At the beginning of this month I made my annual pilgrimage to Brighton to spend three days at the Reasons to be Creative conference. Previously known as Flash on the Beach, Reasons is the most comprehensive and inspirational creative conference in Europe, if not the world. Every year artists, designers and creative developers come together to share their work and it never fails to leave every single attendee feeling satisfied and chomping at the bit to create fresh, new ideas.
Reasons is like an addictive drug. It's exciting, it's relaxing and most importantly it's a shared mind altering experience that leaves you wanting more. Every creative should pay it a visit at least once, but be warned - it's addictive. Every year I think to myself, "just one more...I can quit whenever I want to" and yet this is my eighth year in a row.
I can't stress this enough - if you've never been, you need to make it a priority for 2015. You won't regret it. Whether you're a designer, a developer or simply work in the creative industry, it really doesn't matter, you need to add it to your bucket list because you will benefit.
Reasons is much more than just a speaker-led conference, it's an opportunity to bounce ideas off like minded individuals. But of course, the speakers are world class. Here's my highlights from this year, in no particular order, to whet your appetite...
With clients including WIRED, Universal Studios and DC Comics, Tom's more recent work has involved working with Ales Kot on the critically acclaimed ZERO series. He also discussed his collaboration with Darren Aranofsky on the graphic novel NOAH. I hadn't seen Tom speak before, but I loved his work and found him incredibly inspiring.
Sara is a world class New York based illustrator. I’ve seen her a couple of times now and along with her amazing work, I find her entire persona and ethos to be incredibly relaxed and inspiring. She designs fonts, illustrates for billboards and collaborates with people like Joshua Davis.
Best known for his work on Tron Legacy, it's likely that you’ve seen his work before (see the incredible box demo). He bridges the gap between artist and programmer - working on short films, dance collaborations and graphic illustration but then pulling out the hardcore programming skills to create some seriously spectacular works.
James is in my top 10 creative designers. If you haven’t seen him speak, you need to make it a life priority. His clients include TIME magazine, Esquire, Moet & Chandon and the New York Times.
It's difficult to describe Mr Bingo, he's an artist that makes a living out of combining his dark wit with his drawing skills. Clients including The Mighty Boosh might help explain his style, but you really need to see it for yourself. All in all he's a great artist and a fantastic speaker that makes you realise that you need to stop what you're doing, find what you’re good at and take it to a new level.
James White (aka Signalnoise)
Another personal favourite. Again talking about finding your “thing” and making a living out of it - he’s managed to build a career out of his childhood heroes. Having realised that he was heavily inspired by 80s pop culture, he did lots of side art projects demonstrating his style until eventually people started noticing and began to pay him to do it full time. The two biggest things you’ll know him for are the Drive artwork and the cover of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. I can't stress how much I have in common with him and enviously admire his work.
My favourite of all of the speakers this year. A really amazing guy and a genuine surprise. Let me be completely honest at this point, I went into his talk because I was massively hungover and having only had an hour's sleep thought that I’d be able to happily doze off during it. My mistake entirely - in one hour my hangover was gone and I was raring to go. It's been a long time since I've seen his calibre of speaker. It wasn’t his work, it was the man. He oozed enthusiasm and inspiration. Every year there's one speaker that stands out clearly as being my justifying reason for visiting the conference...and this year it was Gavin. Find where he's speaking and go and see him, you truly won't regret it.
So that's just a handful of the speakers this year and yet again it didn't fail to charge me creatively and kick my arse into gear. I can't stress enough how much everybody in the industry, designers, developers and account managers alike would benefit from visiting this conference. Don't ignore it, take the leap. Reasons to be creative will be back on the 7th-9th September 2015. Be there.