[image-1]Charleston’s Creative Mornings, a free monthly lecture series held on Fridays at 8 a.m., has been kickin’ it in the Lowcountry for over a year now, with lectures almost always selling out. Talks have been held at the City Gallery, the Library Society, Cannon Green, Candlefish, the Cedar Room, and more. And this morning, we got to sit down in a bar — Faculty Lounge to be exact— to get our monthly dose of knowledge. And the topic? Weird.

Our first speaker, John Park, told us to use weird as a weapon. He should know how to best channel creative juices, he’s the mastermind behind Progressive Auto Insurance’s character, Flo. The founder and creative director of Arts and Sciences, a local marketing firm, Park preached both about the value of weird — and the value of tempering that same weirdness. “Weird isn’t good enough by itself,” he says. “You have to fight for it.”

He showed us a binder chock-full of notes and directions and proposals — the six months of work that went into Flo’s first commercial. “I had to fight to keep Flo quirky when clients wanted to bring her back to the middle,” he says. 

Park will be giving an AMA on Reddit next week. Head here to sign up. 

Our second speaker, Marcus Amaker, kicked things off with a poem he wrote when he was 10 years old, a time when he says he felt very weird. Amaker, Charleston’s first poet laureate, has a deep love for rockstar Prince, saying that his desire to design, write, and create music stemmed from Prince’s ability to do all three.

We listened to Amaker’s future chart-topper, another childhood creation — the song “Big Butt.” “As you can tell,” said Amaker, “I was very weird.” He told us that if we’re ever feeling creatively stifled, it’s probably because we’re creating for someone else, not out of your own desire to create. 

Amaker used to work for P&C‘s Charleston Scene and he says that while there he also had to create graphic design work on the side to maintain his creative edge. “It was my way of breathing,” he says. 

Amaker is constantly working on new projects and collaborations. Stay tuned to his happenings here. 

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