I’m excited to share that my painting, “Silver Cup”, was selected as the 2019 Greatest Creators cover winner in a special edition of PM360 magazine. I’m so honored and grateful that my work was chosen among so many talented artists.
What is PM360’s Greatest Creators?
PM360 is the premier magazine for marketing decision makers in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries.
Every year, PM360 has a special edition showcasing some of the best creative work from ad agencies serving the life sciences industry over the previous twelve months. They also feature some of the best artwork from professionals working in the industry. That’s where my painting comes in.
I was eligible to enter work I did over the past year because of my day job. I work at Wunderman Health where we develop creative using high science and data insights. It’s kind of nerdy, but I love it. The focus for our group is to solve complex problems for our clients in animal health and agriculture. I literally work with animals on a daily basis ;). I’ll show an example of our DogFlu campaign for Merck Animal Health that also made it into the issue later on.
Greatest Creators Q&A
The editor of PM360 did a Q&A interview with me for the Greatest Creators publication and asked what inspired the work, what the process was like painting it and how I made the silver so shiny and realistic. You can find out all the answers to those questions here.
Reflecting on reflections – the meaning behind the painting
I realized after completing the interview that I rarely share anything about the symbolism in my work. I usually want the viewer to decide what it means to them. Art is emotional, and each person has their own unique reaction to different types of art.
While “Silver Cup” may appear to be a simple still life, things are never as simple as they appear. For me there is a deeper meaning. At first glance the observer sees a cup sitting on a table. But when you take a moment and look a little longer, you see the complexity not only of the reflections in the silver, but also the fabric the cup is sitting on.
The cup is meant to symbolize the individual. The fabric and reflections are that individual’s experience. We can never know what is inside the cup, which represents one’s internal interpretation of their experience.
Beyond the Greatest Creators Q&A
One question PM360 asked for in the Greatest Creators issue that didn’t make it into the edited piece is if “Silver Cup” was part of a series. It’s funny they asked that because I had just decided to start a series featuring silver objects as meditation paintings.
Technical vs. emotional
When I first started painting silver objects, they were only a technical challenge for me. I wanted to see if I could do it. However, looking at my still life paintings over the last couple of years I can clearly see that technical achievement wasn’t as satisfying to me as creating a painting that had a feeling or “presence”.
For example, my only objective in painting Lemon Water below was to see if I could paint the ridiculous reflections in the glass.
This painting has an unusual perspective and makes use of diagonals. When you incorporate these dynamic qualities, it adds movement because diagonal lines are more powerful than straight lines and move the observer’s eye through a piece.
I never finished this painting because it didn’t have any meaning or emotion behind it. The subject matter is visually complex and interesting to look at, but the emotion it evokes for me is a little too chaotic.
I’ve found setting up a simple scene with objects that have symbolic meaning offer more of a reflective and meditative experience. Adding space around objects leaves room to “breathe”. Doing this allows for the mind to simply stop and look – creating a moment of stillness.
2018 Greatest Creators Runner-up
This was the second time I’ve entered the Greatest Creators Cover Competition. Last year I was thrilled to find out my work “Lemons with Glass Bowl” was chosen as a runner-up and featured inside the magazine with several other artists who are creative professionals by day and artists by night.
Lemons with glass bowl was done after “Lemon Water” (clearly I have a thing for lemons). With this painting you can see where I’ve abandoned the dynamic diagonals in favor of a composition that offers stillness and reflection.
The meaning behind “Lemons with Glass Bowl”
While this is a painting of everyday objects, what they symbolize can create a story, elevating the experience. The yellow color of lemons represents happiness and optimism. In parts of the world lemons have been thought to hold a secret power. The thick glass container is a metaphor for an individual.
Because the glass bowl is clear, we are able to see what’s in it. Glass is typically known to be fragile, but the thickness of this glass gives it fortitude. For me, this painting is about being vulnerable yet strong.
Dog Flu campaign by Wunderman Health named in Greatest Creators issue
As I mentioned earlier, our team was recognized for our work and was included in the Greatest Creators publication. Only 15 campaigns were selected for this year’s issue.
Our challenge was that building awareness around the dog flu vaccine was very complex. We needed a simple and engaging way to show the extremely contagious nature of dog flu. (Yes – that’s right – just like you, your dog can get the flu!)
To get our message across to dog parents, veterinarians and pet service professionals, we used close-up photos of our furry best friends, so each audience could see for themselves how easily germs are passed through the dripping, spraying and transferring of biofluids.
After all, when it comes to dog flu, it’s not just a lick or sneeze – it could be a highly contagious disease.
Thank you, PM360!
I want to thank PM360 for including me and my amazing team at Wunderman Health in the 2019 Greatest Creators issue. Like scientists and technologists, artists and creators of all kinds have the power through innovative thinking and execution to enrich and improve lives around the world.