Mind at Work: Creative Director Scott Theisen

Whenever possible, we like to sit down with one of our creative minds at VSA to find out what inspires them. In a world where there’s constantly pressure to “produce, produce, produce,” it’s important to stop and reflect on the special people, places and things that actually drive our creativity.

Today, VSA’s Chicago-based Creative Director Scott Theisen sheds light on the four things that inspire him and help him do what he does:

1. Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth

People like Andrew Wyeth have changed the world in significant ways by busting their ass with independent thinking. Wyeth made deeply personal representational work in an era of artistic abstraction and sarcasm. I spent four hours one day in front of Christina’s World at the MoMA.

2.  Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

A timeless read, describing the amazing and ridiculous situation we’ve created for ourselves with entertaining technology. Postman was talking about television, but the rise of the Internet and mobile tech amplifies his message: Be as aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the delivery mechanism as the content it produces. Passive and rapid consumption of “news” tends to dilute its meaning and makes it difficult to discern what’s important from what’s trivial.

3. An N.C. Wyeth quote

I committed this to memory in graduate school, from a letter he wrote as a young man. A great illustrator who had a way with words: “My imagination is on fire. The universe towers in my mind a great, overpowering mystery. The significance of the tiniest speck of bark on the pine tree assumes the proportions of the infinite sky. My brain nearly bursts with the effort to truly understand the meaning of life, of existence. I ardently promise with all my soul… to do my best… to make my short life of use, to add an infinitesimal might to the world.”

4. Designer Khoi Vinh

An incredibly influential designer who has been creating products, software and digital experiences that have affected the way we think about digital design and process. Plus, he has a cool name. Check out his website here