By Cade Martin

As a kid, I spent many a dinner at a table surrounded by friends of my parents, an eclectic cast of characters — sculptors, writers, painters, creatives. That thread of creative community has remained in our offices, our teams, and our collaborations. But that thread feels thinner in this moment.

So I asked, with the purpose of sharing, and of supporting and caring for this creative community in its current, uncertain reality. I asked what people are doing, how they are feeling, how they are sparking creativity. It feels important to share what we do, when we can’t do all our doing.

Reaching out first to some of the talented people I’ve had the good fortune to profile though the Capitol Communicator portrait series.  It’s my version of a virtual dinner table of sorts. Grab a chair and listen in to my conversation with Beth Johnson, President and CEO of RP3 Agency.

Beth, what, if anything, are you doing differently?

I’m doing almost everything differently. I’m a face-to-face person who would almost always prefer to have a conversation than send an email. I believe in the power of personal connections and creative thinking through collaboration. In our agency, we spend a lot of time together in “meetings,” laughing, arguing, challenging each other and sharing ideas. So when the first few weeks of working from home meant sitting in front of a computer screen on Zoom calls all day, it took me a while to get in the groove. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the creative juices kept flowing and we were able to put them to good use. For the most part, my reaction to advertising during this time is “go away and who cares.” It seems so meaningless. But we’re lucky to have clients in essential businesses, who are actually doing things to make lives better, so it is empowering to help guide their brands against the backdrop of this crisis. We’re creating new work now that strikes the right tone and will hopefully play a role in restoring hope and optimism.

Are you staying creatively active?

Within our industry, I’m tracking the brands that are doing things that matter and celebrating how they are creatively expressing their actions (for example, I love how empty hotel rooms have been turned into loving messages of support). I have also been blown away by how quickly talented people have converted their creative energy into relevant and uplifting content that was created from individual living rooms! A few examples are John Krasinski’s Some Good News, Steven Colbert’s comedy and several choir and Broadway performances that moved me to tears. I even marvel at some of the exceptional ideas parents have invented to entertain their young children. It’s phenomenal and I’m taking it all in as inspiration.

How are you sparking yourself creatively?

I’m relying on three things to keep my creative spark alive:
1. Getting OFF my computer as much as possible and actively practicing mindfulness and gratitude;
2. Exercising and outdoor time, including my Peloton and long walks listening to music and podcasts; and,
3.Connecting every day with my enormous community of support. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by people who truly love and support me and who motivate me to do my best every day.

About The Author

The only child of a university art professor and freethinker mother, Cade Martin grew up surrounded by shapes and images. His love of art grew out of summer vacations filled with trips to galleries, museums and art studios. At home he often found himself around the dinner table with an eclectic cast of characters – sculptors, writers and painters. They paraded through his childhood, shaping his art foundation and forming his appreciation for the candid beauty found in people from all walks of life. Cade’s been chasing characters ever since. He seeks out their stories-told through the architecture of their faces or the costumes they wear-whether he’s on a commercial production or setting up an Avedon-like photo booth at Comic Con. They are the heroes in his pictures. His thirst for capturing adventures took its hold while shooting stills on movie sets and then as a photographer for National Geographic covering the railways of India. And it is that sense of adventure that Cade brings to his productions elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary with a cinematic touch. It’s not just a picture. He’s committed to the experience, building beautiful environments and, sometimes for his portraits, simply building trust. A talented storyteller, Cade splits his time between the East and West Coasts creating images for editorial, advertising, fashion, and lifestyle clients

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