Blacks in Advertising: Candace Queen

Prior to MAIP my access to Black industry professionals were very limited. Going into the program, I knew my end-goal was to run my own agency, and work with a range of brands across the board. In school, we didn’t learn much about any Black-run agencies, so during my internship, I made it a point to start doing my own research in my downtime. The first person, was the iconic Tom Burrell, followed by Bill Sharp, however I was really digging deep to find a Black woman who’d accomplished what I was pursuing. Ownership. The first person I discovered was Carolyn R. Jones. I found I aligned with her in so many ways, from her interesting start into the industry, down to her health battles. I truly wish I could have met her in-person. To this day, what I’ve learned about her has served as a driving force behind everything that I do.

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Year 1: The Big Idea

Post-MAIP, I finished my M.A. at the University of Texas at Austin, and made the leap to Chicago to start my journey as an art director at Digitas. Halfway into my first-year there, I started to realize how many other young black ad professionals were searching for the same representation that I was, the same motivation and inspiration. So in February 2016, I launched a Black History Month Campaign that highlighted key figures in advertising and media. People responded incredibly well, so I took things a step further, and featured some active leaders in the industry during Women’s History Month.

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Year 2: R&D

The following year I partnered with ADCOLOR to re-share the coverage that had been developed during our first year. During year two I also began consulting with ad professionals within the industry about different content directions and the possibilities for growth in Blacks in Advertising. I took year 2 to really lay down a plan of action, to take a small Black History Month project, into something that was evergreen and could nurture the Black Ad Community year-round.

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Year 3: The Next Phase

I’ve learned a lot along this journey of building a non-profit and defining the brand. In the commercial space, I’ve worked with a range of brands from beauty to grocery and food services, to beer and telecom. Clients have entrusted me with their brand story, but when you’re directing something for yourself, it’s a totally different ballgame. You critique yourself harder, you spend time going down a rabbit hole in areas that shouldn’t take more than a blink to mull through. This is literally your kid, and you want the best for our child, you want to see her grown to her full potential.  

This process has taught me to be kind to myself and to embrace change and growth. When you look through the IG feed, you’ll see the evolution of the visual identity, and I love that. At first I was going to delete some of the early posts but it’s the realest you’ll get. I’ve also honed in on building partnerships that are mutually beneficial. During Year 2, a big period of research and development, working with ADCOLOR to re-share content from the first year helped me remain present within the ad community. I also began to collect feature stories from young execs in the field. This year, I partnered with Ericka Riggs and the Ad Club of New York to lead the design and visual direction for a collaborative series of active Black Icons and Rockstars in our industry.

In Spring 2018, I’m focusing on building a strong auxiliary board, advisory council, and arsenal of content contributors.  The three categories provide a range of ways to get involved, whether you’re a C-Suite exec or a junior looking for a way to shape your skills while volunteering with an organization that’s seeking to change the industry you’ll grow in. This is a time of evolution, so there are plenty of opportunities to help shape what Blacks in Advertising will be and look like going forward. Check out the roles and descriptions, and if there’s a space you think you’d fit well in, please apply!

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About Candace:

Candace D. Queen is  a Sr. Visual Designer + Art Director that divides her time between Houston and Chicago, with a vivacious entrepreneurial spirit. With that said, she wears many crowns.

Her creative focus revolves around social media, experiential design, and art curation. She’s worked with a range of brands and organizations, including Cantu Beauty, ALDI, Sprint, Miller Lite, ADCOLOR, and the 4A’s. In addition to her work, she gives back to the advertising community through her service on the AAF’s Mosaic NextGen Leadership Council as well as the AAF’s Media Image Task Force, an initiative that focuses on analyzing the depictions of African-American women in advertising & media. Additionally Candace sits on the ADCOLOR Advisory Board, serving as the co-lead for the FUTURES Planning Committee and the MAIP Alumni Association Executive Council.

Passionate about all things Trill, Chopped and Screwed, her work reflects her roots in Southeast Texas, as well as her love for exploring new technology and hacking culture codes. Learn more about Candace here.

Album Cover Animations: Darryl Sharp, Jr. (2013)

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been inspired by album art, most specifically vinyl sleeves. I always saw them as 12x12 canvases that depicted the depth of musicians’ multi-track masterpieces. Certain album covers I’ve seen at times have even felt like a paused moment for an even bigger movie that they represented.

