By Matt Smith

One of the most exhilarating things about doing this weekly column is that I get to seek out good work created here in the D.C. metro area. It can be almost any kind of creative work–advertising, art, photography, music, videos, even a great letter (see my column on Nancy Pelosi’s recent missive to President Trump). The only requirement is that it emanates from a person or company based in our region.

Sometimes that can be a challenge. Not because there’s a dearth of great work here in D.C.–there isn’t. The problem is that sometimes much of the work created by great artists is seen outside of market they live in and love.

Matt Chase is a great example. His D.C. work is terrific, but his artistry extends well beyond our region. This guy’s stuff is good nationally and even globally. I mean, his work is Paul Rand good (and if you’re not familiar with Rand, just Google him and you’ll see what I mean.)

Chase covers a substantial amount of ground–he’s a photographer, designer, graphic artist, illustrator, you name it. Suffice it to say he’s an exceptional visual artist who excels in the medium of print. He needs to be seen to be understood and appreciated, so I urge you to check out his website here.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. Places like The New York Times, Wired, ESPN, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, GQ, Bloomberg, Esquire and The Atlantic apparently agree; they’ve all hired him to illustrate their articles and covers.

It takes a special talent to encapsulate a complex thought into a compelling image. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it appears. It often looks simple and sometimes even obvious, leading the view to think: “Oh, I could have done that.” WRONG. The more honest reaction is: “I wish I had done that.” And Chase is based right here in D.C. Why? Because, like I’ve been saying all along, this is a cool place for talented artists to live and work, and we all get to bask in their goodness.

Be sure to visit his site–I guarantee you it will inspire you to do good work. Got a boring magazine you’re doing for some nonprofit? Or maybe your current ad agency or designer is using the same, dull stock art as all your competitors? (Full disclosure: my own agency is sometimes guilty of doing exactly that.)

Matt has inspired me to think and be more unique. He’ll do the same for you.

Matt Smith is founder of SmithGifford, and has close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies.  SmithGifford is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

You can find Matt Smith’s earlier columns at Oh, That’s Good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.