We owe so much of the power in our campaigns and tactics to our creative team. Strategy comes to life through the gaze of a sharp artistic eye, and ours belongs to a talented team of writers and designers led by our creative director, Matthew Grier. Our food and agriculture client work has to appetize and delight, ho-hum visuals will never do, so it’s worth asking how Matthew continues to draw from the creative well for each new project. Our content manager, Renae Bowen, caught up with Matthew while he was visiting Turlock from Los Angeles last week.
Renae Bowen: The first thing I’m eager to ask since we’re talking creativity is, what are your greatest sources of inspiration?
Matthew Grier: A really good idea. I think that’s really all you need. Maybe it’s easier said than done. Honestly there’s no shortage of inspiration out in the world to draw on, and they all have their place in the creative process. But an idea that’s smart, and simple. That comes on quiet and unassuming. A good idea starts as a spark but can become a big blaze if you give it room to grow. If you put in the work. A really good idea is an engine for inspiration.
RB: To get at the opposite side of that question, what can totally de-motivate you creatively?
MG: Not having a problem to solve — no challenge to answer for. The “problem” is the motivation for creative thinking in the first place. I’m not in the business of making wallpaper. Or poetry. I don’t want to make something pretty for pretty’s sake.
RB: What are some myths about creative work that you’d like to debunk?
MG: I’ve always believed that good creative thinking is not exclusive to designers or writers or editors or directors. Whether it’s in the context of a professional agency setting or not, everyone is creative in some form or another. Creativity exists in everyone.
RB: How would you describe your creative tastes?
MG: A relentless strive toward effortless minimalism while absolutely seduced by the detail and delicate magic of maximalism.
RB: Whose work out in the real world do you admire?
MG: Tommy Ton. Ocean Vuong. Anna Wintour. Everything David Sedaris writes. Everything Claire Saffitz bakes.
RB: What would an alternate career path look like for you?
MG: A fashion stylist. Or a florist.
RB: Are there campaigns past or present that you consider memorable?
MG: The NY Times Truth campaign. That work came out in a time when politicians were working hard to drag journalism through the mud. And I think it was the Times’ way of not taking it lying down. It was sharp, and assertive, and confident, while also being empathetic. And more than anything, it was culturally relevant and relatable to every person, regardless of political affiliation. I’ve also always loved the “O Pioneers” spot by Levi’s from their Go Forth campaign. Named after the Walt Whitman poem it borrows language from, it just beautifully captures the American spirit that’s synonymous with denim, and the sense of being young, and wild, and free.
RB: What are you reading, watching, or listening to these days?
MG: Reading astrology memes. Watching Hacks on HBO. Listening to the Minari soundtrack, it’s mesmerizing. Mariah Carey’s Daydream album, and the podcast Ja’meizing by Chris Lilley. It’s about everything and nothing and I can’t stop laughing.
RB: With summer right around the corner, and a much-anticipated one at that, what are you looking forward to?
MG: Watermelon for every meal. New White Claw flavors. And dancing in crowded bars.