I almost didn’t post this doodlewash, because when I showed it to Philippe he simply stared at it a bit, squinted and said, “But what is it?” What made this worse was that it was something we had both seen on our walk together. I said, “You know, It’s that hole with all the foliage and graffiti where some guy had been drinking beer. It’s sort of like a Velveteen Rabbit story set in the big city.” No response.
The truth is I don’t have any clue what this is or why anyone would have a desire to paint it, but this is the next stop on our tour. It just intrigued me because I’ve always liked mysterious passageways that lead somewhere you can’t quite see (this is a dangerous habit in the city, but I try to only wander like this before the sun sets).
I remember several years ago when I was on a photo shoot in LA, a colleague with another advertising company told me a story. Another Creative Director he had worked with came into the conference room to meet a set of clients who didn’t like what her team had produced because they didn’t understand the design choices.
She just looked at them and nodded, then paused and, in strong measured tones, quietly said, “It’s Hong Kong… at midnight.” Not wanting to appear stupid they all looked at each other, paused, and then smiled and started enthusiastically congratulating her on a wonderful design. Needless to say she was immediately my new hero.
Any time we create something visual and share it, we’re often subject to a jury of our peers and quickly find out whether or not they find it interesting, pleasing, or just plain weird. This can often create pressure, as I pulled this one and wasn’t going to post it. But I created it because it spoke to me, and even if it’s weird, who cares, right?
So I’m letting us all off the hook. Don’t worry what people think, just keep doodlewashing and show us what you did! There’s something gorgeous sitting in that trash bin or in the discard pile that needs to be shared. If you made it, it’s art, end of story.
Well, not quite the end. The next day I showed Philippe again, this time calling it “Urban Jungle” and he said, “Oh, that’s cool!” So if you find yourself thinking what you just made is crap, trust me, it isn’t. It’s truly beautiful because it’s a story seen through your eyes. And because of that, you’ve definitely captured something unique, wonderful, and very likely just as beautiful as Hong Kong… at midnight.