Hand-painted Billboard Art Made from Tweets on Creativity

Here’s a billboard-sized example of a project that blends hand-painted art with digital communication technologies.

Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies, celebrated its sponsorship of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June by completing the world’s first hand-painted micrography billboard made entirely of tweets.  Micrography is a technique is which text is used to form an image that is most visible when seen from a distance.

 The hand-painted billboard is composed of hundreds of tweets answering questions such as:

  • Who owns the creative agenda?
  • Can creativity be a bigger force for social good? 
  • Is creativity an art or science?
  • Is technology redefining creativity?

The tweets were generated by the company’s #canvas for creativity social media debate. It was the third most used hashtag at this year’s Cannes Lions festival.


Billboard muralists Tait Roelofs and Patrick McGregor painstakingly hand-painted the best comments, perspectives, observations and quotes from the conversation onto the 16 x 4 m canvas,

Set in the grounds of Le Grand Hotel in Cannes, the mural featured the 60th Anniversary Cannes logo, celebrating the creative potential of the global advertising industry, and Cannes’ 60 years of recognizing and inspiring exceptional creativity.

To continue the discussion online, the mural was converted into the world’s first gigapixel image searchable by tweet. Contributors can search for their tweet by keyword or Twitter handle, to see in high-resolution detail exactly where in the mural it appears.

“Cannes Lions is an important global celebration of the brands and businesses that push the boundaries of creativity,” said Paul Evans director, marketing and planning, Clear Channel International. “Our hand-painted Twitter mural symbolize the powerful audience effect that can result when physical and digital experiences collide in meaningful ways.”

Social media visualizations of the #canvas Twitter content were streamed on CCO’s website, digital screens at the festival, and a high-resolution projection onto a separate 18 x 5 meter canvas located on the roof of the Le Grand Hotel, Cannes. The projection canvas was built specifically for the festival and sat at the highest spot on the Croisette – a spot never before used for advertising or media at Cannes Lions. This content played for a total of 18 hours every day to over 11,000 delegates from 92 countries.

Clear Channel Outdoor’s international in-house marketing team created the program concept, working with a roster of agency partners, including Buzz Radar (data visualization), CURB Media (outdoor mural, high-resolution projection), Visualise (gigapixel image, 3600 images), Fishburn Hedges (PR), Proud Creative (design) and We Are Social (social media management).

Artists Patrick McGregor and Tait Roelofs, as part of CURB’s team. Patrick McGregor is an artist trained in hand-painted billboard ads and fine arts. Over the past two decades, he has delivered extraordinary outdoor ads for companies ranging from Nike to Marc Jacobs as well as galleries.Tait Roelofs (aka T8) is a Los Angeles based artist working in various media, mainly painting, sculpture, and video. T8 has exhibited in numerous art fairs including Art LA, Scope NY, Pulse Miami, and at the ISLIP Art Museum in Long Island. He has had numerous solo and group shows in Los Angeles and New York. He is currently represented by De Soto Gallery in Los Angeles.


Clear Channel Outdoor at Cannes

Gigapixel Image of Tweets on the Billboard

Is the Push for Productivity and Conformity Stifling Creativity?

Interviews of 5,000 adults in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan provide new insights into the role of creativity in business, education and society overall.  The survey was conducted from March 30 to April 9, 2012. The results are published in Adobe’s State of Create global benchmark study.

According to the study, 8 in 10 people agree that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth. And nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society. Yet only 1 in 4 people believe they are living up to their own creative potential.

Pressure and Risk Aversion Stifle Creativity in Business

The survey found that people spend less time creating at work than they do outside of work.

Although workers are increasingly expected to think creatively on the job, 75% of respondents said they are under growing pressure to be productive rather than creative. Across all of the countries surveyed, people said they spend only 25% of their time at work creating. About 69% of respondents believe that risk aversion in business stifles creativity.

About one-third of respondents said they would like more time to think creatively, an environment in which to think creatively, and training to learn and use creative tools.

Education Systems Promote Standardization

More than half of those surveyed feel that creativity is being stifled by their education systems, and many believe creativity is taken for granted (52% globally, 70% in the United States).

