March 15, 2010 3

Designers – The True Artists of our Time

By in Advertising

Once upon a time, a very wise and angry person said this bit of brilliance:

“The thing I hate most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”

Why was the author of this quote, Bansky, an angry person? Well because he was morally opposed to a whole bunch of things that can be found on every street corner on planet Earth. Interestingly enough, Banksy’s actual identity remains unknown. What we do know is that he was a British graffiti artist that marked cities across the world with his stenciled graffiti designs. The message of his graffiti were often concerning politics and ethics – he was anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-establishment.

Knowing all this, it doesn’t come as a complete surprise that Bansky would have a problem with advertising. An entire industry based around selling things probably would not leave an anti-capitalist feeling tickled. Now I’m no street-painting rebel, but I do have to agree with Bansky.

Advertising does seem to attract all the “bright, creative and ambitious young people”, such as myself. When I went to school for copywriting I recall one of my teachers telling us about the agency where he worked, and how so many of the writers he knew all had wanted to be authors but sort of ended up doing copywriting.

The more I look around at those populating today’s ad agencies, the more I realize that if advertising did not exist, these people would be authentic artists. If it weren’t for the fact that copywriting pays a hell of a lot more than not getting my autobiography published does, I would be an author or a screenwriter or a poet. And all the art directors and designers i know would probably be painters or sculptors or photographers.

One of the saddest things about this (aside from the fact that people who feel like painters are just art directors/graphic designers to the rest of the world) is that these talented, clever people are putting all their creativity into a place where nobody cares about it. Advertising may be chock full of creativity, but how many consumers care? When consumers do love an ad, they rarely remember what the company was even for and of course the agency and creative personnel behind it go don’t get to sign their clever ads like a true artist does.

These art directors, designers and copywriters were born to create beautiful imagery and inspiring words, and what they end up doing is logo placement and cute taglines. So much fresh talent is being spent on advertising unnecessary products to people who don’t care. All this leaves modern art to be a wasteland, void of creativity and hidden from the public eye. With the amount of advertising that bombards us on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget that true art does still exist. Maybe if we all paid a bit more attention to art, put a bit more money and time into it, some of the ad agency folk could be free to do what they truly want for a living. We just have to open our eyes and find where all the art is hiding.

About: Ian:
Hi, I'm Ian T. I'm a York grad and a copywriter for Eden Advertising. I'm the master of procrastinating. I like to use parentheses (sometimes). I love the LCBO because wine makes me happy. I don't blog, I capture moments in time.

Tags: , , , ,

3 Responses to “Designers – The True Artists of our Time”

  1. Joe says:


  2. Susan says:

    Love it. Especially agree to the part where art still exists – look at Nuit Blanche. Every year, Torontonians gather to look at things that may be considered “junk” or “waste” or even “vandalism” with a different, more artistic eye.
    Great post!

  3. Sean Perry says:

    Copywriting is also a skill that takes years of practice to become very effective in advertising what you are selling and –*