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creative january 2012

Ogilvy asks: “what makes you creative?” one candidate’s response: “it’s just in

your genes!”

Dustin Poh shares examples of his creativity throughout life: childhood high school military college


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childhood

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As a child I was constantly creative. I took after my father who is amazing with a paintbrush or a pencil. He always encouraged my brother and I to pursue art and refine our abilities.

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military Even though my job in the military was very analytical and did not call much for creativity, I was always looking for ways to use that creative side; from creating new SOP’s inside the job to constantly drawing in my sketchbook outside.

high school In high school I was constantly looking for ways to be creative. I still have three different pieces of art hanging permanently in my school, all of which are 9/11 related.

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college I finally decided to focus on creativity and my passion in design and advertising by enrolling in college. I have had an amazing time at Montclair State and am looking forward to using the skills I’ve learned there in my future career.


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childhood As a kid I was constantly being creative. My mother tells me she was fascinated by my imagination and how I would come up with elaborate storylines when I played with my toys. I definitely have my parents to thank for cultivating my creative side by always pushing me towards creative activities. My favorite toy growing up was a refrigerator box I transformed into a spaceship. I also loved to make my own toys out of milk cartons and toilet paper rolls. As I got a little but older you could find me in the woods building tree forts or burying treasure. I was constantly painting, drawing and creating. My father is amazing with a paintbrush and pencil and taught me a lot about art growing up. He helped ignite

that passion I still have for the fine arts. By the time I was twelve I was accepted into our elementary school’s “Art Squad”. This was mostly an after school program where we created artwork for the school and the community. One of the highlights of this was when we were all able to paint characters on the walls of the school. Our squad chose Rugrats as our theme and I painted Grandpa Boris, which is still on the wall today. My love for art just flourished from there.


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In high school I took various creative classes each year. I was accepted into our school’s honors fine arts classes where I had some amazing teachers. In my sophomore year, 9/11 happened and it changed my life fairly drastically, as I’m sure it had most people. This event ignited a patriotic passion in me, which in hindsight may have been a case of


misplaced emotions. However, these emotions showed up often in my artwork. In my junior year of high school I had created a 36” x 36” painting in remembrance of 9/11 and ended up donating it to my school when I graduated. It still hangs in the cafeteria today. To keep up with this tradition, I dedicated another piece my senior year. This time it was a canvased collage, which still hangs in my high school library. Besides art dedicated to 9/11, high school also ignited my interest in graphic design. I took a Hypermedia class where we learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and

Premiere. This was very rudimentary design work, but it opened up the door for using the computer as a medium. I struggled with what I wanted to do after high school and juggled various ideas. My teachers pushed me to apply for art schools, but guidance counselors and others constantly told me how a career in art would not be lucrative and I should pursue other options. I ended up applying to various schools for Criminal Justice, but I’d never actually go to college. Not yet anyway. In March 2003 I received a waitlist letter from a school I had my heart set on. In

this same pile of mail was a recruitment postcard from the Air Force. I looked at this as false fate and immediately called the recruiter. I was a spontaneous teen. I know now this was not fate. There’s no coincidence that teens start receiving recruitment notices around the same time college letters are being sent; it’s all planned. But I called anyways and the very next day I was meeting with a recruiter. By October I would be going to boot camp.

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the military

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At first I’d say the military stifled my creativity, at least for a while, but eventually it came back. One of the first things I really remember doing is continuing the tradition of creating a 9/11 dedication piece. I decided to create a mosaic made up of every firefighter and police officer’s portrait. I then made seven of these and gave them away: two to New York City first responder fire departments, one to my local Air Force fire department, another to my hometown fire department, one to my old high school art teacher, one for my mother, and the last one I kept for myself. The experience was really fantastic and I was even featured in a local


newspaper. When a Lieutenant General saw this article, he approached me and asked if I could make his retirement video. This was a huge honor and led to another General and a full-bird Colonel also asking me to make their videos. My creativity was not exclusive to art, however. I have always been a visual learner, which did not always work well with my highly analytical job in the military. To make things easier for my coworkers and myself I started to make detailed maps for the

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various sites we were working on. This initiative grasped the attention of my superiors and they later tasked me to create visually guided Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each task we had to do. Essentially, when I was done a new trainee could self-teach themselves the basics of our job. This same type of thing was then instructed of me when I was deployed in Iraq. I was working with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and we had a very particular way of doing our job. I was tasked


with creating all of the operating guides, so new trainees could assimilate much quicker into our work environment. Art still remained a part of my life when deployed, though. I always carried around a sketchbook with me and was constantly drawing to pass time. I even designed our unit’s patch, which is most likely still being worn today. Towards the end of my military career I knew I had to finally pursue what I loved most and leave the Air Force behind. The Post 9/11

GI Bill is fantastic for Veterans and I knew it would be a great opportunity to finally try my hand at a professional career in media. I got out in January 2008 after four years and three months of service and began going to college in September of that year.

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college I began going to college in September 2008 and chose Montclair State University for both financial and logistical reasons. While the government is generous with education benefits for Veterans, their generosity only goes so far. If I were to go to anything but a state college, I would most definitely have to take out loans, which was not something I wanted to do. Dormitories were also not an option and I would have to find a school within driving distance from my work and home. For these reasons, I applied to Montclair and have absolutely loved my time there. I have watched the design program grow and flourish and have learned so much about design and advertising. My teachers have all just been

wonderful and I have no regrets with choosing MSU. Throughout my time in college, my creativity has really had the opportunity to shine. In my freshmen year I created a 42” x 42” diptych in the style of Basquiat. In that same class I created a lip dub with my oldest friends to the song “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” by the Scissor Sisters, which earned me an A. That was an incredibly fun time. My design teachers have nurtured our creativity and have stressed the importance of research and hand skills. I also was given the chance to help with reorganizing the design lab to how we as students wanted it. Two other students and myself spent all winter break last year painting and moving and installing new tech15

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nology. Outside of design our program has also made sure we had the skills needed to enter the job world by making various Marketing and Advertising classes mandatory and internships a graduation requirement.

Between my Marketing classes, Advertising classes and my internship I have found a passion for the media field. My favorite classes to date have been Advertising Design and Advertising Theory. I have also been


interning at The Syndicate in Weehawken, New Jersey, which is marketing and promotion company. I have loved my time there so far and will be learning all about real world marketing and promotion until I graduate in May. Being in a creative field, such as Advertising, is something I now know I want and I am excited to harness my creativity and apply it to my job each and every day.

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” “d

David Ogilvy


Poh - Ogilvy Creative Exercise