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Getting to know - The big ideas of Kevin Forister

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If you have been reading Creativepool for a while then Kevin Forister is probably a name you’re well aware of. For years now, Kevin has been spoiling us with his weekly videos geared towards inspiring aspiring creatives and we’ve also featured many of his more ambitious projects.

A Texas boy and a creative through and through (though don’t hold it against him), Kevin has spent the last 8 years building a portfolio of ‘big ideas’ for brands as diverse as Samsung, IKEA, Pizza Hut and NASA!

This week, we caught up with him to discuss his own route into the industry, the value of filling every page and the beauty of the occasional random ‘stupid’ idea.

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Where are you from and how did you get into the industry?

I've been a Texas boy my whole life. Grew up in Houston and went to school in Austin. The Texas Creative Program at the University of Texas was my stepping stone into this advertising game. It challenged me and got me used to getting my work ripped apart (super necessary to build a thicker skin). 

From there, I interned at a small shop called Screamer Co, exceeding the 25 hours I was required to work with at least 40 hours a week (unpaid). I had to grind to prove to myself that I could do it.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I'm based in Dallas, TX. I work for TracyLocke, an agency filled with amazingly talented individuals, and have been here for just over 5 years now. 

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Explain your creative style and process

Though I have an Art Direction background, my process usually starts with text. I jot down ideas, illustration notes, etc. until I'm ready to hit the computer and go for it. If it's a big assignment, I try to fill the page, even if I landed on something I kind of like. This challenges me to push things further and explore all areas of the problem that I'm trying to solve. 

Please provide one sentence about your spotlighted work on Creativepool

I've been fortunate enough to work with some really awesome clients in a variety of industries and love the occasional personal side project as well. 

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How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

It has massively affected how I work. Technology, mediums, technical skills are evolving all the time. If you don't adapt, you'll get left behind. 

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?

I wish there was less judgement. Everyone I've met in this field, and me being the biggest offender, can be so damn hard on ourselves because we are so worried about how we will be perceived. 

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I challenge all of us to throw out that random idea that others might think is stupid and to not be afraid to put out work that isn't "perfect." That's how we get better. That's how we create something truly fresh. 

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

I've always been pretty self-motivated. My parents were never hard on me when it came to school and such so I just always did the best I possibly could without worrying about consequence. This helped me develop into someone who just cares about doing a good job.

I try not to compare my work with others (that's a losing formula) but I do follow some illustration and animation assassins on Instagram that get me pretty pumped to try new things. 

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I'd probably be an Architect. I started going to school for that and pivoted after I had to write an 84-page paper about the theory of a building. It's still design-oriented so that could be a cheap answer but that's what I'm going with. 

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What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

It was pretty cool to win a Gold National Advertising Award and being published as one of Lurzer's Archive's 200 Best Illustrators, but I think my biggest personal achievement was just gaining better clarity and self-awareness of the creative professional that I am/aspire to be. 

How do you recharge away from the office?

I love going on runs, going to the movies, and any other activity that takes little brain effort. My mind is running more than I would like to admit. I love when I slow it down a bit and try to relax

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What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives in the industry who are looking for commissions? 

I actually have a whole YouTube channel (Open Door Creative) dedicated to this where I post a video every single weekend to help aspiring creatives get into the game. Stop by if you have time! 

What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?

Advertising can be a huge pressure cooker. Being a creative can be a little stressful at times. I would love for the future of creative industries to focus a little more on wellness. We create much better work when our mind is right.

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