Yesterday I found myself weaving through the streets of Shoreditch in search of the Circus Tent for the Poke Presents Creative Day conference.
On arrival, I was greeted with a vast sea of eager creative faces chomping at their thick-rimmed spectacles waiting to be enthralled and enlightened.
As I laid out my array of pens ready to get sketch-noting, the talks began in the form of a panel discussion from ‘The Internet Industrialists’. A loose topic formed around the age-old argument of “Physical vs Digital” with representatives from Berg, Moo, MakieLab and Sugru. Berg agreed that design is about cultural intervention and it is the culture that makes life interesting. They love to create products with an inexpensive reach and shared a range of great inventions with us. Tiny Printer was a personal favourite which was not surprising, as who could resist that face?!
Connected experiences, the challenges of bringing a new physical product to market and ultimately closing the digital loop all came with interesting standpoints. Jane from Sugru spoke of the complex sciencey stuff behind the creation of their product but showed true passion when she began talking about their community. Sugru users are at the heart of their brand, and although the diversity of the product makes marketing a challenge, it’s the creativity and brilliance of the users that make it such a great company and ultimately a product that sells well.
The tempo of the event really picked up after a well-needed coffee break and the second session kicked off. With talks that felt more like an act at the Edinburgh fringe than a Creative industry event, Tim Malbon, Tom Roope and the hilarious illustrator, Mr Bingo, took to the stage. With a large proportion of their material revolving around toilet jokes, and a somewhat disturbing display of serial killer art. I was left mostly confused but smiling.
The Artistic Bit
The afternoon was by far my favourite part of the day. The circus tent was transformed into an art studio with easels and charcoal galore. With some very eccentric, creative types bounding around pointing us in the right direction. The model in my group posed with wigs, umbrellas and a Minotaur head so imaginations were running wild as we dusted off up our rusty drawing skills. Loosening up with opposite-hand drawing, blind sketching and continuous mark-making forcing us to look at the form we were presented with and sketch what we actually saw rather than what we thought we saw. It was great to get back behind a blank canvas and let my creativity run away with itself.
Overall a really great event by Poke, and I’m certainly inspired to pick up a pen/pencil/paint brush and start ‘creating’ again.