Q&A with November’s speaker, Brendan Shanley, who will be speaking on the topic LOST

We all are creatives. Describe what you do, make or create in one sentence. I create honest and memorable visual experiences for people. 

What are the top creative challenges that you face in your day-to-day? For me the greatest challenges are also the most exciting parts of what I do creatively. The constant learning about different people, products, services and industries. Mentally switching back and forth from working in healthcare, tourism, cannabis, hospitality, etc. can also be challenging. I’m very thankful for the opportunity (and challenge) to work with and learn from experts in these fields.

When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck? Hard stop. When I’m not feeling a project and it’s not feeling me, then it’s time to throw on some headphones and take a walk. Being creative isn’t as cut and dry as something like sales or math. Sometimes you have to remove yourself from a familiar environment to allow your imagination to flow more freely. I also try to travel as much as possible. As creatives, we initially draw upon our own unique experiences in what we make. The more places we’ve been and experiences we’ve had, the more variety we have influencing our work. Where do you find your best creative inspiration? Inspiration is always around us. The trick is to keep yourself open to it. It’s so easy these days to get hyper-focused on our own agendas, but when we slow down and really try to experience things that are around us and see those things through the eyes of the people we’re with, that’s when the learning and inspiration reveals itself. To create something that communicates and connects with others we have work to understand others first. Then combine our personal style to make something truly original. 

What music are you listening to these days? The answer to this question changes hourly. Personally, I’m more of an album kind of guy. I spend hours curating and listening to my records. And with vinyl it’s fairly counterintuitive to play just a song or two by an artist before moving on to the next. I start a lot of my days by picking a few albums to play selecting different artists and genres to compliment the mood and energy I’m feeling or trying to communicate through my work. Some albums that are in frequent rotation lately include: Beck - Morning Phase, Zero 7 - Simple Things, Gorillaz - Demon Days, Grimes - Art Angles, Brokeback - Illinois River Valley Blues, Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Billie Eilish, Radiohead, Washed Out, Cut Copy.. this list I could continue for days really. I encourage people to continually discover new music andsupport their local record stores. 

What object would you put in a time capsule that best represents who you are today? I am having the hardest time trying to pick just one object for this. If I could choose only one it would be my Shwood sunglasses. My eyes are very sensitive to light and it’s a rare occasion to catch me outside my home without these wooden frames. Amber-tinted polarized lenses make the world a happier place even on those brighter gray Seattle days. If these glasses could tell you all the things they’ve seen and places they’ve been it would be quite the collection of stories. 

Where was the last place you travelled? I get out of town for work and otherwise quite often. Usually you can find me hanging out in Anchorage, AK. I met my best friend and business partner who is based there through the AIGA national leadership community. It’s become like a second home at this point. I’ve considered the idea of relocating there in the past, but Seattle has a strong hold on me for the time being.