ONE School Students Reach For Their Spot

By Brett McKenzie on Sep 07, 2020

Class is in session, as the first ONE School students prepare to make a mark on the industry


"I'm not gonna rock the boat. Rocking the boat is a drag. I'm gonna sink the boat!"

In the subversive 1969 cult classic Putney Swope, the title character — a token Black ad exec inadvertently thrust into the CEO role — shakes up the industry with a healthy dose of "Truth and Soul."

More than fifty years later, Madison Avenue still needs some shaking and rocking before it actually does start sinking. That's why The One Club for Creativity launched ONE School, a free portfolio program designed to tackle the ad world's diversity dilemma head-on. Today is the first day of classes for our "East Coast" students, who will spend the next sixteen weeks learning what it takes to put together an amazing portfolio without compromising their Blackness.

With many of the top agencies and brands in the country eagerly watching, we wanted to introduce you to our first class of ONE School students.

 


Trey Alston

27, Journalist
Williamsburg, VA

TREYALS.COM

IG: @TREYALS

TWITTER: @TREYALS

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

Figuring out the entryways into creating a story. It’s like a Rubik's cube with endless possibilities.

Who is the most creative person you know?

Jeff Weiss, a journalist who approaches storytelling from unique angles. He’s impossible to duplicate. His work is extremely inspiring.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I bring an obsession with telling a story the right way, and figuring out new ways to find that one, right way.

 

VanLeigh Armer

27, Artist/US Navy Service Member
Houston, TX

VANLEIGHARMER.COM

IG: @vanleigh_

TWITTER: @_vanleigh

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

Sound. I have an ear for instrumentals and music. I'm drawn in to the degree where I can sit and listen for hours on end. There's a certain sound and tempo that just resonates with me internally.

Who is the most creative person you know?

God.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I bring moral and ethical leadership, personal commitment, strategical storytelling and visual design that is collectively geared towards sustaining communities, nations, and bringing solutions to problems that plague our world today.

 

Trey Bradley

26, Creative Technologist
New York, NY

TREYBRADLEY.ONLINE

IG: @el.trey

TWITTER: @_dialectic

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

I'd say it's the desire to get thoughts and ideas out into the real world where I can see, touch, feel and hear them. I want to be able to experience an idea or concept in the physical world to help me make sense of it and understand it.

Who is the most creative person you know?

Robert Johnson (or any Delta Blues musician) because he did so much with just his voice and guitar – he and fellow musicians inspired so much music, like Rock and R&B. Also, Marcel Duchamp or John Cage. I feel like they thought about art and music in such a unique way.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I think of the ad world as being super ballsy, adaptive and willing to take risks and try new things (concepts, technologies, creative, etc.). Im excited to bring that energy of innovation and unorthodox thinking to the table.

 

Liz Culton

23, Graphic Design Student
Atlanta, GA

elizabethculton.com

IG: @lizculton

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

I am inspired by instances as simple as human interactions and conversations, memories, music that has been created by Black people and photographs portraying Black life

Who is the most creative person you know?

Recently speaking with Carlos Freire, I was blown away by his Apple Music project. Sharing music can be a very personal experience and he was able to create a project that shares your sound with your identity. Another person I am continuously inspired by is my friend Annie Short.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I have always found advertising, specifically commercials, to be the most creative way for brands to convey a memorable message. Using my wealth of memories and impressions, while also being open mined, I can create new and innovative ideas.

 

Laura V. Elay

23, Writer
Brooklyn, NY

IG: @lauraveley

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

I can get an idea from a book, TV show, or even just listening to an Uber driver. Life is my muse!

Who is the most creative person you know?

Honestly, my mom. When I was in elementary school she created a piggybank out of milk carton. From that moment, she sparked my creativity.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I’m a natural storyteller. I can take minor details and create masterful tales. I’m excited to showcase this with ONE School.

 

Nicole Francois

34, Project Manager
Brooklyn, NY

nicoleafrancois.com

IG: @nic_takes_pics

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

The human psyche, as weird as that sounds — I'll go for a walk and just observe behaviors. I love getting to the heart of what makes us act the way we do and from there, taking those preconceptions and figuring out ways to tell a story unexpectedly fresh.

Who is the most creative person you know?

Jordan Peele. He has a way of weaving realistic situations with horror that reveals the absurdity of everyday life with a sharp, comedic edge that's simple, yet brilliant.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I have the ability to think in both the abstract and literal. In my day-to-day I have been conditioned to think very concretely — the budget, the timeline. At heart, I'm a storyteller that can imagine an idea out of thin air, yet ultimately understand the tangibles to make it come to life.

 

Asia Irvin

22, Commission Painter
Louisville, KY

Asiairvin.com

IG: @okaymae_

TWITTER: @asiaswirvin

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

I look for inspiration in museums or the next best thing: Instagram.

Who is the most creative person you know?

My friend from high school. I seek to her for spiritual insight and a good playlist. Check her out!

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

What interests me most is the collective culture of creativity within the industry. I bring an original direction, artistry and attitude to challenge and progress common ideals.

 

Mutaurwa Mapondera

34, Artist
Brooklyn, NY

WORK.MUTAURWA.COM

IG: @mutaurwa

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

The people of New York are my biggest inspiration.

Who is the most creative person you know?

My father is a hustler like no other, always reinventing himself in search of another scheme.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I bring experience, vision, and audacity.

 

Tagahgee Morris

22, Storyteller/Videographer/Graphic Designer
Philadelphia, PA

tarahgee.com

IG: @itstarahgee

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

People get me going. From interacting with people, whether in person, through a screen, or just hearing them talk, get me going and moving. People inspire me to go beyond the social norms and create.

