The Fine Art of Creative Collaboration

JJCD_LIARTThe passion to create in contagious. The power of taking a blank canvas and creating something that never existed before. The creation not only has to be perfect, it has to be distinct. These guiding principles are critical to my success while working as an SVP, Creative Director at Seed Strategy dreaming up new ideas for consumers across the globe. With well over twenty years in the innovation business focusing on new product development, the power demonstrated by each individual bringing an area expertise to the table and owning it is critical. Plus the real magic happens when you unite with a creative professional who offers a totally different yet complementary skill. In every facet the creative process, collaboration has proven to be the most consistent force for crafting. novel, breakthrough and most importantly, enduring new products.

For example, take my career focused on Creative Direction, focused primary on the conceptual and visual components generally working on developing a broad range of specialty areas including: branding, packaging, advertising, and digital media. It’s quite often that all these capabilities can come into play on just one innovation project. However, even with this vast spectrum of expertise, the spark ignites the moment you get two creative minds in a room with a focus to solve the same challenge.

Most of my experience as a creative collaborator is being part of a highly dynamic team working as the art director teamed with a copywriter. The copywriter will bring skills such as writing body copy, headlines, new product claims and seems to always have a fresh perspective. Most copywriters I’ve worked with are the best visionaries I’ve ever met.

Where I work you’ll find a dozen teams working side-by-side to bring new product concepts to life. For example, in my role as the art director, I might come up with an arresting visual or the copywriter could say just the right word that sparks a brilliant idea. This ensemble of creative thinking during the early stages of the process is integral to the foundation and strength of the concept. The back and forth between these two distinct minds is often the secret behind that breakthrough new product that will stop a consumer in their tracks.

After experiencing the power of creative collaboration in my professional life, I wanted to see if I could put it to work to create an incredible painting. As an established fine artist, my paintings have sold from Hawaii to Cincinnati. So, how would one take this idea of teaming up with another creative and apply it to painting, which is traditionally a solitary task? Think of all the brilliant painters: Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gough, or Claude Monet. You’ll notice that with all these great artists there’s a consistency, it’s one artist, one individual who put the brush to canvas and made history. My goal was to to break this convention and see what could happen on canvas with another artist who brought different strengths.

Since my art is more impressionistic with bold color, broad strokes and a lot of texture, it was my goal to find an artist that complemented my style. I was on a journey to team up with an artist to paint a masterpiece and I eventually found that painter—Colin Daugherty. Colin brings expertise in the realism style of painting creating some of the finest and most detailed work I’ve ever seen.

Now, for over seven years we have combined these two painting techniques onto one canvas, with each piece being hyper realistic from a distance and super impressionistic up close. To this day, we’ve created quite the demand for our paintings; averaging five to ten commission works each year. Every painting has a story to tell about our process, for example, I always begin a painting on the left side as Colin works the right and we meet in the middle. Once we are at a point to switch, we just flip the canvas upside-down and begin painting from a fresh perspective. This method seems to integrate our work seamlessly across the canvas. Also, if you look closely at one of our paintings, you’ll see our personalities come through the strokes, neon colors or hits of glitter that adhere to the wet paint.

The combination of our painting talents has taken on the name JJCD Collaborations, and we focus on capturing Cincinnati cityscapes. It’s rewarding to see the vast range of work in our portfolio including paintings of the Queen City and her iconic structures. Our goal is to eventually capture every major skyline from Cincinnati to Shanghai and we’ll do that through creative collaboration.

Forming a creative partnership has proven to be super effective in both my professional and personal life. Remember to let down the ego and just bring your passion to create and own it. With creative collaboration something magical is at your fingertips.


If you’re interested in commissioning your own masterpiece call Jeff Johns today. 859.630.9657. Click here for the contact page.

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