Get Your Jam On!

Adobe recently held the Creative Jam in Sydney. DBS had four artists in attendance, including Mike Watt, Bill Hope, Ben Marriott and James Briscoe.
They had three hours to compete as four teams, and to create a uniquely themed artwork. Here's a bit about how they got on...

Can you tell us a little bit about Creative Jams, and how you got involved?

Mike Creative Jams  is put on by Adobe. Basically a few groups of creatives are put together to create an artwork using the Adobe software to a theme, within limited time, in front of a live audience. A winner is chosen at the end of the jam.

Bill  I was brought in on the Creative jam through the studio [DBS], based on my previous work in scribing for Adobe, and my familiarity with the relevant products. It’s the kind of thing I’d heard about in the past but hadn’t been involved in.

James I was asked by Matt Jackson if I'd be interested in taking part and partnering up with someone, and as I thought it'd be a bit of fun. I was happy to be onboard.

Tell us about your part in the recent Sydney Creative Jam

James The event was held at the National School of Art, in the Cell Block Theatre, which I believe used to be a ladies prison. It was a fantastic venue and each team had their own desk around the edges of the room. The theme we were working to was From a little Spark may burst a Flame. As we were the only team there who were going to produce a submission that would be an animation, or any form of motion graphics, we opted for something that we knew we could deliver within the time frame. I had the idea of someone in a dark place with a cigarette lighter that bursts into flame, and Bill brought the zombies to the table, so between us the idea was born. I did a very quick storyboard and from there we began with Bill creating the illustrations and myself creating the animation. Throughout there were people milling around asking questions, so it was great to be able to answer anything they might like to know as we progressed. Then once we were finished our team - Team Squiggle, presented our piece to the audience.

Ben We approached it by creating a character that embodied flames from a spark as much as possible. A Fire fighter who loves fire, purposely creating sparks to set himself on fire (his favourite pastime). This reveals the fire-themed tattoos that he's gotten inked directly onto his skeleton.

How did the Drawing Book teams do?

Bill There were two DBS teams of the four there on the night. We all worked around the same premise but just in separate mediums, Mike and Ben in Illustration, James and I in animation. Mike and Ben did great, they both have pretty raw graphic styles, but a very different sensibility to their work, so it was interesting to see them come together. Working with James was great. It was our first time working together, but we were both confident in what we were doing, and the abilities of each other. Moreover, I think we were both really happy with the finished product.

Mike I was in a team with Ben Marriot and the other DBS team was James Briscoe and Bill Hope. Ben and I took it very literally. I did the outline of a fireman with his knife in a toaster which caused a spark which set him on fire. Ben covered him with tattoos, flames and texture. I have to give Ben the credit for the idea. I can't remember exactly because it all happened quickly but I think it was mostly him. James and Bill did a crazy animation of a guy lighting his lighter and then he was surrounded by zombies. It was nuts to see what they could do in three hours.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about the recent jam?

Bill Just that I think this is a great event format for an event if managed the right way. Artists often work in a degree of isolation so any opportunity to get out, compete and collaborate is fantastic.

Ben The atmosphere around the Jam was really encouraging. We were all under the same tight time constraints, so as teams were all competing against the deadline, rather than each other. 

James  Only that it was a lot of fun to be a part of. Bill and I had never worked together before but we managed to put an animation together in under three hours and to be honest I was very surprised that we did. It's always fun to collaborate with different artists and creatives but more than anything I found it to be a very rewarding experience as you get to deepen your respect for other people’s talents.