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#153: Encourage Young People to Make Art
John C. Jay rarely participates in design conferences in Japan; rather, he concentrates his professional development on speaking with small groups or doing internal presentations for clients. In addition, he works with Illustration magazine to develop and encourage young talent. “I’m very involved with them in encouraging young artists... They did a call for entries for young artists in Japan. I wrote a brief, and the first thing they said to me was, ‘Your client is Nike—why don’t you do something like designing a new sneaker, a new Nike shoe?’ I’m not here to train them for a career; I’m here to motivate them to think about the world in a way that perhaps they haven’t before. One of the outlets is self-expression—to answer the question, why be an artist? And so I said in my brief, ‘God—whichever one you believe in—has given us the ability to have emotions and to express those emotions. You have been blessed with another ability, which is a physical ability of some kind of artistic skill with which to express ideas. Express to me the most powerful emotion that you are feeling at the moment. Don’t make it about trendiness and style. Don’t worry if it is a cool technique. Don’t worry about whether it is something that your teacher or employer said you couldn’t do. Don’t worry if it is a thing that doesn’t sell. Just forget all that and express the most powerful emotion in your body right now.’”
For the special competition, “expressing your emotions,” the magazine received more than 500 entries. Jay spent hours looking through and judging them; he then made a presentation of the 15 that he chose, and they were featured in the magazine. Hiroyuki Yoda, whose work is featured here, was chosen by Jay as the first place winner. This contribution to the creative lives of the young artists of Japan is essential to the work Jay performs as a creative director. Through this project, he networks with a publication and lends his talents to their creative direction. He also stays in touch with Japan’s nascent emerging talent.