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From law to fine arts to advertising: making the switch


Hi, last year I was working as a lawyer in London I decided I had enough and needed to change my life and my work. I went on an extended wander to Canada and met my girlfriend there. Later we decided to move to the Netherlands where she is from. Well, since arriving here I was determined to start a career doing something I really liked. I have always been creative and artistic and I managed to get into a fine arts degree here in The Hague. Although I had been painting in my spare time for years, it was a big move from my stiff, legal background. Around the same time I was helping my girlfriend design her website for her new business. I enjoyed the process very much. I felt very creative, I was always on my feet and I was coming up with one great idea after another. I felt like painting when I paint best. I loved it but I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was just the process of being creative and what I could get from painting or working as an artist. But then I saw a movie called Art & Copy which introduced me to the world of advertising. All I knew about advertising was what I studied in intellectual property classes and to be honest I though advertising was just an aggressive bombardment of information by the corporate class. But that film made me realise it is an industry built on pure creativity. All the things I loved about art I now realize are most applicable to the art department of an ad agency. All the time I was painting, as much as I enjoyed it, I always felt something is missing. I truly feel that working in advertising is what I should be doing but I have only just realized this after 31 years of life. But its not too late and I want to know how I can go about getting into the business on the level that will give me greatest satisfaction and success. Should I continue with my fine arts degree? Should I move to another country, take a course, look for internships? I would really appreciate your advice.

intro From law to fine arts to advertising: making the switchGlad you found Art & Copy so inspiring. We’re friends with the producers and know they love hearing stories like yours. As you’re living in the Netherlands we’d suggest that you go see people at a Canadian agency that has recently opened doors in Amsterdam, called Taxi (http://www.taxi-eu.com). Pick the creative director’s brain for suggestions on advertising schools there. We do believe it takes formal training to get into our very competitive industry (true for most, anyway). You may get a different opinion from someone like Eric Kessels at Kessels Kramer, one of the most interesting agencies anywhere (also in Amsterdam). Visit http://www.kesselskramer.com for their truly strange and fantastic agency website. Good luck.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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