This morning, I saw an article in Creative Review online.
It was by a guy named Paul Belford and it was written in July 2016.
It was about how creatives get better with age.
I remember reading it when it first appeared.
I liked it then.
I like it even more now.
It reminded me of a conversation I once had with an old art director buddy.
It went something like this:
Him: "So...when do you think you'll stop being a writer, then?"
Me: "When they crowbar my keyboard from my cold, dead hands...probably. Why? You thinking of jacking it in?"
Him: "The world is full of snotty-nosed young art directors who think they know it all. I don't think I have the energy to keep up with them any more."
Me: "That's bollocks, mate. You're better than you were ten years ago. Or twenty."
Him: "Yeah...but am I better than I was yesterday?"
The thing about young creatives is this...
Who the hell are they going to learn from if there are no older, more experienced creatives around to kick them up the arse?
Who the hell's going to stop them from creating shit? When they don't even know it's shit. Because they haven't had their arses kicked enough times to know what shit looks like. Or feels like.
The thing about God-given talent is this...
It can only take you so far.
Beyond that, you need the ability to work through the pain barrier.
You need the ability to know when to twist or stick. When to speak or shut the fuck up.
You need the ability to recognise your arse from your elbow.
And that happens after you stop wearing short trousers, creatively speaking.
That happens when you grow the hell up.
But sometimes it happens when you get the hell out.
Some creatives get better with age simply because they get on the first stagecoach out of Dodge and do something different.
They get better because they discover that all their experience to date has simply been the starter to a different kind of main course. A more mouthwatering kind.
Case in point.
One of my ex-agency buddies is a guy called Chris Duncan.
Hugely talented art director. Extremely nice bloke.
Used to be a staffer at McCann Erickson.
Now...he's an award-winning artist, working digitally and in metal, wood and plastics.
Still an extremely nice bloke.
His website is www.littlefingeruk.com. And his superhero images (straight onto discarded drinks cans) blew me away the first time I saw them.
And the second time...and the third...you get my drift.
Take a look for yourself.
Just hold onto your socks when you do.
He's been showing at Comic Con in Glasgow and London...and will probably show at Liverpool and Birmingham, too.
His creations are becoming seriously collectible.
And the more he creates, the better he gets at it.
Which just goes to show...
Real creativity has bugger all to do with chronology.
And everything to do with ability...