Sean Gonzales
we can all see things differently while still agreeing that this is one thing.

Sean is a Graphic designer by trade but he see's himself as an all around creative dabbler. Without any delay let's get into his 20 shades.

1. How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?

I'm unsure how to define creativity. I know that it just is. Maybe it's being able to interpret the information we receive, differently. Reconstruct it and change the output. To me creativity is life; it is everywhere and is the space I/we live in. It means that we can all see things differently while still agreeing that this is one thing.

2. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?

There's a fine balance between those ideals. I believe everything I think of creatively is innate but how I develop the idea into a piece of communication was definitely honed over time and academically.

3. When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?

Since birth, I guess. My family is made up of creative persons in different ways. Ways many think are too simple to regard as creative maybe? My parents didn't necessarily encourage it because it was just their way. We (my siblings and I) weren't pressured into following any particular path.

4. What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?

I have a core group of creative colleagues that tell it like it is and their criticism is definitely the bar for me. Also how anything I put out publicly resonates with the audience it is intended for. I lost the need for recognition a long time ago, specifically in advertising. You can't rate yourself when things are obviously client driven. 

Money and creative work have an opposed relationship most of the time and I've seen it with a number of colleagues. I sometimes end up undervaluing work that I've done simply because I know people unfamiliar with the creative process just won't pay the price you really want for something. However when you work together with someone on their vision in a more meaningful way and they get immersed in the process with you, then they can maybe see the value and I think that's when money becomes most relevant to my own work.

…passion and struggle is something cultural to me, that helps me creatively

5. Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?

Not entirely. I am involved in a lot of events and patron experience is of extreme value to me for evaluation and improvement. Using the feedback will influence how I adjust things. If it's a more personal project I tend to look more inwardly and again those key colleagues will have some influence but I won't weigh it too heavily in my creative decision making unless I'm totally at sea and need a compass.

Culture: Creative.......well I do think that local and regional culture influences me a lot but not in aesthetics. More so how every creative here is struggling to break through or hold onto their niche and create something relevant. That passion and struggle is something cultural to me, that helps me creatively.

6. What do you do when you experience a creative block?

1) Listen to new music really loudly.
2) go search for inspiration in a few key places
3) doodle and sketch a lot. Most times sketching randomness and not about the thing that created the block.

7. How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?

I try, try and try to write it down or sketch it somewhere but I usually have a good enough memory for ideas (I don't recommend storing them in your head though). Then I may write down what this is about and what the purpose is. Also colleague feedback. If they say "yeah dat mad" I'd probably follow through and do it.

8. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?

Not really for me. But professionally I've been in enough workshops that use clear cut tools and methodology to achieve a result. My path is filled with a lot of randomness and looking at creative inspiration and of course a lot of musical influence.

9. Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?

My style keeps changing. I like to approach each new project differently and give things a fresh look. I can't say I've stuck with one particular style, maybe when I do illustrations but I've had to work on so many things that each one is a different style. I don't think I have my signature "look" but that's maybe due to working in the ad industry for a while.

10. What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?

I like it when the hamster wheel is turning in my head and ideas pop out.


11. Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?

Bills! Hahahahahahahaha not really. Some colleagues have given me encouragement to pursue a lot of different and creative avenues and those projects outside of everyday work really help me keep striving to produce new experiences or design work.

I don't think anything will make me quit though. I like it when the hamster wheel is turning in my head and ideas pop out. Ideation is my favorite thing to do.

12. Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.

It's not high on my list of importance for personal projects. I trust in my creativity a lot so seeking acceptance isn't a big deal. Professionally it may matter because you're advocating creativity for someone else and bringing their vision to life.

13. Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away it did. Now it's just back to the drawing board. In the early stages of my career it would have crippled me when an idea was rejected and I would have to dig deep to try improving or changing the whole layout. It was difficult to separate the first rejected idea and find a new way to convey the message. Thankfully those days are done.

14. Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?

Surely there have been things I could have designed better but I wouldn't change them. They've led to the way I think now and how they design stuff.

15. Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?

No. I only knew when I could have put more effort into something.

16. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?

It's a toss up between my monthly events (MeetMe@Fanatic) and a product I'm involved in (Farm & Function's Caribbean Papaya).

They both represent a lot of hard work. Fanatic takes a lot out of me creatively and I'm proud to have created such a different experience from a "brain-shower" thought. It's been a consistently expanding event and the fuel for ideas is difficult to produce. Being able to change it all the time is what I'm proud of.

Caribbean Papaya isn't my idea but doing the packaging and being closely involved in marketing and getting the product out there and hopefully to export has been a fulfilling experience.

17. Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?

I've never formally mentored someone but I have been a good advisor to friends I've collaborated with. Previously as an Art Director I had to pass on knowledge I guess, but I wouldn't say that I was mentoring junior artists. There isn't anyone specific I'd mentor but I'm willing to with anyone.

18. To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?

Run for the hills! But seriously, never get toooooo attached to you work. Believe in your creative and balance your personal time because you are important.

19. What would you most like to be remembered for?

Creating genuine experiences, whether through design or events or ideas in conversation.

20. If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?

Pantone 520 is my actual colour. It's purple.


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A Creative Professional with over twenty years experience. Which he gained during his time spent at a few of Trinidad’s top advertising agencies. Then functioning as the Regional Creative head of the Caribbean’s largest retailer. Contributing to the development of the group’s regional marketing strategy. Forming the regional Design Strategy. Conceptualisation and execution of all creative, marketing and advertising communication for the group’s brands. With oversight of regional and local creative teams and creative processes. He continues to sharpen his creative edge. A passionate, twenty-four hour creative junky. Admirer of sexy typefaces, lover of words and aspiring life long learner. He is also the founder of A BigBox Of Crayons. An online and offline community for creative thinkers + makers in Trinidad & Tobago.