Creative People with Creative Ways to Sell Themselves

Sometimes, it isn’t just the art someone produces which makes them famous, but the way the artist sells themself which makes us look at them. That’s why I’m taking a look at some people who work in the creative industry that have managed to make a name for themselves by means which are out-of-the-box.

Just to be clear, I’m focusing on individuals and small groups, as opposed to big companies which used clever marketing tactics to make us buy their goods.

Also, I’m only looking at people with creative professions, so I’m excluding cases like Alfred Ajani holding up a sign in Waterloo Station. It’s a story worth reading, but not quite right for this list.

James Addison – ‘Puzzles for Postmen’

A talented graphic designer who graduated from Bournmouth in 2011, James Addison hasn’t just put his name on the map because of the big companies he’s designed for, but also for the ingenious ways in which he teases our Royal Mail.

Rather than use the standard address format, what James likes to do is send letters to various secret addresses in a variety of cryptic ways. From drawing the location on the envelope, to writing the address in morse code, James (to the annoyance of the Royal Mail) has inspired other creative souls to find equally challenging ways of getting their letters sent.

LESSON TO LEARN: Doing something unconventional will most-likely grab peoples attention.

My Dog Sighs – ‘Free Art Friday’

Artists are often incredibly reluctant to give some of their work away for free, but My Dog Sighs is an accepttion. The difference with him is that he only gave his art away on Fridays, and would give clues for people to find where the art was. Then, it was up to his followers to take part in a scavenger-hunt for that secret place and get a free piece of his art.

Now only was this trend popular with his followers, but it was so popular, that it spread to other artists from all around the world, and My Dog Sighs was the man who started it all.

LESSON TO LEARN: Encourage brand-loyalty by giving your customers a reason to keep track of the work you’re producing.

Maria Malone-Guerbaa – ‘Famous Face-Paints’

A mother of two from London, Maria Malone-Guerbaa, despite working for various TV shows as a make-up artist, never found a way to make a name for herself. That was until one day when she decided to combine her make-up skills with those she has an an artist, and see if she can transform herself into different celebrities with nothing – yes, nothing – but face-paint.

With each painting taking approximately 4 hours to complete, she’s gained an immense following on Instagram, she has recently expanded her skills into transforming herself into animals. She has also had multiple media-appearances, and become involved in a variety of make-up based competitions.

LESSON TO LEARN: Sometimes, finding a niche where you can use your talents is enough to make someone want to follow you.

The Clarion Quartet – ‘Having a Jam in the Traffic Jam’

Between junctions 26 and 27 in the M5, a massive traffic-jam was caused when a horse escaped it’s horse box and ran rampant in the road. The quartet in question, on their way home from performing at a wedding ceremony, were also caught in the jam. So, as bored as everyone else was, they decided to step out of their vehicle, and play Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’ live on the motorway.

It wasn’t long before an audience crowded around them, video-phones at the ready, and were given a round of applause once they finished their piece. And, as you can guess, it was media-appearances all the way from there-on.

LESSON TO LEARN: If you see an opportunity to make your voice heard, you might-as-well take it.

Ben Wilson – ‘The Spitting Image’

Don’t you just hate it when you see a pavement that’s littered with chewing gum? Well, so did painter and sculptor, Ben Wilson. So, being the son of an artist, and a graduate from art-school, he decided to brighten both people’s spirits and streets by getting on his hands and knees, and painting tiny paintings into the individual pieces of spat-out gum

He was once arrested by police for allegedly vandalising property, yet was released without charge after a wave of supporters wrote letters demanding to set him free. He went full-time doing his chewing gum paintings in 2004, and still gets media-appearances for it to this day.

LESSON TO LEARN: Producing work that can turn a negative into a positive can make you popular.

Doug Walker – ‘Calling it Quits’

Whilst working as an illustrator, Doug used his spare time to make comedic videos of film-reviews. After discovering he was making enough money from the reviews alone, he decided to quit his job in the most OTT way possible, by parading around his workplace to ‘Bohomian Rhapsody’ and putting the clip on the web.

It’s an extremely risky move to make (and one I’d never try in a-million years), but seeing as his reviews have remained successful, even labelling him as one of the Top 10 YouTube Movie Critics according to, I’d say it was a successful move.

LESSON TO LEARN: Not everyone will like what you do, but if your target market is going to enjoy something you want to do, it’s a chance worth taking.

What Makes ‘Inside Out’ Visually Unforgettable?

It might have been released over 2 months ago, but Pixar’s latest gem, ‘Inside Out’ is still causing a big buzz in Hollywood, since the company has recently released the first clip of the short, called ‘Riley’s First Date’, to accompany the movies home release. Because of this, I thought it would be a good opportunity to tell my watchers why I recommend this movie before it vanishes from your cinema screens, especially if you’re an admirer of strong visuals, as I am.

