Home » The Creative Now: A Chat with Ron Thompson, VP & Executive Creative Director, HZDG

The Creative Now: A Chat with Ron Thompson, VP & Executive Creative Director, HZDG

by | Jul 14, 2020

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 Ron Thompson, VP & Executive Creative Director, HZDG.

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

I’m sure a lot of creatives who are tethered daily to a MAC will agree, we’re already programmed to work anytime, anywhere, so the shift to WFH/remotely was seamless. What I did not anticipate was consecutive days and weeks of this. The first week of this mess I bounced around the house from dining room to kitchen to family room, trying to break up the day. I finally converted a spare bedroom to an outpost office and it’s been business as always.

I do miss the in-person, in-office creative collaboration and I now find myself over communicating and over directing on calls and through Slack, so I apologize to my colleagues, I am not trying to micromanage.

I’m trying to decelerate the grind and not take the pressures of life so seriously so that I can be more thankful and thoughtful about life, career and the people around me. 

Are you staying creatively active?

A number of our clients are still very active, so it’s been business as usual in a lot of cases. Campaign development one day and identity exploration the next. And there are still a few new business pitches going on, which is very gratifying to see during this time. 

I have started to draw and sketch again, which has been a nice break from the computer. My life-long obsession with vintage Land Rovers has become my mechanical muse for subject matter and doodles.

How are you sparking yourself creatively?

Besides scrolling through Instagram, I’ve been spending nights hanging out on Google Arts and Culture. You can virtually tour over 500 museums across the world and admire their impressive collections. It’s quite an amazing adventure that will cost you zero.

I just discovered the art of Neo Rauch, a modern day painter who I had never heard of before. A cross between Flemish painting and Surrealism – Jan van Eyck meets Salvatore Dali. I highly recommend taking a look at his work, it’s worth a view. 

This is nothing new and I have been doing this since the beginning of my career and will continue to do so during this time. Be observant no matter where you find yourself. Whether you are in a grocery store or a Home Depot, take the time while shopping to admire the package designs, the P.O.P., the magazine covers, the color choices or even the fonts on the pre-packaged deli meats. There is a ton of creative inspiration in these stores, you just have to slow down to see it.

A few parting shots. 

– Shout out to Matt Smith who saw raw potential and gave me a chance right out of college. 

– The world is not ending – Fear is a reaction, courage is a decision.

– Thanks for the virtual interview Cade, still love those peanuts during the holidays. 

– @RonThompsonUSA – Instagram


View Ron’s original Capital Communicator profile here.

About the Author

Cade Martin

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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