“One of the myths of creativity is that very few people are really creative,” said Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., a leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. “The truth is that everyone has great capacities but not everyone develops them. Too often our educational systems don’t enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead, they promote uniformity and standardization. The result is that we’re draining people of their creative possibilities and, as this study reveals, producing a workforce that’s conditioned to prioritize conformity over creativity.”

Other Findings

Here are a few other noteworthy findings:

  • The decreasing amount of leisure time is seen as the factor that decreases creativity the most.
  • In the U.S., 72% of respondents agreed that there is increasing competition to have what you create noticed.
  • 7 in 10 respondents said they prefer to work by themselves when being creative.
  • In the U.S., 84% said they like to share what they create with others. This compares to 69% globally.

The study also sheds light on different cultural attitudes toward creativity. Japan ranked highest in the global tally as the most creative country while, conversely, Japanese citizens largely do not see themselves as creative.

The United States ranked globally as the second most creative nation among the countries surveyed, except in the eyes of Americans, who see themselves as the most creative. Yet Americans also expressed the greatest sense of urgency and concern that they are not living up to their creative potential (United States at 82%, vs. the lowest level of concern in Germany at 64%).

Generational and gender differences are marginal, reinforcing the idea that everyone has the potential to create. Women ranked only slightly higher than men when asked if they self-identified as creative and whether they were tapping their own creative potential.

Four in 10 people believe that they do not have the tools or access to tools to create. Creative tools are perceived as the biggest driver to increase creativity (65% globally, 76% in the United States).

Technology is also recognized for its ability to help individuals overcome creative limitations (58% globally, 60% in the United States) and provide inspiration (53% globally, 62% in the United States).

About the Adobe State of Create Study

The study was produced by the research firm StrategyOne and conducted as an online survey among a total of 5,000 adults (18 years or older) in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. Interviewing took place from March 30 to April 9. The data set for each country is nationally representative of the population of that country.


Adobe State of Create global benchmark study

Author Urges Introverts to Reclaim Their Time and Space

If you’ve ever felt out of place or distracted in a workplace culture that emphasizes fun, constant collaboration, and endless team meetings, here’s a book that will reassure you that you’re not weird. It’s called “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength” and was written by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D. I acquired the book after reading an article the author had written in Psychology Today magazine. The cover slug for the magazine article was “Revenge of the Introverts.”

Book Introvert Power by Laurie HelgoeAs an introvert myself, I found Dr. Helgoe’s insights enlightening, uplifting, and dead-on accurate. She explains why introversion should not be regarded as a deficiency, but rather as a source of power. In the book, she outlines ways introverts can improve both their personal relationships and careers by helping others understand why introverts need space and time to think.

Here are a few points Dr. Helgoe makes that might interest creative professionals (and the people who hire them!)

Introversion is defined as “an inward orientation toward life and extroversion is an outward orientation.” Although all of us use both introversion and extroversion at different times of our lives, one of these orientations generally feels more natural and more energizing. Introverts gain energy through internal reflection; extroverts gain energy through interactions with others. Conversely, extroverts expend energy reflecting and introverts expend energy interacting.

Introverts outnumber extroverts in the U.S. by a 57% to 43% majority, according to the most recent population studies published in the “MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.” However, introverts often go unseen because American culture values extroversion. In cultures such as Japan and Norway, introversion is more highly valued.

Introverts should not be viewed as withdrawn loners, who are quiet and scared. As Dr. Helgoe points out, “We’re not anti-social, asocial, or socially inept. Rather, we get energized and excited by ideas.” Instead of having multiple, superficial interactions (e.g. at crowded, noisy parties), introverts tend to prefer spacious interactions with fewer people. Some introverts do well in people-oriented professions, but often need to reserve some alone time after work.

When introverts converse, we are more interested in sharing ideas than news and gossip about other people. We listen well, think first, and talk later. We often prefer communicating in writing, because we can express ourselves without intrusion or interruption. Introverts can find parties exhausting, unless we can find a like-minded person who wants an in-depth discussion of ideas.

