18 May 2014

A STROLL WITH GIDEON AMICHAY (For International Museum Day)

                                           "Give me a museum and I'll fill it" ~Pablo Picasso

How much rejection can you put up with? once? thrice? how about one thousand? (hahaha) The thing is, our success-thirsty society puts so much pressure on us that we all look for the fastest way possible to get 'there'--you know, 'up there'--with the least number of rejections and failure

That's not how my guest, Mr Gideon, views success and the creative process. As a young cartoonist, his dream was to get his sketch into the prestigious New Yorker magazine, and he had to swallow a lot of 'NOs' and rejections, about 1000 rejected sketches for over a period of one year--and I'm not exaggerating--before his dream came true. I mean, is that even human? What is the source of such extra-ordinary perseverance
Also a committee member of the Israeli Cartoon Museum, Gideon told me about his motivation, his philosophy, and his dreams. we also talked about museums, digitization of museums, and so much more. Here's our discussion;

Ebenezar: It's a pleasure having you on the stroll, Mr Gideon.

Gideon: Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
Ebenezar: Today is international Museum day and you were one of the people who helped to re-brand and remodel the Israeli Cartoon Museum, what can you say is the importance of a museum to the society?
Gideon: This job was important for me because of my background as a cartoonist. It was an emotional one too since it based in my home town of Holon. Having a museum that just exhibits cartoons is very important because it legitimizes the art. Cartooning is art, not just journalism or humor. So it deserves a good museum. And museums are essential to our society – they are a must venue for spreading knowledge and culture.
(Image Credit: International Council of Museums)

Ebenezar: With the current trends in the digitization of libraries, shops, etc. Do you think the digitization of museums will be a great idea as well?
Gideon: Sure – digitization of museums allows for more space to exhibit more art, and it makes art accessible to more people because it can be experienced anywhere regardless of location or time.
Ebenezar: Still talking digitization, many analysts have also expressed fears that technology is going to take away the originality from the art of sketching cartoons on hard copy drawing books, do you have fears that in the nearest future we'll have computers doing all the comics and sketches?  

Gideon: This has already occurred on a huge scale. But at the end of the day using the computer simply as a tool to help create your own original ideas works much better.
Ebenezar: In your TEDxJerusalem talk, you also explained the process you passed through before your sketch made it to the New Yorker. What kept you going despite the repeated rejections you faced?
Gideon speaking at TEDxJerusalem in Dec, 2012
Gideon: Persistence was and still is fueled by a belief in yourself, and, of course, the magic power of a dream.
Ebenezar: Do you still face rejection these days? Considering how much you've mastered your craft.  

Gideon: All the time. Rejection is a crucial part of any creative process, but this is especially true when you are doing or proposing anything truly innovative. When you try to create something or do something that has not been seen or done before you have to be prepared to face all kinds of rejection. It goes with the territory of doing something new. But here’s the good news: rejection will make your project even better.
Ebenezar: You also worked a bit in advertising early in your career in Israel. With the ever increasing number of bill boards and TV/radio commercials, I've been asking myself, if we can make advertising more sustainable. What do you think?
Gideon: Having worked in advertising for 25 years I can tell you from experience that sustainability is always correlated with the strength of a concept. Take for example “Think Small” – it was created by DDB more than 50 years ago and it is still a noble idea.
Today, more than ever, there is a great need for what I call advertising projects or advertising platforms. Apps are a good example: apps are products and not just communicating tools, and therefore engage people better than ever. That’s because products last. Campaigns rarely do.Products create better touch points with people.

(Image Credit: Directnewideas)

Ebenezar: Okay, you've built 'No, No, No, No, No, Yes' into a very powerful brand. You have a book on it, you gave a TED talk on it, and last year you also founded a company on this same name. What causes do you wish to promote with this brand?
Gideon: We believe “No” can be the best answer to get from a client. We push for new ideas, and if you don’t face “no’s” you’re most probably not doing something truly innovative. That’s why we love to get NO as an answer from our clients.

Ebenezar: (haha) Wow, That's a new one...

Gideon: Yeah, because that is our agency's culture and it’s what clients have come to expect from us, we don’t see “no” as the end of a discussion, but rather simply a turning point in it. We gain respect from clients for standing up for our convictions. And we’d like to spread this idea and energize every creative around the world.

At No, No, No, No, No, Yes we serve companies and brands that have products and services that improve people’s lives. We like to create never-done-before projects to promote them. And if you strive to create things that haven’t been done before, you’re going to confront “NOs”.

“Fishing”,a cartoon by Gideon Amichay, published in the New Yorker, January 16, 1995

Ebenezar: Okay Do you have any advice for young cartoonists and animators out there who wish to get the kind of international recognition you've gotten?

Gideon: It’s always about ideas and hard work…lot’s of it.

Ebenezar: Thank you so much for making it out time to stroll with me Mr Gideon, all the best.

Gideon: Thank you.


For more about Gideon you can follow him on twitter @gideonamichay 

I've also had my fair share of rejections on the stroll. I've published over 55 strolls in course of one year, but it will interest you to know that I've sent over 160 invitations to stroll. so what happened to the others you ask? Well, many of them never replied, many more said, "NO! small boy go look for your mates to play with or... a girl to crush on or something..." (Lol, Okay I paraphrased by me) But my point is, If I didn't keep going despite the rejections and No-replies, we won't even have what we have right now. In fact you won't even be reading this right now. Can you just imagine that? sad right? 

So, embrace failure. it's part of the process. Make the mistakes--the more the merrier--because, the truth is life rewards only those who have the ability to try again. and again. and again. and again... you get the point now right? So keep trying.

Museums are an essential part of our human existence. If we don't learn to document our past, we won't have something to look back at in the future. I encourage governments and non-profit organizations to work on setting up as much museums as possible. Thanks to digitization we can even do it faster and cheaper these days.

Till my next stroll, Jesus loves you loads.

"Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up..." Proverbs 24v16, CEV)


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