Eddie Opara: Run With Your Creative Ideas

Eddie Opara brought to you by Adcetera, along with Savage Brands and Love Advertising. Event sponsor TMCx.

AIGA Houston was lucky enough to have two volunteer bloggers from the AIGA Houston East Satellite group give their thoughts on both Eddie Opara’s talk and their first-ever Satellite shuttle trip.


Viewpoint One:

Attending the Eddie Opara lecture during Houston Design Week 2015 was a great experience for me. I am grateful for the startup of AIGA Houston East Satellite, which allowed me to attend the lecture by charter bus from Beaumont, TX. Hearing Opara talk about his extensive projects involving multiple areas of discipline was inspiring. Seeing the scale of some of his projects and the details involved was eye-opening. Opara helped me realize I have the ability to run with creative ideas no matter how silly they seem. I left feeling refreshed with a new outlook on my personal goals. Opara’s work is proof that hard work and persistence pays off. You never know when you will create something great out of a random idea, so always pursue your ideas no matter how unachievable they seem.



Viewpoint Two:

About a month ago, I was able to do what I never get to do during a trek to Houston: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

That hour and fifteen minute drive is boring, and sometimes stressful; short enough to be close, but long enough to be a nuisance. But thanks to the newly formed AIGA Houston East Satellite, I didn’t have to worry about driving or finding a parking spot to attend a pretty sweet event with some co-creatives. We were whisked 90 miles west via charter bus thanks to the organization and know-how of whom I’d like to call the “Golden Triangle Graphic Design Pioneer Woman of the 21st Century,” Sherry Saunders Freyermuth. Mad props to Sherry for planning this event for AIGA-HES!

Houston Design Week took place in September from the 18th to the 26th. I would have LOVED to attend the entire week’s worth of events, but the whole new full-time job (which I LOVE, and need to write an entry about, btw) and the 90 mile distance thing put a bit of a damper on that. When I found out that a group from Beaumont planned to attend the final event of the week, I jumped at the opportunity, and I was able to see Eddie Opara speak.

I must be honest that I didn’t really know too much about him until Sherry invited me to the event. It’s terrible that as I get so caught up in work, and I forget to take the time to find out more about more designers (and not JUST their designs), and what they do for our industry. All I knew was that he was a partner at Pentagram NYC, and anyone who knows what’s up in the graphic design world is familiar with what a big f*cking deal that is. I knew I had to go to see and hear him speak.

After a drizzly drive, a failed attempt to eat at the IH-10 Pappasito’s, getting griped at by the unusual but friendly chain-smoking bus driver, and a disappointing jaunt to a sad Chili’s on the other side of the interstate, we arrived at the oh-so-very-sleek Texas Medical Center Accelerator (TMCX). Seriously guys. This place was swank.

After the usual awkward hellos to graphic designer strangers, showing of our tickets, and ogling the scientific and typographical design all over the building, we sat and listened.

It’s times like these when I’m sad that I don’t live in a bigger city where I have more access to this kind of inspiration on the regular. Sure, there is always the Internet, or TedTalks on Netflix, but nothing beats the energy of being in the same room with a crowd of creatives who understand all the nerdy jokes delivered by a speaker who has all his or her design ducks in a row.

Mr. Opara’s presentation was as inspiring as he was charming. His keynote was clean, it showed off some of his most thought-provoking, and innovative projects, and all of the work he presented only reiterated how GOOD design can make the most boring crap such as whatever these numbers were look so very interesting:

My favorite portion of his presentation featured typography that he helped design for a massive wall of digital screens on the MahaNakhon Cube in Bangkok:


(Oh, hey… Check out the back of our heads!) Cool kids sit in the front row.

Our little group from Beaumont even got recognized for traveling over with a bus load of students from Lamar University. Yeah, that didn’t make me feel old at all!

After Eddie Opara’s presentation and Q&A, the afterparty started in the lobby where all the designers mingled. We stayed a few minutes more before jumping back on the bus to Beaumont.

I look forward to more adventures with the AIGA-HES group. I hope to recruit more alumni to join, but many former classmates moved to other cities since opportunities for graphic designers in the Golden Triangle are so few and far between. I hope this is the beginning of the end of the creative career draught in Southeast Texas! We deserve to have nice things too.

Viewpoint One: Our guest writer for this event, Amanda Toups, a graphic designer for Texas Bullion Exchange. Connect through LinkedIn here.

Viewpoint Two: Our guest writer for this event, Melanie Lanuza, first published a version of this post on her blog. Melanie is a Beaumont resident, graphic designer, and healthy living advocate for her community.

View all the photos from this event on Flickr.
Photos courtesy of Alex Barber, 2015
By aigahouston
Published October 27, 2015
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