Introverts tend to collect thoughts, and sort them about when they are alone. Introverts use solitude to make sense of the present and future. Extroverts get bored by too much solitude.

People enjoy the products that introverts create. As Dr. Helgoe puts it, “Introverts talk to us every day through their stories, theories, movies, technology, paintings, songs, and inventions.” For the introvert, conversation can be a very limited form of expression.

People are often drawn to the quiet introverts in the room. When introverts choose to speak, they often raise challenging questions and new perspectives.

It’s shortsighted to see introverts as grumpy loners hunched over their computers for hours and hours on end. What people aren’t recognizing is that introverts are usually deeply engaged in the flow of creation. Getting “in the zone” is energizing and exciting.

To succeed at work, Dr. Helgoe advises introverts to seek jobs that allow a more desirable balance between work that feels “natural” and work that feels “imposed.” Introverts often seek out creative jobs that they imagine would feel “natural.” But sometimes these jobs leave introverts disappointed and frustrated, because they get interrupted so often or are assigned work that seems meaningless or at odds with their ideals.

Dr. Helgoe writes that, “Executives and managers need to consider how introverts—at least half of their workforce—produce. Employees require energy to produce and, conveniently, introverts come with their own generators.” Instead of trying to entertain us with lots of chatter and team-building meetings and parties, “mute the chatter, and give us some space.”

Instead of insisting that introverts attend brainstorming meetings, allow them to submit written ideas. For many employees, “less is more: less discussion, fewer meetings, and less so-called fun.”

That doesn’t mean introverts should be allowed to totally isolate themselves off and appear grumpy and unwilling to collaborate. Instead, Dr. Helgoe urges introverts to make the rounds to the people who are most likely to intrude and tell them that you are organizing your day to minimize interruptions: “Ask them what they’ll need from you, jot it down, and once you’ve collected these requests, retire to your space.”

And, she recommends that, “When you negotiate a new job or a raise, be upfront that your strong suit is your ability to work independently and pursue answers without interrupting others.”

Dr. Helgoe believes that properly managed introverts can efficiently advance every field of human endeavor, from science to business and education to politics: “Leaders only need to drop the scales from their eyes to produce more—much more—with the people they already employ.”

In the intro to the book, Dr. Helgoe writes “Introverts, it is time for us to claim our space, our time, and our vitality.”


Laurie Helgoe’s Website: Introvert Power

Psychology Today: Revenge of the Introvert

Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength


Author Urges Managers to Let Introverts Be Themselves


E-Book Explains How to Motivate Creative People

DESIGNERS. WRITERS. If you ever feel frustrated by working conditions that make it impossible to deliver your best creative work, read the free, 56-page e-book “How to Motivate Creative People—Including Yourself.” Then, urge your boss to read it.

The word Inspire written in the sand. The e-book was written by poet Mark McGuinness. In his day job, Mark provides training and coaching services to innovative companies and freelance artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs.

“How to Motivate Creative People” can help managers understand how motivation affects creativity and how easy it is for managers to unintentionally de-motivate their creative
team. Mark explains low-cost ways to get better work out of creative people and
facilitate creative collaboration.

If you’re a conscientious creative pro who is already highly motivated to deliver great work, the book can help you find more satisfaction in your work and influence others by explaining more about how the creative process works.

The book cites research that shows that managers don’t intentionally squash creativity. But in their efforts to attain greater productivity, efficiency, and control, managers often end up undermining creativity because they don’t understand how creative pros think. Mark notes that creatives have a low threshold for boredom and tend to be motivated more by challenge and responsibility than compensation.

“You can’t improve creative performance by giving people orders, showering them with praise, or paying them more money,” writes McGuinness. He explains that “To get the best out of creative workers, managers need to help them discover meaning and interest in their work—over and above their professional obligations and the company’s commercial interests.”


E-Book: How to Motivate Creative People—Including Yourself

Blog: Wishful Thinking—Creative Coaching and Training


Why You Can’t Buy Creativity: You Have to Inspire It