Photograph by Matthew Furman

Sources: Chase Jarvis | Fast Company | W+K | Matthew Furman