Who is the most creative person you know?

My baby sister, Skyye, is the most creative person I know. She is 4 and has I inspired me to be creative. Skyye lives life without any worries and just enjoys her days as she goes. She does not worry about perfection for creativity and just does it. That inspires me exponentially.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I bring a new table and some chairs to the advertising world For too long, Black and Brown folks endured being the only one. I am coming in to help craft new narratives, bring new voices, bring an energy that comes from communities I come from to the advertising world. It is really time for a change.

 

Jamal Parker

23, Performance Poet
Philadelphia, PA

jamalparker.com

IG: @jamalparkerr

TWITTER: @jamalparkerr

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

I’m really into cinematic music soundtracks. When I am writing a paper, a poem, or drafting content for any project, I love playing Hans Zimmer, Trent Reznor, or one of my favorite superhero movie soundtracks in the background. It makes me go beyond the limit with my imagination.

Who is the most creative person you know?

Mac Miller. His songwriting exhibited room for humor and brutal honesty. He had phenomenal growth as an artist from his early years, and with each project he released, you can tell he was always evolving. His dedication to the world of hip-hop was amazing. May he rest in peace.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

As a writer and performing artist, I’m interested in the creative storytelling advertising allows. I’ve always strived to craft authentic narratives through various mediums of communication, whether it’s been in print or performing onstage. Since advertising is a form of communication, I’m all in for the journey.

 

Bárbara Polanco

27, Creative Director of OG Content
The Bronx, NY

IG: @thebazness

TWITTER: @babs_see

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

I’m inspired by life, more specifically Green and Blue Scenery, as well as history. Of over 20,000 pictures on my phone, I can easily say that 90% of these images are either a tree, a sunset, or some sort of landscape that speaks to me. My ritual for inspiration includes a quick meditation, playing music — usually Aquemini — and placing myself in familiar spaces where I’ve felt the tingle of inspiration, physically or mentally.

Who is the most creative person you know?

The most creative person I know is hands down my Momma! Joining us on Earth in 1956, her view of the world spans six decades in two different worlds. The first world being the Dominican Republic in the ’60s under a strange and hindering dictatorship, to New York City in the mid-70s. While she's not a creative traditionally, her life experiences influence her relationship with all things ranging from dance to fashion.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

The world of advertising has the most influence in shaping our perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. Creativity has the power to move people and change the ways we impact the world. The inspiration for my creative voice as an independent thinker is rooted in a healthy curiosity of people, places, and experiences. All of this, combined with the current moment facing the industry, arm me with the tools to help shift the creative landscape and make it more inclusive, diverse, and reflective of the world we want to live in.

 

Temi Thomas

23, Marketing Coordinator
Dallas, TX

temithomas.com

IG: @temithomas_

TWITTER: @temithomas_

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

Seeing the work and drive of my creative peers inspires me to get up and create!

Who is the most creative person you know?

Idara Ekpoh is the most creative photographer I know! She's turned her quarantine into a time to take really amazing self-portraits week to week, 20 weeks strong now!

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I believe visuals have the power to inspire and inform. The world of advertising is a direct link to that. It can be both a reflection of the world we live in and the inspiration of a world we can create. In this world, I can bring my attention to detail and perspective on how I and many others navigate the world.

 

Ty Lance West

27, Designer/Animator/illustrator
Brooklyn, NY

tylancewest.com/

IG: @tythecreated

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

For me, creative inspiration arrives through a few circumstances: 1) meditation/exercise 2) consuming others' art or nature and 3) witnessing honesty. And one other circumstance comes to mind — being in transit; I am always in such a mental swing when in-between.

Who is the most creative person you know?

Have to say my best friend Daniel Beer for how he practices honesty with himself and others momentarily. Pure creativity depends on pure honesty, and witnessing his daily attempts to 'move out of his own way' is inspirational in the same way I see Frank Ocean professing (sometimes in circles) to near a version of clarity. This creativity, to me, seems ever-giving, like a self-sustainable fountain.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

Advertising revolves around selling values to their consumers, and in contemporary culture, companies and brands are changing how they align with values and agendas with the advent of 'branded content' and the like. As a creative and animator with a poetic penchant simultaneously focused on the symbolic and the tangible, my imagination tends to make unlikely connections that can provide uncanny powerful inlets into branded narratives that discuss values as abstract as freedom, happiness, responsibility, worry etc.

 

Miko White

25, Producer
Georgetown, SC

trilmediaworks.com

IG: @mikkimikzz

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

I'm inspired by the world around me — experiences, interactions, daily nuances, historical speeches, movements.

Who is the most creative person you know?

The very talented, very funny Timmy Parker.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

The need for creative, limit defying solutions in an industry that definitely has limits draws me to advertising. It's the perfect opportunity for me to flex my creative brain and my producer brain.

 

Jasmine Louise Williams

30, Textile Artist/Writer
Brooklyn, NY

jasminelouisewilliams.com

IG: @blossom.or.die

 

What gets you going, creatively speaking?

From seeing a live show to blasting tunes in my headphones while jogging, I find that music always gets my ideas flowing. Lately I’ve been incredibly inspired by the musicians who are using their performances to draw attention to current events.

Who is the most creative person you know?

My mom is definitely the most creative person I know. Whether she is painting the porch a crazy hue, making a sculpture out of my brother’s old toys, or trying her hand at political cartoons, she’s never afraid to go out on a limb for her artistic pursuits.

What do you bring to the table that makes you think you have a place in the advertising world?

I am very interested in how ideas are communicated so that is what really drew me to advertising. I think my mixed background in visual arts, crafts, and production has enabled me to problem solve from different angles. Every industry could use more nuance!

 

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