Employee Spotlight: John Baumgardner
At Vimarc, creativity is constantly flowing and our culture is defined by the unique personalities that make up our team.
We sat down with one of our greatest sources of inspiration, Creative Director John Baumgardner. We used our time together to dive deeper into his creative process and insight on the industry. We also learned more about his love for music … oh, and his cats.
Q: When working on a creative project, how do you get started?
A: If I have limited time, I usually start with free-thinking. I use whatever pops into my head and let it evolve. If something comes quickly, you’re lucky … usually it doesn’t. If I have more time, I lean on personal stories and experiences for inspiration, whether they’re mine or someone else’s.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?
A: What I enjoy most is the opportunity to do something different. It might not be every single day, but when I look at what I’ve worked at throughout an entire year, you become an expert in the most random things.
Q: You’ve been at Vimarc for a long time, more than 10 years! What has made you stick around for so long?
A: Generally, people do a lot of agency hopping, because a lot of agencies don’t allow people to grow. If you start out as a production artist, chances are you’re going to stay a production artist. If you want to gain more experience or make more money, you have to go to a different agency.
When I got hired at Vimarc, they said, “We need someone who’s going to be here more than a year. How can you convince us that you’re not going to move on to the next best thing?” I told them, “As long as I’m challenged and learning something new, I’ll stay.” Every time I left a company, it was because I had learned everything they could teach me. At Vimarc, I can carve my own path and am constantly learning new things.
Q: If I asked your coworkers, what would they say about working with you?
A: I think they might say that I’m patient. I don’t get fired up much, but when I do, it’s usually pretty quick … and stupid. I think they’d say I’m a good mentor and they know they can rely on me.
Q: What’s your best advice to someone looking to break into the advertising industry?
A: If you’re a creative and starting out in this industry, you must have a portfolio. You can’t get a job without it. If you don’t have any work to show, create pretend clients. Make fake ads – pick up products you use and businesses you like and develop ads for them. People will know they’re not real, but it’s the only way you can show how you think.
Q: You spend a lot of your free time playing and creating music. How do you find that your affinity for music bleeds over into your professional life?
A: My love for music bleeds over all the time. Not just because I create music, but also because I really like it. I seek out all different kinds. It’s made my audio-visual projects much better, because I realize what a big role music plays.
I used to think when creating a TV spot for people in a certain audience, I needed to use music that they liked. Along the way, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what kind of music people listen to; it just has to make them feel something.
Q: Tell us about your cats.
A: I have two cats. One is Otis, he is 13. I found him under my mother’s house, so I’m not really sure what he is, but I think he’s part Norwegian Forest cat. Don’t laugh. He’s all white with blue eyes, and he recently developed diabetes, but it’s manageable. My other cat is Gertie. She is about 6 years old. They don’t get along that well, but they both love me.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that people who don’t know you might find interesting or surprising.
A: It always surprises me that this surprises people, but growing up I was known as the kid who played the piano. It doesn’t come up a lot, so I don’t think to bring it up or talk about it. When people find out that I play and that I have music on iTunes, they usually don’t believe me. Or if they run in to me while playing, they’re like, “I didn’t know you could do that!”
Q: What’s your new album called?
A: Downpour, all songs about rain.
Think John’s creative mind can help your organization? Contact him by filling out the form below.