One of the things of which I get the most joy is finding sources of inspiration in artists, designers, and musicians. When I see something that is truly beautiful, I usually go through two phases…the first being the “wow…I’ll just sit back and enjoy that beautiful thing” phase, which is usually followed closely by the phase of “I wonder how the hell they did that?” There are a lot of artists that absolutely astound and inspire me with their work, and one of them is Joshua Davis. But this story isn’t about his work…it’s about him.
A couple years ago, before I had even heard of Social Media, I was trouncing through the internet on one of my inspiration quests, and I came across Joshua’s site, praystation.com (which has since been morphed into his current site joshuadavis.com). If you haven’t seen his work, it is worth a look. To me, his combination of technology and art was the stuff I could spend hours going through. Once I started reading about how he creates his art, and how he tries to push his tools to the limits, well…I became an instant fan. How many layers can you have in an Illustrator document before you kill your computer? Ask Joshua…he can tell you.
I found out Joshua wrote a book about Flash design called “Flash to The Core: An Interactive Sketchbook”, and jumped over to Amazon.com to pick one up. To my dismay, at the time, all my searches for copies ended up with an “out of print” notice. I was out of luck. As a last ditch effort, I sent an email to his studio in New York, with the hopes that maybe an assistant could help me find a copy. To be honest, I expected a boiler plate message indicating that “due to the popular demand of Mr. Davis’ book unfortunately we are unable to…..blah blah,” but I figured it was worth a shot.
Instead, fifteen minutes later, my phone rang.
“Hi Dave, this is Joshua. I’m sorry you’re having some trouble finding copies of my book. I only have a couple copies left myself… but if you check eBay, you can still find some used copies.”
No assistant, no week delay in responding or straight up ignoring. It was the guy himself making a personal phone call to a complete stranger with a tip (that worked by the way) on how to find his book.
I was pretty floored. I can’t even get my cable company to commit to calling me back within a certain timeframe, and Joshua took it upon himself to call me personally so I could find an out of print copy of his book. It took him 15 seconds to call me, but it was his personal attention and accessibility that made the impression on me.
One of the cool things I see more and more with the onset of social media tools is the leveling of the playing field. The old barriers of business and celebrity are being knocked down and replaced with direct and immediate contact. What an opportunity for celebrities and companies to create more fans or ambassadors of their brand by these small, but meaningful connections. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it does require a shift in thinking. Tools like Twitter are great new ways to provide accessibility and directly connect to your fans and customers, IF you choose to commit to the idea of a personal level of service like I received from Joshua.
We all know what it is like to have an experience that is so good, we tell others about it. Usually, it is not a huge event, but a small detail that stood out as a personal surprise. I’ll always remember the call I received from Joshua, and how special it made me feel. Oh, and by the way, the book is fantastic!
How about you? What surprises have you encountered that resulted in a story you like to tell?