"Let’s face it: we are not generating
world peace, we are not curing cancer,
we are making ads."
photo by Bas de Graaf
THIS IS JORIS VAN ELK.COM
Joris van Elk on himself
Out of all creative professions, Joris van Elk chose to build a career
in advertising, a profession that is well-known for being a rat race
and an environment that prefers to work with young people
and massive egos.
Who is Joris van Elk?
A passionate individual, who happens to work in advertising and design. He is hard-working and in search of integrity and aesthetics.
A whole website filled with portraits and interviews about yourself. Can we conclude the ego has landed?
No, no, no! (laughs) This doesn’t have much to do with my ego, but more with modern times. Social media has fragmented the way we communicate, so if you want to be part of today’s rat race you need to do some sort of self-promotion. I’ve noticed that showing off your latest work isn’t good enough anymore. People want to hear what motivates you as a creative. That motivation gives them more reassurance than an example of a successful (online) campaign for a competitor. Awards are easier won than trust, but trust is what they are looking for.
Still, advertising people tend to have huge egos. And this site can easily be interpreted as showing off.
But that’s not the reason I started this. If you compare this with the music industry, lots of musicians out there aren’t ego trippers. They want to play music. That’s their profession. In order to do so, they need to promote themselves. So they have to do interviews, get pictures made, create websites, go on tour. But as individuals they remain the same people that happen to have chosen a certain profession and want to excel in what they do. I’m not down at all with all this advertising ego-stuff. But I happen to love doing my work. If this is what it takes to do my work, so be it.
But aren’t the advertising hot shots the people that agencies need to draw the attention?
If you need an opinionated good-for-nothing to generate business, you won’t last long out there. Let’s face it: we are not generating world peace, we are not curing cancer, we are working in advertising. It’s a blessing for clients and agencies that we have a lot of passionate creatives working in our industry who try to make the most out of this, but we really need to stop overestimating ourselves and what we are doing in the bigger picture.
As a creative, take great pride that you helped your clients generate more business, but don’t expect to end up living the life of a rock star. If that’s what you really want, learn how to play an instrument.
You started in the music industry. Have you missed your calling?
Building a career in the music industry is probably the most daring thing to do. It takes a special kind of mindset. I realized at an early stage that I wasn’t good enough to make an honest living out of playing music. I would probably end up struggling more than I could bear. So I chose a different way of expressing my creative talent. And this works out better for me. Still, musicians who battled for decades to fulfill their dreams are bigger heroes than most people who hold a high creative position in advertising, for they are definitely the true creatives.
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