The Layout of the Human Mind


Whilst this isn’t the first time the human mind has been put to screen, it’s by far the most ambitious attempt to do so, so far. This is because of the actual design given to the setting of the lead character’s mind. Unlike ‘Toy Story’, where the animatiors just looked at the floors of their children’s bedrooms for inspiration, they had to build everything from scratch, this time around. The only exception of this is the setting for ‘Long Term Memory’, which was loosely based on the pattern of the brain. Impressively, the immense scale of the set gives equal credit to the elaborate design.

However, not only was the set a challenging design based on it’s scale and originality, but also on it’s accuracy. One of the worlds most influential psychologists, Paul Eckman, was brought in by the studio designers to keep a close eye on their set design. He made sure that the layout and system used by the writers was as close a match as possible to the way a real child’s mind would work. From the way the Memories are collected over the course of the day before Riley goes to sleep (replicating short-term memory), to the way the Core Memories fuel the different ‘Personality Islands’, this is one of the industries most accurate portrayals of human psychology, as well as one of the most entertaining.

The ‘Abstract Thought’ Scene


Whilst there are dozens of memorable sequences throughout the film, from the characters time in ‘Imagination Land’ to the moment they gatecrash the set of ‘Dream Production’, there’s one scene which stands out above the rest on a visual level: the ‘Abstract Thought’ scene. In this scene, which is as creepy as it is hilarious, the characters gradually go through a series of transformations into fragments, 2D figures, block shapes, and finally end up as nothing more than coloured lines.

Not only is this scene partially inspired by cubism, an art form of which relies extensively on abstract thought, but it also demonstrates something Pixar hasn’t been as famous for, 2D animation. They’ve demonstrated their skills in this beforehand with their short films, such as ‘Your Friend the Rat’ (2007) and ‘Day & Night’ (2010), yet this is really the first time their 2D filmmaking has taken centre stage in one of their feature films. It’s crisp, it’s clear, and it shows just how skilled Pixar animators are.

The Basic Designs of Each Emotion


At first, the design of each emotion might seem overly simplistic and uninspired. However, if you take a closer look, you actually realise that the 5 emotions’ body types are based on different shapes which resemble their personalities. Joy is based on a star, Sadness is based on a teardrop, Anger is based on a fire brick, Fear is based on a nerve, and Disgust is based on a clove of broccoli. It’s a simple move, yet an effective one.

Furthermore, when you take an even closer look, you actually notice that their animations are far more complex than you first thought. They don’t have ‘skin’ per se, or even fur or scales. Instead, they’re composed of bundles of energy, represented by hundreds of thousands of tiny, floating, disappearing and reappearing particles. As you can imagine, this must have been a nightmarish task for the effects department to bring to life, but they succeeded in this beautifully.

Joy’s Design


Whilst all 5 emotions are elegantly designed, it’s Joy who has by far the stronger look of the lot, and all because she’s more more colourful than her counterparts, both in terms of aesthetics, and in terms of personality.

The other four emotions are designed with bright, block colours which, like their shapes, match their personalities. Sadness is blue, Anger is red, Fear is purple, and Disgust is green. Whilst Joy is primarily yellow in her hue, she’s also styled with blue eyes, blue hair, and even a blue glow.

Why does she have hints of blue in her design? Because she’s essentially ‘tinted with sadness’. It’s a work of foreshadowing to tell us that, at one point in the film, we were going to see her no longer be happy and actually shed a tear. It manages to work perfectly with the moral of the film which, despite most of you already knowing what it is, I’m not going to spoil here.

Bing Bong’s Design

bing bong vaudeville

On top of that, there’s a 6th character in Riley’s mind who we grow to love, Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend. Whilst the other characters designs are ‘simple yet effective’, this one is practically the polar opposite, complex and utterly crazy.

Much like Beast in the 1991 classic, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Bing Bong’s memorable look is based on being homogeneous of different creatures. He’s part cat, part elephant, part dolphin (apparently), and, get this, part cotton candy. The decision to combine several ‘creatures’ into one was based on the old art of taxidermy monsters, where different animal parts would literally be stitched together to invent a fictional species.

Furthermore, the costume he wears is based on those worn by Vaudeville performers, who used to perform on stage before cinema and television took over. Sadly, performances that are long forgotten.

You might be asking why Pixar took these two sources for the design of this unexpected hero. Well, because Bing Bong, taxidermy monsters, and Vaudeville performers all share the same trait… they’re forgotten! As time has moved along, the latter two have no longer been as relevant in our society. The same regarding Bing Bong, as Riley grows up and she gradually loses her childhood.