Who Needs Creative Arts When There’s So Much Data Available?

The Kaiser is lamenting the state of creative affairs today.

If you work in the creative department of an advertising agency in 2008 you will be hard pushed to find either a member of your team who can remember the old process or somebody who can handle a pencil and can draw – but I bet everyone is pretty savvy with a Mac, Photoshop, Quark and InDesign.
Suddenly everyone with a computer, a mouse and a piece of software could do “creative” stuff, which is morally superb – but has proven to be, functionally and qualitatively speaking, an absolute bloody nightmare and has created what Walter Gropius called an “art-proletariat” – a mass of people misled into believing that just because, they had secured a place in art education (whether it be painting, architecture, design or sculpture), that they had all the tools needed to be artists – and were somehow muddying the waters of creativity.

Gropius, of course, passed away well before the introduction of desktop publishing. But what of The Kaiser’s argument? Are there any real artists left in the ad biz, or did they head for the hills decades ago?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. This is something that must be on people’s minds today.
    Tangerine Toad posted about experts being the new black, meaning that people are sick of amateur content.
    I posted along a similar vein.
    And you are posting about the lost art of, well, art.
    There are masters out there, but the democratization of the tools of the trade have made them harder to pick out from the white noise of average content that just gets pushed out there.

  2. Here’s a book on that very subject.
    The Cult Of The Amateur by Andrew Keen.
    Might be worth a look.

  3. I think there’ll always be a mindset among certain creatives that says tools make you an architect. The idea that somehow creative=layout and that if I do 50 versions of an ad, I’ve accomplished something.
    Scary also how even basic hand skills are suffering among next gen creatives. What’d Robert Plant say again:
    Does anyone remember markers?