This and my interest in being not just a graphic designer but also an motion graphics artist inspired me to create album cover animations of some of my favorite and recent album covers. The first major one that I created was for Tyler The Creator’s lastest album “Flower Boy.”

What I look the most for when I decide to animate a cover is what can come to life to reflect even further the meaning of the album, in this case the bees flying across the cover and a rainbow forming in the background.

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What I love the most about these covers is the depth they create in an initially flat image, like old-school holograms and lenticular postcards. Since starting to create these album cover animations, I have created cover animations paying tribute to artists such as Solange, Janelle Monae, Outkast, Childish Gambino, Drake, N.E.R.D and more. Most times I am to create and release them simultaneously with an artists’ actual album release or the anniversary of a past album.

Earlier this year, I even got some recognition for these animations when a viral twitter moment was made about them and articles and posts were written about me through Billboard, PigeonsandPlanes, The Shade Room, and more. Since then I’ve even began to develop relationships with some prominent record labels like Atlantic Records and Interscope Records and can hopefully be a part of some amazing creative releases for artists in the forseeable future.

Check out some snippets of the animations below and explore them fully on my Instagram @darrylthesharp

He can do both: Carlton Wilcoxson (2015)

#MAIPAlum Carlton Wilcoxson (2015) on fulfillment, doing it for the kids and making people laugh coast to coast. This was written by Carlton for the 4A's MAIP.

I guess advertising wasn’t enough.

Truth be told, I always knew this. I saw the ad industry as an opportunity to make my mother proud while never being forced to wear a tie. After my MAIP summer internship in Austin, TX at McGarrah Jessee, I came back to Austin because I found something more than a job. I found stand-up comedy and the program E4 Youth.

In advertising terms, I was never considered a creative and I can’t really say why I chose to try stand-up. All I knew is that I had nothing to express myself since I wasn’t a scenic photographer, travel blogger or inspiring videographer… and being an account manager didn’t help. I knew I had something and after many thoughts and drinks, I went to my first open mic.

At first it was just one open mic every two weeks but then I became obsessed. Going up as much as 8-10 times a week. Despite my obsession, I bombed 90% of the time for 8 months straight and I wish I were joking.

Around the same time, I was introduced to E4 Youth. E4 Youth is an organization dedicated to exposing High school students to the commercial arts based in Austin, TX. At first, I would just do a couple school visits. Showing classrooms the joys of advertising while omitting information like angry email chains over the color blue.

I would see kids who had something and just needed some encouragement. In hindsight, I saw myself.

But after these talks, students would come up to me not asking about my job but wanting to show me their work. Honestly, I stayed (knowingly) missing important meetings to view students’ music videos, clothing line designs, and scripts for YouTube series. In those moments, I would see kids who had something and just needed some encouragement. In hindsight, I saw myself.

So I committed. I became a member on the E4 Youth’s fundraising committee, a summer program coach, a mentor, and an ambassador for the local ad community. I decided comedy is a craft I would hone. The results of both of those decisions has led me to interesting places. Through comedy, I was able to tour to San Francisco & Portland, OR doing collectively 18 shows in 2017.

While in San Francisco, I was able to connect with Mike Shine, a co-founder of BSSP and traveling mural artist. To which he later came to Austin to work with the E4 Youth students on an art piece for an upcoming gallery show and featured the students in the popular urban art magazine Juxtapoz.

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I’ve also had the privilege of being the keynote speaker of Austin for Creative Mornings through comedy. My story and jokes that morning inspired a person in the audience to raise over $1,200 for E4 Youth under the campaign “Advertising Doesn’t Need Another White Guy” … His words not mine but thank you Brian Thompson for being a real one.

Currently, I host a bi-weekly stand-up show in Austin through Volcom brands and preform regularly in Austin while working as a producer at McGarrah Jessee Advertising. E4 Youth now serves over 150+ high school students who are interested in Music, Design, Writing and Film. I can truly say through MAIP, I was able to find something I truly love and I now get to help students find what they love.

For more information on E4 Youth or ways to donate visit: https://e4youth.org/

For interest in my comedy follow me @CCWilcoxson or watch me here: 

The Austin, TX-based comic travels to Portland, OR to perform at "Control Yourself" showcase. Warning content is for mature audiences.